My Tryst with Rock!!!
It is human nature to continue with a belief unless it is shattered.
Until Columbus had completed his journey, humans used to believe that this planet was flat. That is because nobody until then had witnessed the round shape. Like yours truly, until I had crossed my state border that happened only after my college, used to believe that selling beef in India was unimaginable. The belief of mine was shattered to pieces on my very first day in Trivandrum.
Another such belief of mine was shattered when I joined college for graduation. Having grown up on the heavy doses of Bollywood songs, I always wondered why English movies did not have any songs. Not that I had seen many English movies but whatever I had, I could never see people dancing around the trees in those movies. “Maybe they are culturally so poor that they cannot make any music” is what I used to think. Having studied in RSS backed schools; I was a strong believer in the theory of Mera and only Mera Bharat Mahan.
It was quite a cultural shock to me to find out not that lot of my batch mates knew songs in English like they had grown up on them, they could also sing them. Oh yes, there were a few rock bands too.
For a first few months, the situation continued. I referred this kind of music as “Rock” no matter if it was jazz, pop or anything else. I could not differentiate between all this. I still cannot.
I tried listening to rock in college but that did not help. I could not really digest music unless I could hum it. For humming, I needed to understand and memorize the lyrics. For a semantically challenged person in queen’s language, I could not even understand the lyrics, leave aside remembering them.
It is then when someone introduced me to Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody”. I loved the music, the beats, the video and most importantly, the lyrics. It is a different matter that all I could understand in the lyrics was one single world – Everybody. However, that was sufficient. I could hum entire day in my rustic accent – “yeverybaady, heeyyyyyyyyyyy…yeverybaaaaady, heeeyyyyyyyyy”.
It wasn’t the most popular song in college. There was “Hotel California” and there was “Summer of 69” but they started with “On a dark desert highway” and “I got my first real six-string”. For a person who feared English more than death, I found “Everybody” much easier to pick up. In those days if someone had asked me to choose any one of the two options – conversing in English or wrestling with a fire-spitting dragon, I would have happily chosen the dragon. I still might do the same.
In my first job, a friend of mine introduced me to Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire”. Although I did not understand a thing in the song other than the first line, I loved the thought behind the song. The song is nothing short of a history lesson and is one of my top ten favorite songs. It is a different matter that I may not know more than ten songs if they do not belong to Bollywood. During my post-graduation, I explored a bit more of Billy Joel and became a fan of “Piano Man” as well.
During my post-graduation, I stumbled upon a name – Jim Croce. A bit of research told me that Croce did just one album and died soon after. Nevertheless, his “Time in a bottle” was enough to make me a big fan of his works. The soft music, the voice and the lyrics once made me say once “He is Jagjeet Singh of English”. I still believe he was quite close.
However, for a man who was often silenced by those who claimed to be fans of rock music, Billy Joel and Jim Croce came to me as tools to give them back what they gave me – silence.
Quite often, when people switched the topic from Tendulkar’s straight drive to the nuances of metal, they would tell me openly or suggest quietly, “We are discussing rock. You may like to go to sleep”.
However, with the weapons of Billy Joel and Jim Croce in hands, I had my answers ready. I would ask back, “Rock? I am more into classical stuff. Do you guys listen to Billy Joel?”
This comment would often left people agape.
Even if I got an answer, “Oh yes. He is good”, I would ask back, “I know someone better. Have you heard of Jim Croce?”
This followed with puking of knowledge about Jim Croce that I gathered on the net and letting them know a bit about Croce’s songs. I always ended by saying, “What a pity he did just one album? The world of rock would have been so much richer had he lasted any longer”
It always worked in getting the discussion back to Tendulkar’s straight drives.
Once I asked, on chat, lead guitarist of my college’s band, “Have you heard of Jim Croce?”
He sounded more than shocked when he asked back, “How the hell you know about him? As far as I know, music for you started with Nadeem-Shravan and ended with Kumar Sanu”.
It was the first time I had met someone who knew about Jim Croce. Anyways, I did not let my chance slip away. I told him proudly, “Not really. I have always been fond of quality songs and music”.
We spent 10 minutes in discussing about Croce. I am not sure about him but google did help me a lot in that discussion.
On a serious note, Jim Croce was good.
Listening to the album “Best of Backstreet Boys” last evening and singing the songs with actual lyrics, I found my home ministry looking at me as if she had seen a vampire.
“I didn’t know this side of yours. I believe you just don’t like this stuff” is what she looked like saying but avoided. We often fight over the kind of music we want to listen and our choices are quite different. While she is a Shania Twain fan, likes to listen to Rihanna and Abba, I have not been able to move out of 90s. I could see another belief getting shattered.
She just smiled at me as if she wanted to say, “Finally you are over with your crappy Kaali teri chhoti hai and Payaliya ho ho ho ho kind songs. Thank god for that”.
For any husband - if his act has left his wife silent with a smile; he knows he has won a battle worth putting on his CV.
However, in any war, winning a post is not enough. One needs to hold on to it.
I knew I had won and needed to hold on to the post.
To hold on to the post, I immediately put Rohan Keating’s “You say it best when you say nothing at all” on play. I am not sure if any sane man would disagree with the lyrics. I hope sane men reading this know what I mean.If these events of last evening were part of any movie’s climax, the movie would surely have ended with the line “And they lived happily ever after.”