Friday, January 04, 2013

Random Thoughts

This evening, spent considerable time at Music World on Park Street. Bought a number of CDs, almost all of them -- predictably -- compilations of Kishore Kumar and R.D. Burman. The real treasure among them being a new release called Parampara, a set of two CDs that feature  songs of the Burmans that have been inspired by traditional Bengali music. Was surprised to learn that Jaane woh kaise log thhe jinke (Pyaasa) was influenced by the national anthem, Jana Gana Mana (play the two tunes in your head and you will see the similarities). What fun!

At Music World, Hindi songs by Abhijeet were playing in the background. Perhaps he has released a new album, or maybe a new movie in which he has sung all the songs. Listening to his voice, memories went back to 1977 or 1978, when I, as a child, had watched Abhijeet sing live in Kanpur during Durga Puja. At the time, he was the lead singer of an orchestra group run by a local legend called Prashant Chatterjee.

Prashant Chatterjee -- Proshanto for Bengalis -- lives on The Mall: his house sits right where the Murray Company bridge begins. Those who are familiar with Kanpur will know. I hope he continues to live there (I did notice the familiar signboard, 'P. Chatterjee', until a year ago); I also hope he is still alive. These days you never know, considering that 2012 has particularly been a year of goodbyes: even A.K. Hangal, who had one foot in the grave for many years now, chose to breathe his last in 2012. Basically, the generation that nourished us and played the cushion against realities of life is in the process of taking the final bow. It's our turn now to take over.

I turned 42 about ten days ago -- my first ever birthday in Calcutta -- but somehow I don't feel that old. When my father was 42, he seemed old to me because I was already 16 by then. He had shaved off his moustache at the first sign of greying in order to look young, and he remains clean-shaven ever since then. Whereas I happily wear the grey on my chin, because I believe that you can't shave off the years by merely shaving off facial hair. Age lies in attitude, not in appearance. You can't beguile people into believing that you are still young, the idea is to make them realise that you are still young despite the grey on the chin.