This is one of my favourite times, or perhaps the most favourite, of all the ‘my times’ that I am able to afford. It is something which makes me look forward to the home visits even more.
(Dil me jo baatein hain, hothon pe laao na, Aao na aao na…)
The sun is about to disappear, and the clouds are trying to capture the last few traces of light remaining. Lazy on my bed, I stare purposelessly and endlessly out of the balcony, which opens to some beautiful greens and blues. Sadhna Sargam’s honey-dew soaked voice echoes across the room, given the distorted sound quality of the radio. It is some 17 years old (the radio). It seems almost a lifetime, well almost half a decade less than mine. It has been with me ever since I can remember. Earlier it was a cassette player, and was called ‘tape’. It would always give me company during my lunch after coming home from school in the noon, disturbing mom’s daily routine of the daily soap ‘Kahaani Saat Pheron Ki’. Buying the audio cassette of every other movie was my biggest obsession, and was not at all appreciated , but after some debate and telling-offs, I’d usually get my way. As a result, in a few years I had accumulated a trunk full of cassettes.
(Aasmaan, tera mera hua, khwab ki tarah dhuan, dhuan…)
Then suddenly, they became obsolete. Apparently, the world had advanced, moved to compact discs and we got a new CD player. The ”tape” in the car was also replaced with a CD player. My huge pile of cassettes now stared at me, almost accusingly. Meanwhile, we shifted home, and despite unwillingness of Mom, I carried the entire trunk of cassettes with me to the new place. The CD phase could never really get me, neither did it last long, I think.
(Chaayi hai…betaabi…meri jaan, bataa main kya karu…)
The last cassette I bought was Saawariya, in 2007, which accidently was sold away with the car, and I had made a big hue and cry about it, but didn’t get a new one. The ”tape” had remained quiet for some time then, with the internet and downloads picking up and cassettes and tapes being replaced by the iPods and mobiles. Though somehow, they never quite managed to give me that joy and satisfaction of buying a cassette, of carefully removing the plastic cover and discovering the huge poster and stills of movie inside. The cassette player remained silent and alone for some time, until the rise of radio, the F.M. channels. I was leaving my home for college, and that was the day when the first FM channel was launched in the city. The cassette player was cleaned, and rechristened as Radio that day, though I could barely get 2 hours of it.
(Alvida, alvida, meri raahein kehti hain, alvidaa…)
Ever since, the radio has been my best companion at home, for the few days that I get to spend here. Cousins, friends, didi, all have gradually moved away, into lives of their own, which rarely coincide with mine. The evenings which were spent in animated discussions, games, laughs earlier have been replaced with the ones filled with music, and solitude, a lone me lying on my bed and staring out of my balcony into the greens below and blues above, which is turning into black gradually, acquiring myriad colors in the process.
(In sawaalon ke banaye hue bandhan se nikal chal…)
Time really flies, or no, it just apparates. It is a very stupid thought alright, but I often feel as if I’ve already seen too much. Not too much of ups and downs or highs and lows, but just life. So many memories, of so many places, people are all the time brewing in my mind, and never ever enough to saturate. Maybe I am just not able to get over them, to move with times, but how can I ever do that? Having lived in 8 cities, each a different world, a different phase, with different set of people, places and perceptions, everything has become a metaphor of something and reminds me of some distant long lost memory, of a phase, of a moment lived through. Even without the Dumbledore’s pensieve, I keep wandering through my memories.
( Neele neele ambar par, chand jab chaaye, humko tarsaaye…)
Wings or not, it really has some pace, and that is almost scary, but also relieving at the same time. First term at the new college is already over. Just the other moment, I was standing on the terrace of my flat, staring down from the 11th floor onto the roads of the metropolis, planning the future, or perhaps planning to plan the future. Just the other moment, I was walking on the seaside, mesmerised by the beautiful hills on one side, the anxious waves swayed by the soft winds on the other, and the beautiful drive way on the other; and just the other moment, all of this is past. Gone, forever.
It is scary. Every moment now feels very ‘momentary’, where you know that it will pass in a blink. The moments will all connect to form a lifetime, and then I will have the entire life to look back on. Wonder how will I deal with all the memories then, if at all. The whole life will pass away, like this song which I want to keep listening forever,
(…Ik fasaanaa bane, abhi na banaa to fir kabhi nahi kabhi nahi…)
but every song has to end. Every phase has to pass. But what about those which pass without going through every page, without completing all the stories! I’ll never know.
It is relieving. Every moment now feels very ‘momentary’, where you know that it will pass in a blink. In the moments of despair and phases of hopelessness, this is the single thought that steers you clear out of such times. Just let go, as you know it is a matter of a few blinks.
(…main thehra rahaa zameen chalne lagi…)
Living in the past is definitely not what they would call a ‘healthy living’. As if I could help that. The radio is playing the ‘Cassette Classics’, and I keep losing myself through times, across years, places and people. I still have a cassette preserved in the drawer. (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) The rest didn’t survive through times- distributed, destroyed, donated or just vanished. But don’t feel like playing it. The radio must have lost that skill, and the cassette must have lost some music too. The reel could get entangled, and you could never be sure if it can be untangled. The CDs could get scratched too, and the downloads can get corrupted, iPods and mobiles damaged, or just lost. It is the music which keeps going on. The song echoes across times, the music lives forever.
(…Zindagi ke safar me guzar jaate hain jo mukaam, fir nahi aate…)
Love lives forever.