A brief history of time…. a lifetime of Music

Let the music be your master, would you heed the master’s call ?

Music & Songs have been my anchor throughout my life. In each phase of my life or emotion, I’ve been able to dig deep into a song or an album to pull me through.

I couldn’t help but think about how music has influenced my outlook towards life and how people in my life have in turn influenced my music – creating a time-loop.

My earliest memory of music goes back to an 8-track player my parents had in their Dodge Monaco back in the early 80s in Edmonton. I remember 3 tapes – one of Abba, one of Ray Charles Jr’s songs and one of Tina Turner, listening to them on repeat whenever we drove across Canada and the US.

Coming back to India, I somehow could never pickup the hindi music that everyone listened to. There were many LPs at home of Rafi, Mukesh, Runa laila and others that my grandmother listed to, but it just wast not for me.

I used to yearn for the weekly/annual affair of watching Top of the Pops and the Grammy nomination shows. I still remember watching the 1988 show and getting introduced to Tracy Chapman, Jethro Tull , Bobby McFerrin, Robert Palmer (the video was something!).

Tracy Chapman, Bruce Springsteen & Sting came to India in the same year for a Human Rights concert which for a pre-teen-me was a doorway to another world.

My best friend’s (Anupam!) elder brother had a bunch of cassettes, LPs and audio CDs. Anupam recorded a mix-tape for me and introduced me to artists like April Wine, Def Leppard, Rush and Alice Cooper.

Like a Sponge, I kept picking up all the music that came my way.

My friends had different music tastes, and I loved tasting them all. I picked up heavy metal from Monish Pahwa who shared his bootlegs and introduced me to Megadeth, Anthrax and Iron Maiden. Gurveen S Kohli opened the doors for me to AC/DC with his Back in Black album that I listened to at his home. Vikram Gupta got me into Mr. Big, Joe Satriani and Judas Priest. I soaked in everything ! But my favorite in school (and even now) were Bon Jovi and Poison. T-shirts, posters, jeans-patches – I had it all.

My best friend and soulmate introduced me to Cliff Richard, Harry Belafonte and the Carpenters. Got to admit, I love Cliff’s songs which I can listen to any time of the day , any time of the year. She reminds me to this day that I picked up her music and that I’m not all Bon jovi…

I got to college carrying a bunch of my music with me. But college introduced me to a different world completely.

It was just 3-4 people. The majority (EVERYONE) still listened to Kishore Kumar.

Jaideep Kanungo. He had a major influence on expanding my music experiences. The Doors, Jethro Tull, The Kinks, Styx, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bad Company, Collective Soul, Van Halen, Dire Straits, Springsteen, Metallica – the list goes on . I still have many of his and Kenji’s cassettes (yikes!) with me. Thank you Jaideep for the experiences.

Chiraj Shah led me down the lovely path of Black Sabbath. Going over to his house to listen to these spooky lyrics and music was hypnotic. yes, that is where my alterego mSupernaut comes from.

Prasad Shetty gave me his CD of CCR. ‘Have you seen the rain’ is in my all time favorite now.

I remember taking day trips from Surat to Bombay just to go to Rhythm House in Kala Ghoda to discover more music. Didn’t have the money to spend on CDs/Cassettes – so just spent time looking at records and listening to the music playing in an air-conditioned store (it was 90s in India dammit). Now I make it a point to go to music stores in every city i have gone to – from San Juan Puerto Rico to Budapest to London to Munich to SFO to Kutna Hora.

My grandmother was a Michael Jackson fan too. I still remember how she wanted to go to his concert that happened back in 1996 in Mumbai. She passed away that year, but I remember watching the concert recording on TV with her.

As I started a job – the first thing I did with my first paycheck was to buy myself a Sony Discman and Metallica’s black album. When I was living in Puerto Rico back in 2000, I started to explore music again. 3 Doors Down did a concert in San Juan and I found new music in them, Matchbox Twenty, Third Eye Blind – and the wonderful alice’s wonder-hole called Napster. I don’t deny it. I dabbled !

Along the way I have picked up many of my now favorites – Kings of Leon, Imagine Dragons, Greta Van Fleet, Linkin Park, Tom Petty, Foo Fighters, REM, Soul Asylum, Billy Squier, Gordon Lightfoot, Radiohead, Incubus, Steely Dan, Motley Crue (and all hair bands!), Twenty One Pilots, Tupac, Frank Sinatra…..i could go on. This sponge is limitless.

Today, you might see me listening to George Ezra then bouncing off to Eminem and sometime meandering into Jagjit Singh before listening to Mohd. Rafi. With age, I enjoy every type of music. Even those that I scorned when I was young.

The fact is that I need my music all times of the day. It keeps me going. The lyrics push me, move me, inspire me, release me and above all – make so much sense to me all the time.

But, When the Music’s over, turn off the light……

Sharing some of my playlists that i listen to based on how I am feeling , for your fancy. I’m just paying it forward. The sponge has to squeeze sometime.

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