Monday, August 04, 2008

Tunes In My Head

Yes I still post. And has it been over a month already? It's the new job's fault, really. Don't know what they would do without me :)

Anyway, something relatively strange happened to me on Friday night. I'd been unwell in the morning, with a head that felt like a tub of mercury. Added to that, I had a typically long day fussing over punctuation and text placement. So I figured that I was in for a good night's rest. But I didn't sleep as much as a wink that night. Tossing and turning is only exciting for the first two and a half minutes. I got bored of the extremely random conversations inside my head as well. I even tried reading a truly godawful book called Tall Dark & Handsome, which was so gruesomely bad that I could only persist for ten minutes. As a last resort, I switched on the radio, hoping that music would lull me into slumberland.

So there I was, lying in bed with my eyes wide open, while my ears were assaulted with a mindboggling variety of kitsch. With nothing else to do, I started listening to the kitsch. And found some of it actually resonating within me. Pithy wisdoms in everyday melodies. The songs we hear but don't listen to. So uncool because they are popular. But so infectious that they give us headaches when we battle to get them out of our heads. So evocative of forgotten and not-so-forgotten things and people.

We're all history sheeters. Reminisces lurk around every corner of our stylishly spiralled minds. And there's always some Bollywood song to encapsulate these memories.

Like sleeping on the back lawns in LSR in third year. The smell of grass and the warmth of the sun. Watching Ankita write in her journal, or Simran reproducing Impressionist art. SKT's foot up in the air while she dozed. Or Reeju with a bag that was perenially bursting at the seams. Hum na rahein kabhi yaaron ke bin.

Or Gitanjali, Shreya and me in the first few months of the Masters programme. The most awesome trio with the shortest life span, before Gitanjali and I became leftists and Shreya became a centrist (in terms of seat preference, not the political spectrum). Akele hain, toh kya gham hain?

The hostel experience. Staying up till the wee hours, talking about absolutely nothing. Giggling while tipsy, or not. Sitting on the floor of the hall at 3 am and insisting that Absolut vodka was made out of the finest potatoes in the world. Ranjit and Bindiya, perenially setting each other off. Akhila, Tanu, Pallavi, Reeju, the four directions of weirdness. And Pia, the one who cried because I told her that just because she spoke loudly, it didn't mean that she said what was in her heart. Katra katra jeene do.

The one time we ran into RPM, to dance for five minutes after the movie. Spontaneous and awkward at the same time. Ten minutes of unadulterated fun. Pappu naach nahi sakta.

Vasudha Pande, with her luminous eyes and her easy smile. Drumming modern Indian history into my brain with the lightest of touches. Me marvelling at how suddenly economic history became so fascinating, while wondering if her glasses would actually fall of the tip of her nose someday. Ho sake to is mein zindagi bitade, pal jo yeh jaana waala hai.

My sisters and I. So exceptionally strange. Can't shut up, and can't talk either. Always wondering what the other is about. And where we're gonna land up eventually. Golmaal hai bhai sab golmaal hai.

Finally, Jaane tu, jaane tu ya jaane na. Jazz, and a smoky Chicago in the 1920s. Or in this lifetime, a boy and a girl, whiling the weekend away at Marine Drive. The boy likes peanuts, the girl prefers roasted chickpeas. He points out the crabs on the stones below, she takes enthusiastic, if somewhat pointless pictures with a woefully inadequate camera. He gives her a poem in a matchbox, she laughs because she doesn't quite know how to react. Or a day at the Hanging Gardens, where they laugh uproariously at having become the biggest cliche of them all - The Couple in the Park.

At 3 am, clarity is at its best, even in a cluttered dustbin of a head like mine. So much so that I remember every moment after three whole days. My life and Bollywood, intertwined in their uncoolness and their kitsch quotient. And the sudden epiphanies that make it worthwhile.


probe said...

Why am i in such awe of your effusive highness? Well, look at this. You come back after a month and take my breath away, like you did with every post before we met. I don't think you fully understand what occurs naturally to you. Brilliance.

Oh, basically, loved it :)

ninkita said...

yes, my dear, you have got it just right

heh? ok said...

@ probe
are you blinded by my brilliance already? and here i was looking for constructive criticism. hehe.. thankee.

@ nin
hugs once more.

Deepika said...

Every incident has a song linked to it, isn't it? Sometimes the song reminds you of something as huge as a breakup, or as small as standing by the door on that packed Andheri local a year back. Hindi songs. What would we do without them?

new age scheherazade said...

"Reminisces lurk around every corner of our stylishly spiralled minds."

ohwow. this post has been as worth the wait as a ...harry potter book.(uncool in certain circles because it's popular?)
this was a knocks-the-breath-out-of-you-with-its-perfectness post. made me want to cry and laugh, really.

speedpost said...

Beautiful. One month long wait and then this! made up for soo much of lost time.
The last para especially.

Sim said...


Pratiti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pratiti said...

really nice post. it made me realize that hindi songs are as much a part of me and my life, as say, beatles. thank god for them. and thank god for the fm radios in autorickshaws without which i would probably never have gotten around to listening to them!
and oh,lol, pappu nach nahin sakta is obsessive!!

Doubletake, Doublethink. said...

there is a song for everything, yes. LOVED the post.

Animesh Raj said...

so very well written...lucid, lyrical, profound...the smooth transition from one scene to another, the intelligent use of songs to make your point- it's all brilliantly done. kudos!

heh? ok said...

@ deepika
some songs actually remind me of a particular way my stomach rumbled on a day that was very long ago.

@ new age scheherazade
you know some posts that make you tingle when you're writing them?

@ speedpost
thankee. and now i'm preparing to get absolutely dazzled by your comeback. please post! i mean, the irony of your pseudonym is just...ironic.

@ sim
hugs. good you didn't cry.

@ pratiti
that song snakes its way into my feet, i swear!

@ doubletake, doublethink
thankee, thankee. now write about yours. hehe.

@ animesh
again, thankee. me happy :)

Devina said...

The world is indeed a small place,
vasudha pandey sure does make economic history extremely exciting with her never dying enthusiasm. I'm a third year student of history in lsr.Not the right place for career counelling but cant resist asking whether you pursued history after ur graduation and from whr?

heh? ok said...

@ devina
no i didn't pursue it and i'll never stop regretting it. jnu's the best place to pursue it after graduation. and don't study international relations :P