Familiar chords

Getting out of Facebook and Twitter, and not staying in touch with many of my former circle of friends, has given me ample moments of nostalgia in the past two years. There are people who have grown out of my life, and I out of theirs, and it would be strained and perhaps unnatural to reconnect with them. I could feel a semblance of keeping in touch through Facebook, but all the King’s men and horses couldn’t drag me back to facebook, that vile place where my free time and good moods went to die.

Nostalgia wasn’t always the kindly friend that it is now to me. When I finished class 10 and had my first experience with the loss of familiar faces and moving on, I remember weeping for days on end to a Boney M song, ironically called “no woman no cry” 🙂 This line in particular – “Good friends we have had, oh good friends we’ve lost along the way”, used to reduce me to a puddle of tears.

Graduating Class 12 didn’t hit me as hard, and graduating from college was mostly relief – not much bittersweetness there. And when good friends at my workplace moved away for higher studies or other jobs, I felt sad, but it was by then a grown-up, accepting kind of sadness, dull around the edges with the practice of many partings.

However this post wasn’t to be about partings, but about nostalgia. There are times when a place, an old picture, a conversation remembered, brings a memory back into sharp relief. But most of the times, nostalgia hits me when I’m listening to music. So many of my favorite songs are tied up inextricably with memories of my friends, and hence so much dearer and infused with meaning.

One of the oldest such songs I remember is “Dream a little Dream of me”. I remember my friend Vasudha, singing this to me during class recess in her bell-like voice, and saying I’d probably like it. This was pre-youtube, and it was only this year that I searched for this song and found it on youtube.

Most of my musical memories from college are tied up to Kunal/Ujan – Kunal and Ujan were the awesomely talented self-taught guitarists/vocalists of our college band, and I was the very amateurish keyboardist trailing behind, always afraid I’d hit the wrong key and ruin their act. Kunal and Ujan took on a mystical, almost God-like quality to me when they performed. Or to put it differently, I totally crushed on them every time they were on stage :). Any song that they sang became automatically cool! To this day, listening to the strains of “Nothing else matters” brings to memory this duo intently singing and head-nodding, and me accompanying them on the keyboard, seriously, like SERIOUSLY relieved that the chord transitions were easy to pull off 🙂

One more song from the college era – the cheery, yet poignant song “little wonders” reminds me of Subhash, who so kindly downloaded for me all the songs I wanted to listen to in that period ( again, pre-youtube)..and I’m hugely indebted to him for sending me the songs from the animation “Anastasia”, prior to which I had to watch the movie every time it was on telly, just so I could listen to the songs at the end and during the movie.

“People are strange” is quintessential Pramod to me. Listening to this song brings a mental image of my friend Pramod in grunge attire, totally pulling off a I’m-too-cool-to-care look.

“Kyun aaj kal” from “Woh Lamhe” is linked to memories of my friend Kiran singing it enthusiastically and oh-so-tunelessly! To this day, I can sing two distinct versions of this song, Kiran’s and the one originally intended.

And then there’s a huge bunch of songs that remind of Shreyas, one of my first friends at the workplace, who introduced me to a wealth of music and bands I loved! But the one song that my mind has definitely mapped to Shreyas, is “Guaranteed” from the movie “Into the wild”. And also “Wake me up when September ends”, because he used to object to me playing it aloud, in a loop, at office.

And then there’s the very sappy “Teardrops on my guitar” that helped me through my first major unrequited crush. I can now listen to this song with an indulgent smile, a far cry from the way it used to affect me some years back.

The song “Ra Ra” from Chandramukhi brings to mind Saru, who actually wrote down the lyrics for me and explained the meaning. The kind of jobless thing that only best friends who talked on the phone every other day would do, after they were done speaking about their respective college scandals.

“Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin”..This song reminds me of a very dear friend, Manjari. This song is important to her, and hearing it inevitably makes me think of her and how much I still wish we lived in the same city 🙂

“Country Roads” – This is Nandini, Aravind and Nazeeb to me. I absolutely adore this song, because while we were rehearsing this song, I decided I wanted to be friends with Nandini and Aravind, and luckily for me, we did forge a friendship a little down the lane. This song also reminds me of Nazeeb – of his humongous talent, general upbeatness, and irrepressible laughter 🙂

And then there was Sahil, another very tuneful friend. Sahil’s rendition of “Dil to Baccha hai ji” is still my favorite over the original.

And Imtiyaz, another musician..( I seem to have been blessed with a lot of musical friends at one point. Pity I’m not in touch with most of them now ). Imtiyaz introduced me to masterpieces that I was obsessed with for months, such as “Garaj Baras” and “Tose Naina Lage”. He also convinced me to listen to and miraculously, even like a song by RATM – “Killing in the name of”.

“Morning on Boston Common” – This delightful piece is Rohan’s contribution to my playlist. Rohan is also the guy who downloaded a plethora of Yann Tiersen’s songs and shared them with me, giving rise to my obsession with Yann Tiersen ( Besides making divine music, he’s a recluse and ruggedly good-looking to boot..what’s not to like!)

This post has already gotten out of hand, and would grow to even more monstrous proportions if I gave myself a free hand. My writing seems to have gotten rusty with over two years of not blogging, and since I can’t think of a clever way to round off this post, it’s going to get a blunt ending. There!