But somehow, for me, songs are able to bring back a whole stream of memories like a roll of celluloid running disjoint set of snapshots quickly past a projector lamp, while I watch on without the option of pausing and scrutinizing. It's interesting how I could almost smell the wet earth, hear the incessant pattering on the window panes, feel the moisture on the soles of my feet from the wet flip flops and see the sheets of rain descend from the slate gray skies while playing Shubha Mudgal's Aab ke Sawan.
Be it memories of a happy summer with the first of the many tuition classes sharing class room space with girls brought back by Musu musu hasi or the hitherto unknown fears and insecurities inspired by the prospect of going to a new place to spend the next four years of my life, the mind numbing sadness of leaving home, the unfamiliar stations passing me slowing and the slightly humid late July morning of New Delhi brought by Lucky Ali's signature tune from Kaante, songs are probably the easiest medium of summoning those secure pockets of memory hidden away safely.
Music, from time to time, helps us remember the different phases of our lives. Graduating from Bengali pop, folk music and bollywood to serious rock music, psychedelic, grunge; learning to differentiate between Reggae and Jazz (!); Moving to the occasional Gazal and finally realizing that there's no good or bad music, everything is a function of what you are going through at that moment.
Finally, there are those milestones in your life when you are introduced to songs which will stay with you all your life and may even go on your epitaph if you had a tombstone. Some of my earliest memories of music were those that emanated from a gramophone record player which probably the only gadget my otherwise technology-abhorring father owned. Hemanta Mukhopadhyay's Runner and Abak Prithibi are songs I can still recite by heart even if I don't get the tune right. Then came the time of the tape recorder, along came Alisha Chinai with her Made in India score with it the music video and Milind Soman's bronzed chisel physche. Hariharan and Leslie Louis also came with their Colonial cousins and Sa ni dha pa. What followed was a blurr of hindi film music with the likes of Tu hi re (Bombay), Ek pal ka jeena (KNPH), and Dil Chahta Hai (DCH)leaving their mark for good.
When I departed for Pilani, my father decided it was time for him to let me have a walkman, (which in his mind was the equivalent of his Gramophone player, I am sure). The walkman didn't last two full terms and by the June of 2003, I had shifted permanently to Winamp and the myriad mp3 files that burst out of iball woofers in the hostel. 2003 through 2006 turned out to be the three years when I got introduced to the most diverse music that I had been exposed to till then. There was Metallica and G'n'R on one hand, the was Nirvana and Pink Floyd on another and there were Linkin Park, U2, Creed and Pearl Jam as well. Then there was Indian Ocean, Mother Jane (a lesser known but very good band from Goa), Antaragni (The band is no more, though Raghu Dixit has struck out on his own), Rupam Islam and his Fossils (the only real Bengali rock band (snigger if you may)) and a plethora of other Indian bands.
By the time I left Pilani and went to Mathura, moved from Mathura to IIM Bangalore, I had ploughed through all of Pink Floyd concerts including their rare Live in Pompeii. I had also got introduced to Atif Aslam and Rabbi Shergill; IIM Bangalore was an instruction in Bob Marley and Jim Morrison and The Doors.
And I am still learning and still storing memories in songs and storing the songs in some safe place between folds. Enhancing music memory.