Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rewind. Stop. Play.

“Kyun na hum tum,
Chalein tedhe medhe se raston pe
Nange paon re,
Chal bhatak lena baanwre”

Have you listened to the soundtrack of Barfi? Though the movie was disappointing, the music is almost heartbreakingly magical. It only adds to my already painfully nostalgic existence. It’s funny how I’m always reminiscing at this age. When I’m 70 I’ll probably kill myself.

When I was downloading the album from the file-sharing software through which our entire college is connected, I realized how easy it is now to get songs and movies. It hardly takes a few seconds. Wow. Sometimes I fondly look back at the times when cassettes were the latest thing, and we had to stand in line in a music shop, buy a cassette for 50 rupees, and if we were lucky, get a two-in-one tape with songs of two movies in it! Oh how thrilling it used to be to remove the plastic, put the shiny new cassette in the car’s stereo system, read everything written on the cover, and listen to those 8 odd songs over and over again till the cassette would be ready to disintegrate into a thousand little pieces. During family trips, those handful of songs used to be such loyal companions. We would listen to the songs so many times that every beat, every rhythm, every syllable would get embedded into our conscience so deeply that we would probably never forget them in this lifetime. I still remember every word and every musical instrument used in all those Dil to Pagal Hai and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai songs and I can sing them with the same amount of impossible energy and enthusiasm as I did when I was 8.

My earliest memories of movies are the ones dad had recorded for us on the VCR. Chaalbaaz, Andaaz Apna Apna and Saajan were a few of them. Watching Tom and Jerry was a ritual. Lion King, Home Alone, Dunston checks in, Mrs. Doubtfire led us into fascinating, obscure worlds. We were the first family in our locality to buy a small Sony CD player and getting a new movie CD on rent and watching it on the TV used to be an event. Generally on weekends, the drawing room used to be alive with relatives plonked on soft white mattresses, the soothing roar of the air cooler in the background, the entire family would sit together and get lost in the world of make-believe, glamour and artificial characters. Funny, comical movies used to be the best. I can still recall dad’s face red and contorted with the effort of trying to suppress the laughter, tears flowing down mom’s eyes as she laughed uncontrollably, my brother rolling on the floor laughing that distinct high-pitched laughter of his and my sister, almost falling off the sofa more at the others than what was happening in the movie itself. Sometimes there used to be mom’s pav-bhaji with lots of butter and Coke, and sometimes there used to be aloo poori with that one inevitable cup of chai that always had to follow, and there was that little argument about who was going to make it.

Even going out to watch the 9 to 12 movie show in the traditional theatres was an experience. Having an early dinner and getting ready, buying tickets and popcorn, and watching the movie with the family, and always, always wrapping mom’s chunni around me when it got too chilly inside the hall. Discussing the movie and asking everyone “Movie kaisi lagi?” (How did you like the movie?) in the car on the way back. Stopping on the way for ice-cream or paan.

Winter nights were spent watching silly hows like Comedy Circus, CID, KBC or Aahat or any movie being shown on the TV whatsoever, snuggled inside fluffy quilts chewing carelessly on peanuts or cashews. The first sentence after switching the TV on used to be “Dekho koi achchi picture aa rahi hai kya?” (See if there’s a good movie on TV!) Making fun of all the make-up wearing, glycerine-using, poor housewives in all of the K serials mom used to watch. The afternoons were a blur of Rasna, Khas, water melons and naps in front of the cooler after watching the ‘70s and ‘80s movies with grandparents.

It was a time when a few clicks and a few seconds were not enough to get access to the enchanting, wonderful world of movies and music. I often feel I was lucky to be born in a typical middle class family in India in the ‘90s because I have seen the transition every so clearly right in front of my eyes. God bless technology that we are exposed to so many documentaries and movies that one lifetime would not be enough.

But sometimes, I yearn for that time, I long to be that little girl again, perched on that maroon sofa in a small house in a small town, sipping Rooh Afza with my laughing, chortling family around me because Paresh Rawal said something funny to Sunil Shetty in Aawara Pagal Deewana.


  1. Brings back all the memories of free satellite channels and when I used to religiously follow Cartoon Network! Speed Racer and Centurions were something used to fight, cry, rejoice and go ga-ga over!

    And the movies! Bollywood was making classical disasters with Raja Babu and like you said, Awara Pagal Dewaana. Nevertheless, they did give us fantastic memories that nestled us along with our families into worlds that are surely unparalleled by anything else.

    It's wonderful to hear your cute little tales about home every time you tell them! Simple yet enough to make me miss home too and feel 'nostalgic'. :D

    Looking forward to reading a lot more!

    1. Cartoon Network was my LIFE! I used to watch Tiny TV and Looney Tunes everyday too! :D

      You can expect more nostalgic posts in the future! :)

  2. A simple word to describe the post would be "Nostalgic."
    I still remember about listening to the songs of Taal again and again on cassette in car.Investing a lot of time on thinking of favourite songs and recording it in cassette.Those times are gone but I wish I could have them back !!!!

    1. Same here. Oooh Taal! Kahin aag lage lag jaawe! :)

      Those times are irreplaceable! :')

  3. Although, I enjoyed reading sweet little tales of your childhood.
    I do not have fond memories of digital entertainment. I sometimes feel Ekta Kapoor is responsible for this. I watched all her serials with my mother which I really regret now. Actually I had no other choice with my mother being her die hard fan. The only relief were Shaktimaan, Chandrakanta, Alif Laila and occasional movies.

    But now is the time. I have access to all the entertainment in the world. And I love this transition.

    1. Haha relax Ali. We ALL have had those days where we had to sit and watch Ekta Kapoor serials because of our moms. I've done that too! Alif Laila was one of my favourites! :)

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  5. love the songs of Barfi.. but liked the movie too...

    Data has become more easily available... which could be the primary reason for our lack of passion towards it..

    1. You're right. We need to appreciate it more!


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