Tumbling down the rabbit hole

Because that’s how I feel, musically speaking. Like someone opened the doors to a slightly forgotten time, and as soon as I peeked in, something whisked me away. Before I knew it, I was tumbling down the rabbit hole. Down the rock classics rabbit hole, to be precise. It’s beginning to pour again. The monsoon has made a comeback, just as I was losing all hope. And of course right when we’re in the throes of it, the annual monsoon playlist has made a miraculous appearance in my life.

Every monsoon has one. One year it was Zero7, and Coke Studio the next. I think this year its going to be about some forgotten rock classics. Because there is something fitting about listening to heavy guitars and moody, lovesick words in the rain. Takes me back to Bangalore. To rainy evenings spent at Purple Haze. Nursing the couple of beers we could afford to buy, and feeling like time could stand still, and we’d still be okay, as long as the music played on.

Music. And rain. And nostalgia. Classic combination. And to think these musical moods just seem to fall into place for me, serendipitously. I was bored of everything on my computer. So I decided to listen to the first thing youtube showed me. And it happened to be this:

It’s no secret that I have an intense, absurdly heightened emotional connect with my music. I take it a little too seriously, but it’s the only way I know how to enjoy it. Without the associations, deeply entrenched memories, the instant throwback to a different time in my life, the sugar-sweet reminiscence, music wouldn’t be what it is. It would just be background music. And nobody takes that seriously. So when a track like this comes back to me, out of the blue, it is a bit like being sucker punched by nostalgia. And one can rarely recover quickly from a blow like that.

Maybe the classics never die because they go back to those same universal things about love and life that don’t seem to change no matter when you’re talking about them. Those lyrics with restless abandon, the urgency that only comes with reckless love, are all too familiar feelings that sort of never go away, no matter how long it has been since you felt that way. Or last listening to Fleetwood Mac.

The next day, Ranjan came back from Bangalore. And like it wasn’t bad enough he brought stories of house parties and uttered words like “Nandidurg Road”, he went on his own music trip. I could hear this track blaring from his earphones, next to me:

Once you’ve heard this, it’s hard not to put everything else on hold and fish out your entire Aerosmith collection, screw schedules, timelines, and all other plans to sit back and listen. To this and this big, bold video that has us all scandalised when we first watched it.

Then like some natural progression, I rolled into this alley, that I should probably never go down. Because it knots my stomach up. Every single time. And I cant tell if its a good kind of nostalgia or a painful kind. Its always a mixed bag.

These were the days of music tapes, and tape recorders and hitting rewind every time the song ended. No repeat, no shuffle. Stop, rewind, push play. And listen to the same track a hundred times. Or till the tape wears out. Whichever came first. In my case, I wore the tape out, only to discover limewire, and that felt like I had stepped into utopia, as far as free music was concerned.

Remember the days of nero? And burning cds? I belong to a time before all of that.

Before I could ruin myself completely given the path I was hurtling down, I decided to push the brakes. And stop. At this:

Because there’s nothing better to soothe a bruised and battered temporal lobe, than Rod Stewart. I never knew what to make of this guy. Lyrics that teeter on the verge of a saccharine-overload, enough to make any girl puke. But with that rusty, grungy, rough manly-man voice, that even though not really musical, made many a girl swoon. Then he pulls off a lime-green vest, tight blue jeans and that unruly mop of hair. There was something utterly sexy, yet asexual about him, if there were ever such a thing. Sexy enough to have up on a poster, maybe. But that was it. It ended there. He didn’t get the adulation that some of my other *ahem* music *ahem* idols did. Like Bon Jovi. Or Hetfield. Or anyone else from my time.

Right, so evidently I have fallen very, very deep. And the weather isn’t helping my state of mind. It’s rainy outside. The skies are grey, and its a glorious Saturday with no real plans. Fleetwood Mac fills my home and I’m wandering around in my pajamas. So excuse me, while I try and pull myself out of this trench of memories that I have ensconced myself in to, and sink into a whole lot of pending writing. And remind myself that one of the privileges of growing up, is that there will always be music to go back to. Music you loved a long time ago, but that has the power to comes back with just as much gusto, no matter how many years later. Music that can still make you feel all those same things it did, even back then.

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6 Replies to “Tumbling down the rabbit hole”

  1. When you hit rewind while the song was still playing it would sometimes stop right at the beginning of that song. I miss cassettes so much. I used to sit in front of the stereo for hours as the in house DJ.

    1. My love for cassettes really blossomed when i discovered a two-in-one player and realised i could make my own mixed tapes. Thats it. There was no looking back. I mixed taped everything, custom cassette covers and all (complete with little doodles and stuff!).

        1. Oh yeah aux cables were such a boon. Id do the same from the radio. Had a permanent empty tape in the deck and an aux cable always connected. Haha its funny how i never thought of that as piracy though!

          1. It’s not piracy. Record companies today have made it this way. I would’ve gone out an bought a band’s music if I really liked it anyway. They’ve lost their minds.

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