In the last one month, I have spent considerable time in the company of an old friend, we had lost touch over the last few years. It was all my fault actually, I was too busy climbing up the ladder,making babies and then turning them into lovely young ladies. When I met him, after many years, we hugged each other like we were never away. He has always been generous to me, even when I saw him for just a few minutes, once in a while. We go back several years, twenty five at least. He's been my closest friend during my childhood, teenage and adulthood. Oh! and his name, he's called Music. My earliest memories of him are that of weekly Chitrahaar and that of the music player that we had at home, a handsome Philips system with beautiful grey speakers.
I owe my relationship with music to three people. They hand-held me into the world of music, it's with them that the foundation of this lifelong relationship was laid.
My father - My father is particularly fond of ghazals, so we played Ghulam Ali, Jagjit Singh, Talat Aziz, Farida Khanum and Mehendi Hassan at home. I was hardly ten but I knew all their ghazals. Long before Kishore Kumar came to my life, I had Ghulam Ali singing to me almost every evening, often accompanied by Mehendi Hassan and Farida Khanum. An occasional Umrao Jaan would also entertain us. It's been twenty five years and I still remember each and every ghazal each and every word.
My Uncle - Mama's no more but the lessons I learnt from him have made me what I am today. Music is just one of them. He's the one who introduced me to all the old Hindi film music. It is on his player that I got introduced to the "Paying guest" and "Tere ghar ke saamne", from "Parinda" to "Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar". I remember listening to these albums in loop to learn the songs. He was a great singer, a great man and my favorite person in the whole world.
My Husband - Most of the things I learnt have come from him, some music too. Only after I met him did I realise what passion for music meant. He introduced me to the music of the eighties, the best according to me and the closest to my heart since. Though I grew up in the eighties, I missed most of it while growing up, maybe because I was too young. He introduced me to the Kishore Kumar I had never paid attention to, to the Asha Bhonsle who was just another voice, to R D Burman, who just meant "1942 A love story" and to his lady love, Alisha Chinoy - though I could do without her (pun intended). He played songs to me that I never knew existed. I remember him calling me on the cell phone one day so that I could hear a song on radio, this is when calls cost as much as a cola. I think music was one reason I fell in love with him. I am yet to meet someone as passionate about music.
Though these three men are the architects of my relationship with music, there a few others who have contributed significantly. a) Purani Jeans - Saima introduced me to some very, very beautiful music, long before it became fashionable for radio stations to play the eighties music. It is through her that I got to know "Jeeva", "Rocky" and "Sitamgar". On my way back from work, I immersed my tired self into these soulful songs, into the depth of Amit Kumar's voice and the highs of Asha bhonsle's surs. b) Sumbul and Akanksha - I have not met Sumbul, a school friend, in over fifteen years but she sang some songs for us in school which we had never heard, they haunt me till date,"kali palak piya mori" being one of them. Akanksha, has been a friend since day one of my work life, she introduced me to "libas", "thodi si bewafai" and more such songs. c) A new acquaintance - He has more passion for music than all of us put together, he has shared some beautiful songs with me and that has made me hungry for more. If I am not wrong, music would be his greatest passion.
So, I am back with music and after many years we are alone, only him and I. We spend lonely afternoons together and sometimes quiet nights too. It's comforting to be in his familiar embrace day after day, night after night. After so many years, I have become a little possessive about him. I hope we don't have to part ways. Ever.