As a result of working out with my father every morning, our common playlist includes songs like ‘Musafir hoon yaaro’, ‘yeh nayan dare dare’ and his most favourite ‘chu kar mere mann ko’. That’s his 10-15 minutes run on the treadmill while I usually end up resorting to Baba Ramdev’s breathing exercises until a Tamma Tamma from Badri sneakily makes its entry. As much as I need a peppy number like Tamma to get off the floor and jump and jog, my love for old hindi music lures me and pins me down back on the floor so that I continue gyrating my tummy in and out in a sitting position, eyes shut while listening to Annu Kapoor’s ‘Meri Awaz Suno’. My improving digestive system is a testimony to that.
Besides owing to Naushad, RD burman, Mohd. Rafi, Lata ji, Asha ji, and many such maestros for my superb digestive system and all the benefits Ramdev’s yoga claims to have, I also owe them for my cleaner room. One childhood memory that is very vivid in my mental album is that of waking up to soulful renditions on Sunday mornings while my mother would dust off the furniture of the house, occasionally humming the songs with misplaced lyrics. As we grew up eventually, we sisters were assigned each room to dust and clean on Sunday mornings and we followed her tradition of listening to ‘ek pyar ka nagma hai’, ‘kabhi kabhi mere dil mei’ while cleaning up our rooms. I remember fancying myself to be Rekha wearning Ma’s dupatta while cleaning mine. You see, old hindi music helped me promote a mundane routine of room cleaning to a hindi film screenplay where I was the leading protagonist (Aah, those were the days!). And since then, I find my solace in old hindi songs while doing anything that doesn’t include eating yummlicious pasta (doing everything else is a chore, you see). Years later, I would find myself cramming my laptop with collections of classics and crooning to ‘o mere sona re, ‘aiyee meherban’ and ‘meri awaz hi pehchan hain’ much to the utter annoyance of my roommate for my sappy choice of songs. That was until one day, I lost my collection to an unfortunate laptop crash. Just like how we have lost them to the horrifying rampage of badshahs and honey singhs and i-get-dumbyetpretty-girls-cuz-i-am-rich variety that have begun to rear its not so melodious heads in every other song these days.
Maybe our films have become too realistic today. They don’t dance around the trees anymore nor do they prance around the garden. There are no flirtatious banters between the hero and heroine anymore like in haal kaisa hai janab ka where they talk in lyrical sonnets. There is no scene made only for that one song like in kabhi kabhi mere dil mei that beautifully described the wedding night of a woman married to a man she doesn’t love. They hardy lip sync anymore because apparently that is not cool. And as much as I am all for realistic films and background scores, I am guilty of secretly desiring a ‘pyar ka izhaar’ in ‘chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko’ style. I miss burning my toasts while getting lost in ‘lag ja gale’. I miss sitting in the car for five more minutes while I finish listening to ‘aaj kal pao zamin par nahi padte’. I miss going for another round of long drive with the family so that we can listen to that coming up song of Laxmikant-Pyarelal. I miss solving math equations to tareef karu kya uski (no wonder I scored a miserable 69 or so in my boards). And I swear I can die a thousand deaths for the coquettish charm of Madhubala in the seductress of a song ‘aiyye meherban’.
The thing about cliché is that it becomes a cliché because it is so damn true. No wonder they say old is gold. Cliché but true. Just try wrapping your head around the fact that I am talking about songs that were composed years before we were born, in probably some nondescript chai ki dukan or in the drawing room adda of a studio apartment in Bombay by musicians who are no longer in existence and you will know what I mean. Yet, in all these years the music stayed. To remind us that once upon a time the world was super filmy, sappily romantic and brightly colourful.
Here is to the world I miss sorely.
Here is to my morning workout smeared with Shammi kapoor style shimmying in funny looking movements in sensuous songs.
Here is my ode to the oldies.