Ode to my summer trip: the music way

….which, if I may add, is the only way I can think of. Because mere words have failed me this time.

Prelude: So I broke my promise of writing three posts on my campus life. So I came up with something happy to share about instead of lamenting on how I am a misfit. So I am not a woman of words. But hell, when all that I can think of right now is how the jigsaw puzzle has solved to give a perfect fit, how can I even think of misfits? So saving the lamenting for later when I start feeling a misfit again (trust me, give me one month in the campus and I will be churning out those posts faster than you can finish reading them!), moving on to today’s post…..

The Only Exception (Paramore): My “Bu” Song:  It is past midnight, and two sisters meeting after what seems like ages almost fight for space to be heard. With so much to say and so much to hear you can’t even decide which to do first. The younger one all dead beat from a seven hour long flight that ought to have taken four hours from Guwahati to Bangalore. The elder one trying to (and making a good job out of it too) make her overwhelmed kid sister feel at home. The home that she painstakingly put together bit by bit, the house that she finally made into a home with all the yellows and the whites and the sunshine that she could think of.  And then, just like old times, she remembers this song she wants her kiddo to listen to. The one that she’s been singing to herself while strumming the guitar for the last couple of weeks;  her “latest favorite song”. And so sleep and fatigue fly out the window and in comes the guitar through the door. Now this, I would remember forever frozen in time. My sister, with the guitar cradled in her arms, sitting on the edge of the bed with the bedside lamp throwing shadows on the walls and her face, crooning “The Only Exception” to her exclusive audience of one. And me lying down in bed wondering what I must I have done to deserve an angel like this. To add to it the knowledge that I would any day travel for heaven knows how many hours if only I know this is what awaits me at the end of it. Bliss.

Carry Out (Timbaland feat Justin Timberlake)My “Mandy”  Song: Two days into my stay in Bangalore and I venture out for the first time for some shopping with my worldly-wise (adjective courtesy Ji)  niece.  Who, I will proudly add, showed me all around the place in her blue Wagon-R, with me gaping at the window while she pointed out the best places to eat and drink and hang out. And so first we do some driving around without stopping anywhere, while conversation flows with spontaneity I admit I had never  thought would actually be there. And while I don’t have the foggiest as to which songs were playing in the car that day, the only reason being that I hadn’t heard any of them before (yeah, right, even me the voracious music maniac) I remember this song particularly because of its amazingly groovy beats and secondly the way she described this song to me. Since it has to do with sex and food, I wish I could put her exact words out here, but let’s just say this song remained in my mind. And somehow I remember exactly which place we were when the song started playing. Maybe that’s what a song can do to me. Helps me capture the moment, soak all of its dimensions (the smell, the feeling, the sounds, even the taste at times) into the sponge that my mind is.  And while I mention this song, I have to write about another late night experience. So me and the same niece are driving back from Opus (coming to it later), and we’re dropping her best friend off on our way. So while both of them yak and yak all the time, I silently sit on the back seat and enjoy all of it. And in a weird way this same song keeps playing inside my head on and on and on. So imagine my surprise when this song starts playing on the radio, and I can’t help blurting out that I have been thinking of this very song. So well, nothing. I just had to mention another of my Bangalore moments.

Please Don’t Leave Me (Pink); The Fear (Lily Allen); So What (Pink): My “Bu and Me: Us” Songs: Third day in Bangalore and the sister comes back home from her office in the evening all beat, while all I have to show for the day is a “pleasure trip” to an art gallery and fragrant white and yellow lilies I had bought for her bedroom. And as she fusses and totters about tidying up what we all call the “entertainment room” (courtesy the 42″ high def and the surround sound and the ever-growing collection of movies and books) I shamelessly slump on the bean bag glaring at her. Once satisfied that no stray wires hurt her eyes anymore, she puts on some karaoke videos, and with the remote posing as the microphone, sings her tiredness out with “Please Don’t Leave Me”. Just because I haven’t heard the song before, I willingly remain a passive listener (that’s always a problem when everyone sings… who the hell will listen?) but once done she puts on “The Fear” which turns out to be a duet, and just because I need my share of limelight in our makeshift stage for the evening too, I yell out “So What” too. And that’s that. Just the perfect evening I always dream of having with her. And now when I hear these songs all I can think of is how sometimes its just about having the right music and the right person with whom you can goof away your time.

Mercy (Duffy): My “Opus” Song:  Fourth, very crucial day, in Bangalore (because I spent half the time entertaining the butterflies in my stomach and the other half crying and then cursing a certain someone who shall remain unnamed), and again, my darling niece comes to my rescue, and swoops me out in her car with the sole motive of distracting me from both the anxiety and the anger. So we land up in Opus, where there’s a karaoke contest going on that night. Blessed with the nicest pipes that she is, she signs up for it, and my highlight of the evening becomes whooping and cheering myself hoarse for her while she sings “Mercy” to near perfection. And while at it, I should also add the fact that I loved the double takes when she introduced me to her friends as her aunt. Somehow, that evening, I was actually awed by the extent to which my knight-ess-in-shining-armor (hell, there’s no female for knight?) went to make sure I was happy and having a good time. Which included asking me every five minutes if I was getting bored. Now “Mercy” and Opus and that night go hand in hand. And the memory of how one person single-handedly saved me from tearing myself to bits in anxiety.

