I am not sure how many know this, but the first full song that Kishore Kumar sang for his mentor S.D. Burman was recorded not in Bombay but in Madras, where I live. The song, featuring in a film called Bahaar, goes like this, "Kusoor aapka, huzoor aapka, na mera naam lijiye na mere baap ka..."
Now how do I know this? I heard it from Kishore Kumar himself, just a few minutes ago. In Madras, Burman dada made the young Kishore share his room, where the novice singer discovered the composer's devotion and commitment to music. "Sing straight, and the public will like you," he would tell Kishore: the same principle, in my opinion, applies to writing as well.
This entire afternoon, after a long, long time, I spent in the company of Kishore Kumar, courtesy You Tube. God bless those dedicated fans who painstakingly upload rare videos and make the lives of people like me worth living. If only I could meet them: I would hug them or maybe even touch their feet. What is life -- my life, that is -- without Kishore Kumar.
I have lost count of the number of videos I must have watched since this afternoon, so much so that my eyes hurt now. But my ears: they are still craving for one last song, just like you crave for one last drink even though you are too drunk to walk straight. There was a time, from 1996 to 2002, when I religiously wrote an annual piece on Kishore Kumar on his death anniversary for the papers I worked for. The papers would have, and give, ample space for my fanaticism regarding Kishore Kumar.
But now, in the age of file-sharing and You Tube, I find it quite pointless to waste words singing praises of someone when you can just send across a song or a link in order to convince people what a great singer Kishore Kumar was, I mean, is. Open You Tube and search for 'Kishore Kumar + live' and you'll know what I mean.
By the way, I made another discovery this afternoon. That I do not possess the Kishore Kumar song, Zindagi ka safar, hai yeh kaisa safar. It must be there in some dusty cassette, but I do not have the song either on my laptop or any of the CDs. What idli is to a Tamilian and paratha is to a Punjabi, Zindagi ka safar is to a Kishore devotee. But somehow, in my quest for rare songs, I seem to have ignored the staple songs. But do I really need them? They run in my veins.