Nostalgia Endures

My father moved around a lot while I was growing up. And it was a good way to live, everything considered. Met new people every few years, or met the same old faces in different cities and towns and had a good time catching up.

India of the late 80s was a vastly different place from what it is now. And while that is a rather DUH kind of statement to make, it’s still very true. In 1988 my father moved to US for a few years. And we were as FOTB as they came. While my folks still knew something about the country and the people, I knew bupkiss. And when the learning began, I was like a sponge. Red still likes to say that I’ve yet to leave the accent and thought process behind although the country was left behind decades ago. With emphasis on the decade. Husbands!

Image result for husbands gif

For me it was a magical place. Imagine if the height of television watching till then had been the weekly mythological serials that the whole family lined up to see on Sundays and then cut to an 8 year old totally having a braingasm in front of a telly with more than 2-3 channels (back then) just for cartoons!

Image result for blow my mind gif

And there began the journey with music. Till then music was what my folks played on the turntable or what was on the radio or the Bollywood stuff on the t.v. There had been a brief exposure to BoneyM as a tiny tot but that was quickly forgotten as well.

Suddenly there was VH1, and MTV and music videos galore. And it was amazing. It played 24/7 and all you had to do was listen and you’d find something that stuck to your mind. Good or bad it stuck.

Things which kids are exposed to in their formative years always stays with them. And so the 90s with its big poofy, hairsprayed hair (for both men and women) stayed with me. The ripped denim, Gene Simmons’ make-up and guitar smashing and for some reason Slash’s weirdly placed bellybutton…all made an impression. I don’t like B-52 but remember their music. I don’t like any songs from Shakespeares Sister but can listen to Stay on a loop at times.

And that’s why even after all those years, after having spent more time away from that influence rather than time with, I still fall back to that music when I feel restless and fidgety. Listening to Winger (never heard any other song except Miles Away), Skid Row and even Heavy D…all seem very very comforting. Because that’s what music does to you. It transports you to new (and old) experiences, emotions and by the time you descend back to yourself, you’re set. For that moment.

I have a varied playlist on my phone and every now and then when I hit shuffle it comes up with things which really make me stop and listen purely for the nostalgia quotient. And that’s when reality intrudes with a rather jarring sound- that of DJ Snake’s Magenta Riddim because small hands found the phone and thought it would be fun to shake things up a bit from the boring U2’s With Or Without You….kids!

Image result for dont mess with my music meme

Realizations at 4:45 A.M

On an early morning drive to the airport, roughly 36 kms of thinking time, I realized the following:

1. Robert Palmer is very repetitive. And annoying. Addicted to Love is getting deleted from the playlist.

2. Morons, the real ones, are very consistent. Moronic all the time. All days of the week. Never take a break; on weekends either. Even God rested on the 7th Day. Or so sayeth the Bible.

3. Lady Gaga is ok driving music. In fact she’s okay provided you don’t get the visuals of the skycraper heels and body paint that would give Jackson Pollock nightmares.

4. Bollywood songs, especially the party numbers are good company on a drive irrespective of the time of day.

5. If you don’t have a flask of coffee riding shotgun, the sound of James Hetfield’s voice works well too.

6. Even if you try to tiptoe past a sleeping family on your way out the house, your slippers will squelch.

7. There are very few things as lovely as a sunrise. Each one makes you want to stop whatever you’re doing and just watch it happen.

8. Morons have special categories. The Honkers will honk even if there are miles of open road just to get the satisfaction of you giving way to them.

9. If you go to an airport or a railway station, you will feel like making a journey.

10. You can’t help but groove, move or headbang to funky tracks.

11. Sundays go by pretty quick so you hurry home and back to bed.

When My Mom Learnt To Rock

My parents are fairly cool. I say fairly because given the fluidity of our lives during my childhood and adolescence they were usually ok with most of the things they came across when dealing with me.

One of the biggest changes came when we relocated to US for a few years while I was still in elementary school. Flinstones gave way to VHI and MTV and that change too they took in their stride as well as they could.

I remember that ours is a home always filled with music of some kind. My mother sings while she cooks, we ask my father NOT to sing at all and the record player was on during the weekends and used to stay on for a good, long, while.

Stuff from my parents’ youth like The Ventures, some Joan Baez along with classical Indian music is what was around. 

Then came the Era of Music Videos. And that was “interesting” for them because the videos aren’t always just freaks of nature depicting their freakiness, sometimes I guess it was tough for them to let their young and impressionable daughter watch videos of Kiss and Billy Idol’s Cradle of Love (to name a few that rattled my mom up). My father’s all time favorites feature We Didn’t Start The Fire, Unchained Melody, some Bryan Adams and nothing of rap or rock. 

But the audio is what they always liked, thank goodness. So I could get away with listening to stuff if they found the video unsuitable for some reason.

I remember one morning my mother heard me watching Enter Sandman while doing something in the kitchen and somehow she thought it was “nice” and am quite sure she hadn’t heard the chorus 🙂 she came out of the kitchen and was confronted with Hetfield’s face and saw the video (which is quite tame by most standards) and got a frown on her face. Am sure over the years she would come across videos which would make parents run for the child lock on television as well. Rap too didn’t fare too well. I guess she wasn’t able to connect with it or find melody in it. The only rap song I know she remembers is House of Pain’s Jump Around for the distinctive shrill sounds through the track

She also used to get mucho annoyed by the smashing of music instruments on stage and the lack of clothes by many- another reason why I wasn’t allowed to watch the full Blonde Ambition Tour being aired on tv. Madonna started her presence on screen with the F words and my mother got irritated, “she’s there to sing, why does she have to use bad words?”. Although watching movies like Good Fellas or for that matter ANY Joe Pesci movie was ok for her because the curses were in context to the situation and therefore acceptable.

Over the years Ma’s liked MLTR (such clean looking boys with no holes in their clothes and no screaming), Scatman (just because he could scat!) and of course Elton John’s songs along with the stuff she grew with- Engelbert Humperdink, Cliff Richards, Elvis and the other oldies. She enjoyed the 3 Tenors and Barbra Streisand and of course Celine Dion. But she also tolerated me blasting Def Lep’s Vault when the album came out among others but was also quite happy with I started watching more things on Youtube or listening to stuff on the iPod.

I want to show her how innocuous my selections were back then and have her see some of Miley Cyrus’ videos and antics on Youtube and see what the now-grandmother has to say!

This should certainly be worth a watch 🙂

canstock9413234