Friday, April 07, 2006

Another era, or two years ago

Does anyone remember the Shubha Mudgal album Ab Ke Sawan from a very long time ago (actually, just about 6 years)? It had lovely songs like Seekho Na, Hai Pyar to Musafir, Dere Dere and my favourite, a song called Bairi Chayn. I heard this album so incessantly and obsessively back then that I still remember most of the lyrics and am very tempted to quote all of them extensively here. Don’t worry, I won’t, but it was quite an exceptional album – I could almost compare it to Rabbi.

I suddenly thought about it today and had a sudden urge to listen to it -- the kind of mad urge you only get when it comes to doing completely useless stuff and never about filling tax forms. And realized that though I still had the tape in my possession (a remarkable achievement in itself, considering I lose an average of two sunglasses a month), I had nothing to play it on. I have a tape recorder that has not been used in more than a year, whose head is so far gone that my quite basic cellphone has better sound. Incidentally, this tape recorder was acquired by us just about a couple of years back – I can only guess that we were planning to save it for a private antique collection, for why we would have gone and bought a two-in-one when it was at the very edge of its extinction as a species I have no idea.

Like most civilized people (who haven’t got around to buying a home theatre), we listen to music mostly on the computer. There are nifty little peer-to-peer music search engines that my most computer savvy brother installs for us from time to time, using which we download music illegally from the Net. Most of the time, though, my brother does this himself and we, lazy parasites that we are, just copy songs from his hard disk onto ours. I said from time to time because most of these engines help to positively colonize our system with viruses, so we are forced to regretfully abandon them after a time and reformat the comp or whatever.

Now, my brother is not quite as fond of Shubha Mudgal (what a voice) as me, so understandably the songs were not shyly waiting at some corner of the hard drive to be discovered and listened to. And I was quite determined to use the tape. Finally, I realized I have another almost prehistoric device at my disposal – my dictaphone (yes, it uses actual cassette tapes, yes, those brown spools you can actually touch with a finger).

So I am playing the tape on it right now. The sound emanating from its tiny speaker is pretty bad (very close to transistor radio sound), you have to actually rewind and forward to get to a song you want to hear, and it runs on unrechargeable batteries that have almost run out. My techno-junkie brother looks at me aghast, with a ‘how can you bear this’ look on his face, but I’m having a lot of fun.

P.S. On a not completely unrelated note, I happened to tune in to Vividh Bharati for about ten minutes on the two-in-one earlier this evening. A show called Aaj ke Fankaar was just starting with the evening’s host, Neelam something, singing praises of ‘Jumping Jake’ Jeetendra, who, according to her, belonged to a family of jewellers but was bitten by the ‘Glaymour bug’, necessitating an entry into films and dancing to such immortal classics as Taki, o taki, o taki taki taki re, jab se teri aankhon mein jhanki


At April 08, 2006 1:00 PM, Blogger Priya said...

Aeeeeii, my byapok favourite album too. In fact, I did quite the same thing, played it till Shubha started sounding hoarse, and N threatened to throw the cassette away if I played it once more. It's tucked away in some shoe-box full of my many other favourite albums, as our music system(which is only slightly bigger and more evolved than a two-in-one),is now acting snooty and only plays CDs. The tape recorder part of it has gathered enough and more dust to render it almost defunct. Though I think One of them works ad the other doesn't.
Come home sometime (I'll tell you when N's not aroud:P) and the two of us can karaoke with Shubha, with all that our voices are worth!

At April 08, 2006 2:04 PM, Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

I've been looking for that CD for a month now. Especially "Hai pyaar toh musafir". If I find it, I'll share.


At April 09, 2006 2:30 AM, Blogger Draconian Devil said...

Who exactly is this halfwit brother of yours? Wait till I get my hands on him. How dare he despise your state of the art, hi-fidelity Dictaphone. Despicable, I must say.
And it makes so much more acoustic sense to listen to music on that exemplary tribute to technological wizardry, than in a 4.1 Surround Sound 3000 W speakers, doesn’t it?

On a different note, Shubha Mudgal really rocks. Piya tora kaisa abhimaan, Mann ke manjerey, Pyar ke geet, Dholna, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi et al.

At April 10, 2006 12:42 PM, Blogger Patient Portnoy said...

The comp's been there for a couple of years, but I still can't ignore it when it plays music. I mean, when it comes to a simple player you let it be and only listen, right?
With the comp, there's Winamp or JetAudio, their alien skins, lights jumping around, options galore in which you can adore Mozart in 'rap' mode. In some weird way, I find myself trying to please the machine and not offend it

At April 12, 2006 4:30 PM, Blogger Sue said...

I can't belive you suddenly, sneakily posted, just when I'd given up checking your blog for new writeups!

I'm moving this weekend and am soo looking forward to getting my cassette-player out of its packing and playing The Beatles -- Live at the BBC. I bought the cassettes cos I couldn't afford the CD, but I really must upgrade...

At April 15, 2006 2:52 PM, Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

Priya: Yes, please. I love singing but nobody wants to hear me sing (I wonder why?) and since you volunteer, i absolutely cannot pass it up.

JAP: Yes, yes. I looked for the CD at Planet M here too, but didn't find it.

DD: It does make sense. You are less distracted by all the gizmo gadgetry, as patient portnoy points out (sounds cool, that) below.

PP: Absolutely. I feel i have to keep staring at the comp while it plays music, or i can listen to music on it ONLY when i'm doing something else using it as well. And just because you have more choice, you tend to fiddle around unnecessarily instead of concentrating on the music. Plus, it's very, sort of, shared -- anyone can come and change the music, whereas my dictaphone is all my own and very personal. I love that.

Sue: Welcome, welcome. Heh to 'suddenly, sneakily'. by the way, there are two more now (shameless plug).

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