The Intricate Interweaving of Songs and Memories…

I’ve been drowning in floods of memories of late, and as a result, in a ton of related emotions. And while these memories mostly come unsolicited, there are times when a song evokes a memory and I’m instantly transported to a time long ago. I clutch my chest, gasping because of how déjà vu can be so debilitating, even if the memory itself is a happy one. But this is rare, the coming back of happy memories. Most of these remind me of times in which either people have been a-holes to me or when I have been a massive a-hole. And neither of these is a good place to be in, for one makes me sad and the other makes me guilty and angry at myself.

This got me thinking. Why is it that a throwaway word or a song – songs mostly – makes you feel so much? Why is it that songs get so inextricably interwoven with points in your life? What do you do when you’re transported this way? So many questions demanding answers, but I haven’t found them.

The earliest memory I have related to a song has my father playing a huge role. He loves to sing and when we were children, he would sing us Hindi songs as lullabies. So ‘Aa chal ke tujhe, main leke chalun, ek aise gagan ke tale… Jahan gham bhi na ho, aansu bhi na ho, bas pyaar hi pyaar pale’ became something that is so inextricably tied in with sleep time that even now, some nights, I find myself humming it. It translates to, ‘Come, let me take you to under such a sky, where there is no sadness, no tears, only love grows.’ It’s a horrible translation, but do you know what it means to me now to know that my Dad was singing this little protective song back then? It’s a lot, trust me.

I used to be very close to my cousin, who is 11 years older than me. Every time she came to visit, I remained ecstatic throughout. We visited places in the city, mostly as a way to spend our time with her, but I also suspect because I liked to hop around a little. We played ‘Antakshari’, a game many Indians will know, in which we sing a song, and then the next person has to sing a song that starts with the last letter of this previous song. And thus the loop continues. Every time we played this game, whenever the Hindi letter, a softer ‘t’ came up, I began ‘Tujhe Dekha Toh Ye Jaana Sanam’ – a 90s classic from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Every time I started it, I got reactions on the lines of ‘ah, of course’ or ‘there she goes again.’ But what fun we had every time! The days she visited were the best days of my life back then. This relationship is probably why I turned to her in a time of complete chaos, when I didn’t know what to do. I realize that I burdened her back then, but she never complained. She hasn’t said a thing about it. So you see why that song has become such a cornerstone in my life? Because it reminds me of that connection I had with my cousin. I remember dissolving into tears every single time she left. So when I was getting married, I looked up at her and said, ‘It’s my turn to make you cry now.’ She chuckled, but I could see the tears swimming in her eyes.

The Irish boy band, Westlife, was my first foray into English music. Their songs, Seasons in the Sun, My Love, I Lay My Love on You, and Fool Again, among others, take me back to a time when I had such high hopes for the future. I might have been in school at the time and I might have been a bit of an extra introvert, but I had stars in my eyes. The softness of Westlife’s songs, however upbeat they may be, turned me into a romantic. Time and life have undone them a bit and transformed me into a bit of a cynic. But every time I listen to one of their songs, I am reminded of that hope. I wonder if I can have that hope again…

When Hrithik Roshan made his debut in 2000 with the film, Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai, I, like so many other girls and women in the country, went nuts over him. I will defend him even now but the mania was mad back then. I got my Mum to buy me a cassette of the songs for 50 rupees and would listen to the songs before bed every single evening. And now, when I listen to them, I am instantly transported back to those times of having my first celebrity crush. It’s a little unnerving how strong first crushes can be, but that feeling of trying to become someone and taste success so that your celebrity crush will notice you, and the heartbreak on finding out he has a childhood sweetheart who he will immediately marry, is something that embarrasses me to this day. But it also makes me smile, because come on! Why not?

My school life was a mess, mostly because of my own inability to stay in loop with my friends or understand them. I was a bit of a drama queen back then and thought of myself to be the protagonist in a very tragic movie where she gets left behind by her friends. So I acted out, with the soundtrack of the Telugu-dubbed version of the Tamil movie ‘Boys’ keeping me company. That music still sends tingles down my spine because of how much feeling there is in it, but also because it reminds me of what a punk I was.

Fast forward to 2010-11. The training facility at my first job was spread over acres and acres of fabulous scenery, replete with a multiplex, a supermarket, a salon, and so much more. It was there that we watched the movie, ‘Break ke Baad’ starring Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone. The movie itself was a washout but the songs were fab. Especially ‘Adhoore’, in which they are singing about how incomplete they are without each other. This song takes me back to that campus, every single time, and I remember the person I was back then. Proud of having landed the job, ecstatic at my first income, making new friends while holding the hands of old ones, financial and personal freedom to a certain extent – ah, it was a lot. And I am reminded of that old me every time I listen to this song. It just physically picks me up and dumps me in an era gone by.

There are so many more songs and memories related to them that I want to list out. But I will stop for now, especially because this post has gone on for way too long. But for now, these are the ones that have a tight grip on my psyche and ones I can never let go of.

Do let me know in the comments what you thought of this blog post. What are some songs that are inextricably linked to your memories? Do you relate songs and memories like this? I’d love to hear from you and feel a little less alone. 😉

I’ll be back with a new blog post soon.

Until next time, keep reading and add some melodrama to your life! 🙂

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