I grew up listening to songs, from a time, from before I was born. When I was seven or eight, I borrowed from appa’s collection, a painstakingly recorded cassette of songs of the black and white era; recorded when it played on the radio. I still remember “yeh raat bheegi bheegi” starts of in crinkles of a broken radio transmission before it reemerges. Over time i discovered ARR, but these songs of Illayaraja, Yesudas, Mukesh and KishoreKumar, from an era I only understood through the sacred recordings of my father, always held a special charm.
They were like a comforting cup of chai after a long day. They were sung and sung again during antakshari sessions with cousins during summer vacation power cuts. They didn’t complicate with slang and slurs and remixes; making it easy to memorize lyrics and mimic tunes after a few listens. That was and is their simplicity and beauty!
Amidst these wonderful songs, there is one genre which was appa’s favorite. May be because it coincided with his bachelor and newly married days in Pune, he never missed amol palekar’s movies and he would never stop to mention how wonderful the music in those movies were. Probably every malayali’s soft corner also emerges from the fact that the lovely renditions Yesudas has given to Hindi film music of that time, 70% of them were for amol paleker’s movies.
Today, as I enjoyed and rejuvenated in my yoga class, when the teacher decided to twist it a little by playing 80s Enligsh music for a few min to pep us up, I was wildly amused. The energy that sprung from listening to yesteryear songs in the patrons was amazing. Someday when I establish my dreams of a yoga studio back home, I will play the songs, my father had unbeknownst passed on to me – I made a mental note.
In the final moments of shavasana, the teacher mentioned a few words of “living in the moment”. I let it through like a passing thought. Back in my car, I tried playing the “top 15” songs from current movies, only to not stick to any. I quickly changed to ‘Gulzar’s hits’ on a whim. Like a train of thought, to remind me again, from a movie of Amol-Palekar, Kishore Kumar crooned “aane waala pal”. The singer in gulzar’s writing, beautifully tells us –
The moment that is here, is here to pass
If you can, live a lifetime in that moment
For the moment will soon pass.
It was probably the best solo driving moment, I had in years. Clasping to the wheel, driving past a setting sun and humming to a tune that was telling me, the moment I was in was the real thing, not my other dozen thoughts. I set the thoughts aside. I breathed. I lived. I hugged the moment….. And then I let it go!