Name me a soul who shuns music and he will be meted out with a stare so piercing, a glance so questioning, an amazement so appalling that he would wonder with shame and amazement at his sin so! Music! How it manages to make you smile, how it makes you misty eyed, how it can orchestra your hand and feet to involuntary movements, you subconsciously sway your head, you find yourself humming and you sing along. Music has been an invariable part of my every day, with the earphones perpetually plugged onto my ears (so much so that I have rendered a number of them useless by waking up with the earphones twined around my body, the ceaseless wear and tear owing the long walks, chores). Nostalgia, happiness, sorrow, reminiscence, melancholy, good times, happier times, the mellow hours, music opens a Pandora’s Box of emotions for me. The soft pluck of a guitar chord, the nimble piano keys, soul stirring violin notes, the loudness of drums, the dreamy and poetic lyrics, the pitch and depth of the accompanying voice, attune my senses, charm every entity of my body, and form a backdrop of my existence.
I have this idiosyncrasy of associating a person, a situation, a shard of memory with a certain tune, happy or sad, and every given time I listen to that number I am effortlessly transported back into the time, into that fragment of memory, reliving it, smiling and sighing. If you were to ask me to list out the numbers that have moved me ways more than one, the constants in my ever changing playlist, I am quite clueless. With a sudden discovery, with YouTube recommendations, with changing moods, seasons my playlist is ever growing, ever changing. But there are few songs that never grow old. In all likelihood these are the ones that take me back to a time that can never be relived, can never be recreated, bitter-sweet. Are these my favourite numbers? I know not. Are these are songs I would trap in a cassette were I to spend the rest of my life in a remote island. Yes.
Big Jet Plane, Angus and Julia Stone. Oh the earnestness in Angus’ voice, the rustic charm in the Julia’s humming, the distant sound of guitar, cello, piano, the longing portrayed in the video, Lizzy travelling in a car and the wind caressing her face, blowing her hair, Lizzy staring at the bluish glow of fairy lights in her room, looking through the flicker. The reverberating tune and passionate lyrics make me delirious, hopeful, melancholic and nostalgic simultaneously. I had chanced upon this song at a movie screening, quickly ‘Shazam’ed it and it found a permanent place in my playlist. Someone who had claimed this would be our song much later. It never could be. ‘Gonna hold ya, gonna kiss ya in my arms, gonna take ya away from harm, gonna take for a ride on a big jet plane’, do I need to say more?
Ankahee, Lootera by Amitabh Bhattacharya. Dalhousie, snow, giant pine trees, winter, solitude, wildernesses, contemplation, howling winds, the sun peeping thorough winter clouds, the sound of birds chirping in the morning, mountain flowers, pine needles scattered on narrow pathways, walks! Serenity! ‘Is dawn a harbinger of darkness..Does spring usher autumn..A story, older than time, remains unsaid’. Although the song questions, reminisces a story that was never narrated, it, strangely, weaves a tale that speaks to me in innumerable ways. Answers to question that remain elusive.
Yeh Dooriyan, ‘Love Aaj Kal’, Mohit Chauhan. The whistle that the song begins with echoes a yearning, a loss, a desire and has had me captivated ever since I heard it for the first time. Not associated with a single person, or a situation or a memory for I have found its relevance through time and situations. A never reducing distance, growing in miles, paining you, troubling you, a distance measurable yet immeasurable, the physical distance, the distance despite togetherness that we remain oblivious to, that we chose to remain ignorant to, a distance. Certain lines that ring with universal truth, pushing me into depths of melancholy run thus, ‘There are times when I am walking alone and I sense your presence beside me through those lonesome lanes while there are times when I return hollow hearted despite having you around’. I remember listening to this song at situations thus, staring straight through the sky, through the emptiness, fixating my eyes on a hope cloaked in a blanket of despondency unable to pierce through the opaque raiment.
Chasing Pavements, Adele. The 21st century must be thanked for Adele! Be it the soul wrenching ‘Someone Like You’ or the haunting ‘Hello’ or sweetly vindictive ‘Rumour Has It’, Adele never fails to captivate and enchant her listeners. Although most swear by her other songs I have always had a penchant for ‘Chasing Pavements’. Albeit not very popular from her oeuvre of songs the lines of this song keep playing in my head at every threshold of life. ‘Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements, even if it leads nowhere’. Directionless, uncertain, unsure of what awaits one at the end of the road, she walks on, questioning.
Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson. I have claimed this one to be my song, associated the words breakaway, escapade with my life, synonyms with what I wish for some given day. To run away from everyone and everything I know, unsure why so. ‘Grew up in a small town. And when the rain would fall down. I’d just stare out my window. Dreamin’ of what could be. And if I’d end up happy. I would pray’. And I did grow up in a small town, watching the incessant rains, wishing for happiness, subtle joy, praying, hoping, wishing, yearning. How I wish I could spread my mythical wings and learn how to fly. Fly away!
Ah, now that I have chosen to list my list of constants and limit them, try as much as I can, I cannot limit them to a few. I have to add, U2’s With Or Without You, Paramore’s The Only Exception, The Script’s For The First Time, Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You and, indeed, Coldplay’s Yellow to my ever growing constant list before I conclude.