I had bought the cassette from a posh music store on Birhana Road in Kanpur on my thirteenth birthday. This was when Kanpur itself was considered posh, and Lucknow it's sleepy cousin. My uncle had thought I had bought the tape for the famous kiddie song, amused that at thirteen I was still excited about children's music. He ate his words soon after.
For the next ten years, until I married a music aficionado who introduced me to a lot more music than I had ever heard, the tape remained my friend philosopher and guide. It taught me about love, it taught me about life: between the two albums you had everything from falling in love, to romance, to longing, and of course philosophy (how can you not have a generous dose of philosophy when you have Gulzar writing the songs?).
It is difficult to pin-point which side was my favourite though. For on one side you had songs like Tujhse naaraaz nahi zindagi and Do naina ek kahani -- songs that summarise life for you in less than two minutes, on the other you had Aapki aankhon mein kuch and Phir wahi raat hai, songs that are epitome of romanticism.
Perhaps that is why, at different points in my life, I found myself attached to different songs. When I was dejected I found peace in the throaty voice of Anup Ghoshal -- it seemed as if he was singing Tujhse naaraaz nahi zindagi for me. When I was heartbroken I went back to Do naina ek kahani. How beautifully it tells the story of life: thoda sa badal, thoda sa pani, aur ek kahani -- true what is life but a long story?
When I fell in love, which happened quite often, I hummed Aajkal paaon zamin pe nahi padte mere, somethimes smiling, sometimes blushing to myself. When I longed for my love I found peace in Tere bina jiya jaye na (it is another story that I was found singing Do naina.. soon after). In the rare event that my love was realised -- I don't recall it happening more than once -- I indulged in Aapki aankhon me kuch. The song remains one of my all-time favourites and the only Lata Mangeshkar song I can sing well, even now.
The album also taught me about music and poetry. Until then I did not care much for Gulzar or R.D. Burman but from then on, most of my music had both of them in it. It taught me how to sing too: for the longest time whenever I was pestered to sing by my family (I was supposedly a fine singer), I would sing one of the songs from the album.
And then life happened. Suddenly I was uprooted from my comfort zone and planted in a strange place where there was no time for love, romance, philosophy. Life became an endless cycle of work, home, family, chores, and then children followed. Whatever little time remained for music was taken up by husband's love for Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle. Like a good wife, I adapted to his music too. Ghar and Masoon were now like some long forgotten lovers -- I thought of them sometimes, but never felt the need to go back to them.
Last week, when I found myself alone at home for two full days after a very, very long gap, I was reminded of my long lost love for the album. I promptly pulled my phone out, connected it to husband's Bose and played the album on loop. For the past two days I have been learning life's lessons afresh.