Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Old Boys

One of the first things that we -- my husband and I -- bought immediately after getting married was a handsome steel-grey Sony music system. It came with a multi CD changer which also played MP3s, two cassette players, a Radio, a VCD player and four speakers; twelve years ago it made for an impressive buy, as impressive as its price: twenty three thousand rupees. The amount was almost twice as much as my salary and the only reason we could afford it was the money that we had received at the wedding in lieu of feeding more than three hundred hungry souls. For husband, who loves his music to the point of madness, it was a dream that had come true (until then, I had thought our marriage was that dream).

After much thought it was set up in our bedroom, right next to the window, on the same cardboard box that it had come in. Husband's collection of music cassettes was set up on another carton next to the bed. He would diligently clean and dust them every single day, even maintained a log book with the names of the cassettes and expected me to label and number them, I had obviously found some way to escape. Sometimes it seemed that it was the music system that he had married, not me.

Over the next few months (or was it years?), every Sunday evening was spent at the Music World in Ansal Plaza, twenty five kilometers from home, we would go all the way,  just to buy a cassette or two -- the CDs were too expensive to be bought regularly and were reserved only for special occasions. It is from that store, during that period that the most amazing music made way into my life -- from the little heard Kishore Kumar songs to evergreen Asha Bhonsle, from RDs madness to SDs classics, from Bong Pop to English Rock -- most of the music that I now know -- and love -- is a result of the innumerable hours spent in the company of the music system.

While I learnt my music on it, Mishti learnt her motor skills with it. The knobs and switches  acted as the perfect stress buster for the toddler and in her walker, she would walk up to the cabinet to fidget with the buttons and create her own symphony -- of music and lights, it was not only our friend now, but hers too.

Some years later, we acquired an Ipod and a few months after that, a Bose docking station. The new, fancy gadgets became the centre of our attention and the old boy was left for Mishti to play with. And since our return from Bangalore, for the past two and a half years, it had been sitting in the store-room, yet to be unpacked. With two laptops, two Bose systems and an Ipod, we did not need it anymore. In the last few months, on a drive to rid the house of all old and redundant stuff, we had been contemplating disposing it off but something -- don't know if it was love or guilt --  kept pulling us back.

Last Sunday, after making up his mind to give it away, when my husband finally took it out and unpacked it, after many years I saw in him the man who had, twelve years ago, brought home his dream. He set it up with same love and care, cleaned it with same diligence, dug out his priceless collection of RD and Kishore Kumar, of Michael Jackson and Nachiketa with same pride and has since been spending all his waking hours with it -- the same way. While I know they will part soon, for now I am glad to see my two old boys together.

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