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2. The Changing of Seasons- Vasanta

May 22nd, 2017

इति यथाक्रममाविरभुन्मधुर्द्रुमवतीमवतीर्य वनस्थलीम्

Thus did the spring manifest itself by descending on the thickly wooded woodlands

Raghuvaṃśa,  Kālidāsa

Over the throes of morning bedlam and raucous commotions, the shrill grating of a ringtone from an old phone made itself heard.

“Nisha… Nisha… Nisha…”

“What’s that?” asked Ram, blinking up from his spread of morning papers, Quora on the phone and hot-gone-cold oatmeal.

“What?” I asked, tweeting furiously. I was armchair outraging on someone’s behalf.

“That. Do you hear it?” he replied, and bumped my foot under the dining table to make sure I caught it at the right time. “There, again.”

“Nisha… Nisha… Nisha…”

My mood shifted, and I stifled a giggle. It was Ram’s first encounter with this. I forgave him for distracting me from the national crisis I was helping resolve.

“That’s the ringtone on her phone,” I said, glancing at her over the kitchen counter.

Mohasumi, oblivious to everything but the dishes in the kitchen sink, cocked her head at that moment.

“Yes, your phone’s ringing,” I called out, confirming her suspicions.

She wiped her hands hurriedly on her dupatta, and picked it up from atop the counter.  Hunching over in a self-conscious way, she turned the other side while she snapped open the conversation with a, “Hello!? Kē?”

I was hooked to the groovy beat right from the first time her phone had rung in my presence. I had to google it to seek just what it was that I found myself humming everywhere.

Asha Bhosle croons to R.D. Burman and his disco bling genius in this song; incidentally, this 1982 movie won him his first Filmfare award for best music. And onscreen, a bevy of chorus girls venerate their badass lead girl as she rides a motorcycle onto a revolving stage, outmanoeuvring the rock-n-roll singer who then begins to tolerate her move for move, albeit with clenched teeth.

Presently, there was a lull in the house, the transitory phase between two events, where I was feeling too lethargic to embark on the second one. Ram had left for work by this time, and I was loath to open my computer and begin for the day.

On a whim, I opened the YouTube video of the song, and called Mohasumi over, diverting a fine working lady from her duties. On my phone, a somewhat peeved miniature Kamal Hassan, a very young one at that, was dancing to Reena Roy’s spunky tune, snarly smirk and all.

Much to my delight, Mohasumi’s transformed face was a sight to see.

“Kamal Hassan!”

“Yes, this is your ring tone.”

She had not heard my redundant comment. Eyes shiny with admiration, she watched rapt with attention.

“Kamal Hassan is my favourite,” she said, when the song had ended.  “Him and Jackie Shroff. Have you watched Teri Meherbaniyan?”

This was a new one for me; not the question itself, but the fact that the question was even asked. So, we were into the cinema milestone phase, were we? A pretty fast progress, I must say, for she had graduated to launching conversations with me by herself only the previous week. A handful of arbitrary proclamations now and then:

“Didi, we need a new broomstick.”

“Jilpi needs a bath. She is smelly.”

“The plants are faring well, Didi. Looks like you have been ignoring them nicely.”

The last statement has not been voiced yet. But I have come to recognize that knowing look on her face now; the look that would soon be transformed to words. And I am still familiarizing myself with getting over the conditioned surprise.

Teri Meherbaniyan?” I asked, presently. “Umm, no I haven’t. What’s it about?”

“There is a dog in the movie. He is the hero. He kills everyone for revenge.”

“Oh!”

“Yes, you can find the video there,” she pointed to my phone.

I obliged. It was also a film from the 80s, I discovered. Moti, a black Labrador, indeed goes on a vengeance spree, bringing death to all the men who were the reason for the murder of his master and his girlfriend.

The list of videos in the search list were one more entertaining than the next. One thing led to another, and I found myself showing her bits and pieces of song videos from only the 80s here and there, not once exceeding to the next decade. Seemingly from her favourite playlists, I could tout R.D. Burman and Laxmikant-Pyarelal as her preferences. She did not know them, for she had neither reason nor time to review the music virtuosi behind these songs. She knew only the onscreen demigods, the ones who gave her those shining eyes.

“I like only these movies and songs,” she revealed. “I don’t like what comes out these days.”

Wow, here was a vintage lover. There was nothing beyond the 90s mark in her playlist, as I could see. An A.R. Rahman or a Vishal-Shekhar born in her music universe, would never go on to become what they are in ours.

I was curious and secretly thrilled about this odd choice of a time frame. I wanted to know more. So, I searched for and found what I wanted to show her, and learn if it was her favourite too. It was my jam for all the gloomy sentiments in my life, from Guide, 1965.

“So, you must have heard this too?” I asked.

Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai, cooed Lata Mangeshkar as Waheeda Rahman cavorted around with the sprightliness of a mountain goat. Aaj phir marne ka iradha hai.

I glanced at her for a sign of a shared sisterhood of emotional song choices. After a few minutes, she turned around with a wrinkled nose. Her sheepish smile was less embarrassed and more amused.

“Didee…” said Mohasumi, stretching the ‘second di’ in a melodious lilt. I would later distinguish and add to my repository, this method of her calling me, as a prelude to broadcasting any bad news. Bad, for me.

“…your taste is so old.”

To be continued…

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 23rd, 2017 3:17 pm

    Made me chuckle at the end and left a sinking thought ‘we are old’.. not old like the grandmas we have but older than a lot of people we meet and interact with. Old enough to say ‘in our times’…
    good read and nicely captured day

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