Have you ever had this experience of a melody transporting you through time? It can take you to your childhood, to a favorite place or bring alive a special moment.
There is this song “ Aati rahengi baharen” which takes me back to my childhood in a small town in West Bengal? Then there is another “Suno Champa Suno Tara” and I can almost see myself lying down on the bed with measles- the song playing on a LP record on the record player next to the bed.
The Kishore number in Bangla “ Noyono shoroshi kano..” takes me to my friend’s house with the smell of frying fish in the background. Whenever I think of the song “ Oh Saathi re tere bina bhi kya jeena” I can remember Durga Puja, shopping and fun. The Nazia Hasan number “ Aap Jaisa koi” reminds of hot summer nights with power cuts and the song blasting blasting away on a transistor in our house and in our neighbors’. Memories of Antakshari are laced with memories of “ Main tulsi tere angan ki” / “ Kasme Vaade”. Nobody plays Antakshari these days and transistors are only used by sleepy watchmen. About LP records and record players.. I think they are now antique pieces..
More recently, some songs that come to my mind- the Elton John number “Sacrifice” takes me back to college in Bombay ( no it was before Mumbai) –sitting down in our Dining hall where the music system used to be located and working on my assignments while it poured cats and dogs outside. And there were some awful songs composed by the music duo Nadeem Shravan ( each of which sounded like the other) which brings back memories of watching terribly made Bollywood films with a huge gang of friends at a rundown theatre near the institute where I was doing my post graduation.
An obscure song “Maine dekhe hain sabhi rang duniya ke” by a singer called Raageshwari ( who has now sunk into oblivion) is very special to me because I associate it with my pregnancy. Those were the days when music videos were becoming popular. I used to see this bubbly singer on the video and somehow form an association with my unborn child.
A song like “ You fill up my senses” reminds me of my time in Sri Lanka. We drove around a lot during the course of our one week there and this song was obviously our driver’s favorite!
The Hindustani tradition has a raag for specific times of the day and for specific seasons. There are some raags which make you imagine that it is dawn or dusk or it is spring or the monsoons. When you hear Megh or Malhar you can almost see those clouds forming over the sky. Film makers often play a certain melody like Raag Bhairavi to signify morning.
Melody therefore has the ability to create a mood. No wonder music is part of emotions! Emotions are linked to memories. We associate certain memories with certain events which make us feel happy or sad or nostalgic. It is complex and I feel constrained explaining it in words! I mean the songs that I mentioned are not exactly my favorites but the associations that they bring about are very special
The human mind is definitely amazing!