Summer cleaning and Indie rush

It’s beyond balmy. It’s blistering. And as if I haven’t said it enough already, I’m going to say it once more: it is ridiculously sultry this year. In Goa, the temperatures refuse to come down from the perpetual mid-thirties, humidity is through the roof, and something about the sun beating down harshly is doing strange things. Food refuses to digest. Hunger has turned into this constant thirst for cold things. Cool things turn warm at the speed of light. The fans are on all the time, but all that seems to be going around is muggy, hot air. And it is officially getting uncomfortable and pretty miserable.

I had a day out at the beach planned for myself. But given how I’m sweating my patootie off, sitting right here under the fan, staying indoors in as little clothing as possible seemed like the wiser thing to do. It’s only April, and I’m already longing for the rains. Clearly, the summer has put me in a weird headspace.

So I stayed in, a little peeved at having to change my plans. But one look around me and I knew that this was the universe conspiring to make me stay home and do something I have ignored for close to three weeks now.

Clean up.

Between the crazy schedules, mood swings, general funk that I’ve been in, and the trip to Bangalore, I haven’t had the slightest inclination to do the usual chores. My routine. (See? I told you I haven’t been myself lately.) And the poor home has borne the brunt of it all. It really was beginning to look like the neglected, unkempt child. The one who you adore, but look at every morning and wish someone would just give a thorough scrub, pat dry and comb nice and neatly. There was no more procrastinating about it. So I turned on my Indie playlist and decided to give my home some much needed TLC.

I mopped, I dusted, I laundered, I scrubbed, I folded and I put-away. And then I did it all over again, while all along, these obscure, but epic dudes and dudettes kept me company. I don’t know if its the slightly rebellious streak, or just the hungry-for-new-music streak in me, but in the recent past I have dived deep into the Indie scene. It all started with the usual couple of one-off tracks we’ve all heard at some point. Like this one:

And this one:

But the deeper I went, I realised that there is so much more to Indie than obscure, attention-getting band names, intense brooding lyrics and OTT, seeming-esoteric videos. I hadn’t ever given it a fair chance. After all how can you trust a band that is called The Lotus Eaters. Or Garbage. Or Oh no! Oh my! Like really? But here’s what I have stumbled on. And this is what kept me company all morning long, while I set the home back in order.

A while ago I discovered this band thanks to Anand. His very detailed post on the band with such an interesting name is worth a read. I quickly downloaded a couple of their albums, but this track remains my all time favourite.

Speaking of favourite, this is another one. And it goes back to final year in college. When Kunal introduced me to this track, and I instantly had it on loop, to get through mid-term exam fever. I hadn’t heard of The Postal Service until then, and I must admit I haven’t scoped them any further. Mostly because when I hear this track, it begins and ends there. It is just that satisfying in a haunting, calming sort of way.

And of course you cannot talk about anything-Indie, unless you have this chica in your playlist.

She has this dreamy way of lazily gliding over the simple, yet intriguing lyrics, that makes me want to do nothing but sit in a balcony, by a typewriter and type away. Ingrid Michaelson transports me to a a complete Boho state of mind, where I imagine myself living the life of the quintessential struggling, undiscovered artist. It just evokes that kind of a state of mind, pulls you in and doesn’t let you leave.

More recently, while surfing channels in a lonely hotel room when I last visited Hyderabad, I spotted these guys, who funnily I’ve had downloaded for a while, but hadn’t bothered to really listen to. They’re fun, in a kind of unstoppable way. This is the kind of track that makes you sing along with such ease, you’d think you could very well be the next Indie artist on the block.

You cannot survey the Indie landscape unless you have parked yourself with a good pile of this band. And I mean really parked. Because that’s what Zero7 did to me when I first heard them. I just couldn’t move. And I was stuck on them for close to two months. They’re versatile, rich, different, catchy, melancholic, everything — all at once. And this is what got me through the last two monsoons in Goa. I have a rain playlist, and it is largely filled with Zero7. So yes, very Indie, very interesting, very catchy.

When all the soaping and scrubbing was done, I heaved a sigh of relief, in a way that can only be understood by another home-maker equally obsessed with fixing things and putting everything back where it belongs. There is something cathartic about restoring order. Maybe that’s just the micro-managing, control freak in me talking, but few things can match the joy of seeing an empty laundry hamper, a spotless counter top, an empty cleaned out fridge, a dust-free sideboard, and shoes neatly lined up. Call me crazy, but when I was all finished up, I felt good. But that could also have been the fact that this track came on, right on cue:

And that in itself was a sign that maybe things are spiraling back on to track, the way they used to be. The way they ought to be.


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