Nothin On You (B.o.B feat Bruno Mars): My “Ji”/ “Pondi Trip” Song:  Before anything, I should mention that my dear brother-in-law is quite (in)famous for refusing to get into a car for a road trip unless he has a music CD that he has burnt himself with all his favorite songs in it (our present day equivalent to the mixed tape). To the extent he has the record of delaying a certain trip by almost an hour. Noteworthy also is his cheeky retort “Who burnt the disc?” which is provoked when anybody in the car mentions that he/she likes the song being played at that moment.  Okay, coming back to what this post is about.  The music and the trip. So on our way from Bangalore to Pondicherry, my Ji had this one CD which had the Coldplay discography and the latest Top 40 UK Singles. And “Nothin On You” being the first song, each time we’d put the CD player on, the disc would start playing this song. Maybe that’s why, when I think of this amazingly beautiful road with mountains towering on both sides and dividers adorned with pink, red and yellow flowers; the “Ghar Dhaba” on our way which served “Dhal Thadka” instead of the conventional “Dal Tadka”; the hour long halt we had to make for Ji to take an important call for which the poor guy had to walk all over an anthill in a distant field while we sat in the car and laughed at him; and the innumerous other  types of “calls” the rest of us had to attend to at different times; it’s almost like this song keeps playing inside my head as the background score.

Beera (from the movie “Raavan”): My “Promenade” Song: This technically should be included in the “Pondi Trip” Song category, except that we started listening to this towards the end of the journey, as we approached Pondicherry (the driver, having had enough of Coldplay and “dhin-chak-dhin-chak” he couldn’t understand head or tail of, finally offered to play a “latest” Hindi mp3 CD) And also because this song remained with me for our entire stay in Pondicherry. I mean, this is the song I had happily hummed in my bath in the hotel, obnoxiously sticking only to the chorus of the song. And this is the song I had insisted on singing inside my breath whenever there would be a pause in conversation, as we walked around Auroville, as we walked barefoot on the beach, even as we took late night walks on our way back to Promenade (which is where we had stayed, in case you haven’t figured it out for yourself already).

Tujhe Dekha To Yeh Jana Sanam (from the movie “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge”): My “Ree” Song: I can almost hear the chuckles this one is causing for all the people who “know”. So well, yeah, the first evening in a five-star hotel, and I am already overwhelmed and slightly in a daze going about it as though everything were surreal. Add to it a sea facing window with a palm tree right in front of it, a glass of sparkling wine and candlelight, and you almost got a girl melting at your feet. Ahem, arms, more like. So just when you think it cannot get any more “filmy” (in a good, picture perfect way though, in my defense) someone starts playing a flute right beneath your window. And which song  can that bugger come up with? Nothing but THE song, the all time epitome of drama and romance. That very song with which you had teased the “Shah Rukh” sitting right next to you, all these years. So there you go, the moment frozen right there with the sounds of distant waves crashing on the shores and the slightly off-key song being played by the ardent flutist. I know even years later when I think of that evening, I will hear this very song. Always.

Eet (Regina Spektor): My “Banglore TV”  Song: So for people who don’t know it yet, I don’t watch TV. Period. I prefer my internet and my movies, thank you very much. And with no internet at the sister’s place, and a massive problem of plenty (over three thousand, last count a year ago?) when it came to selecting which movie to watch, I ended up watching TV most of the times there. So this one soap that me and my sister would watch is “90210”, even though I don’t particularly like it, because I never get the hang of it, and end up asking silly questions about it to her all the time.  One evening, while watching it we hear this really nice song with catchy tunes and although we don’t mention it, we both like it. And typical of us, we mention it at the same time. And of course I had to know which song it is, right? So the very next morning I Google the bit of lyrics that remained with me over the night, and find out the video of the song. And keep humming it all day long. Till my sister comes back home and I finally get to sing it in front of her. Because that’s how I am when it comes to her and new songs. So anyway, this song and soaps and Bangalore will always be one to me. Even though me and the TV are back to being strangers now that I am back home.

Phew. Now that I think of it, I actually owe an apology for this extremely long post. But then you know, how else would I have put into words all the amazing times I spent there this time, all the spectacular snapshots that remained with me which I know will remain with me for a long, long time to come? And then how else would I have put across my point that for me, a song is not just a song? That sometimes it feels like a hug from my memories, or maybe a kiss from my past. That it’s always about the way the song makes me feel, and how warm the feeling is and what it reminds me of that I hold dear and find the most beautiful, and not the lyrics and the tones. So here’s to my summer trip… and here’s to the songs and all the memories that will keep that trip alive in my heart for ages to come.

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