every time i listen to some old song, every single time i hear some vaguely familiar tune, i am taken back almost 20 years from now.
it’s seven in the morning. aai baba both are up and getting ready for work. the sounds of them shuffling about the house, of steel vessels clanking on the gas, the smell of tea, of lunch being prepared, and the distinct chill in the morning air that is not felt anymore. i am lying there in the bed, with a successful stomach ache keeping me out of school! the sheet on my head, my eyes closed but awake, dreaming but aware.
there was one more distinct addition to this early morning ritual; the radio. talat, asha, lata, rafi wafting out of an old (but the BEST!) onida jvc cassette player. it was more for time keeping than for the music, but it helped the morning become more than just chores. baba left at 730 and aai at 8, switching the radio off.
i started using the deck much later, when its equalisers had stopped functioning. but it served my initial forays into the world of rock tapes from mangesh dada and AIR FM RAINBOW 107.1. whatever knowledge and interest i have in ‘western’ music is all due to these two sources!
as for FM, there has to be one and only one person who made the experience worthwhile, and it is keisha lobo! there is not a single voice i have heard more beautiful, more uplifting and soothing! she put life in her show and the songs that came after her brief introduction. and the selection was tops too! bryan ferry, u2, tracy chapman, dire straits, peter cetera, k d lang, the police…i could go on and on. every wednesday night, i used to stay up till 12 just for keisha, listening to that heavenly voice fill my head through headphones i had purchased just for that purpose! i had written her a three page letter, which she read on the show once!!
and more recently, in the last year, i spoke to her on the show! more than thrice. which was almost like meeting all the songs in person.
and there was fali r. singara too. never liked him much as he read only the girls’ letters and spoke in a very ‘naughty’ deep voice (appealing to himself, i think!). but he played awesome tracks. more towards the popular hits like roxette, paull young, elton john, michael bolton and such.
now, every time i hear a ‘don’t stop the dance’ or ‘more than this’ by roxy music, or ‘someone to talk to’ by the devlins, i am back in my bed next to the deck with my headphones on and keisha on the radio…every word of jalte hain jiske liye or unko ye shikayat hai takes me back to the early morning chill one hardly feels these days…