Where nostalgia meets regret

Nasty nostalgia niggling through languid nights. And I slowly turn nocturnal. This morning I woke up, but inside I was still asleep. You know you’ve slept badly when you pull through the night half-asleep-half-awake with a faint memory and a song playing on in loop in a dream-like state. You can never be sure if dream triggered the thought or vice versa.

Steely Dan ruled my weekend. Out and out took over everything I was doing and feeling. But that was not all. Perhaps if it was just about the sheer joy of rediscovering this music again, it wouldn’t have been so bittersweet. But the damn thing brought back a surge of memories, and with it regret and disappointment too. Memories of sharing musical highs, discovering uncannily similar tastes, that queer attention to minute detail and clarity in sound, grooving to the extra loud music in the car, at Take 5, at Windsor Pub.

And it took me back to where my love for Steely Dan started. At Bangalore’s cozy roof top night club — Hint. May, 2007 (I think). It was my birthday and PJ gifted me my first Steely Dan CD. Everything Must Go, it was called. Steely Dan was mystery man until then, and PJ’s logic for giving me the CD was simple: “I like sharing with people things that I want to buy for myself”. And that’s the thing about PJ. Sharing comes just so easily.

But Steely Dan says, everything must go. And go it did. Yet again. Except this time around I am completely clueless why and how. I usually have an inkling, a hunch. Call it my right-brained intuition, or call it the roots of a deep friendship, a relationship that goes beyond what average chums have — I always knew when something was up. Something grave enough to bring a distance between us. I didn’t always know exactly what, but I had a feeling when something went wrong. Funnily enough, its probably my womanly intuition too, that usually made me make a move. Break the silence. Encourage a chat. Listen. Sure, I’d be angry. We’d argue, spew vile words at each other. But always knowing this only ends one way: making up.

Somehow, I don’t have that confidence anymore. Perhaps being left in the dark this time around has upset me more that I realised. And it only came to me this weekend, as Steely Dan sang and played on and on and on. Like a bittersweet reminder of the times like they used to be.

So much is lost when people stop talking. Its easy to stop. Put and end. What’s really hard to do is to begin again. Somehow I’ve been accustomed to making the first move, this time I was truly blind sighted by the randomness. A mood swing I thought at first. And when the silence only grew thicker, I wondered what I might have done wrong, only to realise there was nothing I could have possibly said/done that couldn’t be talked out. Outwardly though I haven’t even realised myself how angry I actually was. It’s been lying inside me. Festering, like a swamp. A weekend of overdosing on Steely Dan, and I’m all ready to bubble over. Because with the memories came the anger, bursting out. And almost as a happy reaction, it melted away just as quickly as it lunged out. That’s the power of musical associations. For me at least. It brings the past back in a flash, puts things in perspective and sets the course for things to come. I’ve said this before, and I’m going to say it again: my connections with music are sometimes so strong they can make me weak, debilitate me, crush my ego and make me wilt away in a pool of sorrow. Or in this case, regret. Wistful regret.

What good is a relationship, if neither side respects it enough to fix it? Sure, everything must go. But like this? Without reason? Without a second (okay, ninth?) glance back?


10 thoughts on “Where nostalgia meets regret

  1. akshay

    I’m slightly amazed that I’ve been appreciating Steely Dan longer than you have. It’s not often that I can say my musical tastes have preceded yours — if the word preceded can even be applied here.

    As for your conundrum/blue funk with respect to your friend/’friend’, I have come up with this formula for deciding what to do. You need to remember –
    1. I’m awesome.
    2. Fuck I care.

    This is assuming there was no misdemeanour on your part. Works like a charm.

    Most of the time.

  2. “So much is lost when people stop talking”. Could I agree more? I don’t think so. Cause over the last five months, as insignificant as the detail might be here, I’ve truly understood what keeping quiet can cause. What perhaps hurts even more is when the first move is taken, things seem promising and the two people claim to have realized the maturity in curbing the silence, but the silence falls again. And then, it’s anger,disappointment, and regret on a platter full.
    But I guess, what makes us look back twice (or the 9th) time, is that some things are worth it, no matter how many times they crush and destroy our ego. Cause those things are the ones that actually help in sewing one back :)
    So, look back. If he doesn’t, you do. It’s obviously worth it if you’re writing about it :)

    P.S- THANK YOU and blessings on you Rev, for the amazing music mention. I’m in love with your man Steely Dan now. I’m going to stalk through each and every track ever made by him in history! Sigh. What music man. What music.

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