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Musical memories

by Vineesh Vedsen

I have been very lucky to be born in a home where the wealth of music taste was all for me to grab. When kids were busy with Baba Black sheep and Jack and Jill, besides these, I also enjoyed Saigal, Pankaj Mullick and Talat Mahmood.

While the others heard traditional lullabies to sleep, I slept to the tune of Tere Mandir Ka Hoon Deepak Jal Raha. We had all the good music from the golden era…Barsaat, Awara, Aag, Bandini, Sujata, Madhumati, and many more. We heard these songs regularly. We also had a good stock of classical music, private ghazals, instrumental music and other musical genres.

Even when I didn’t know the name of the singer, I knew the songs Hawa Mein Udta Jaye and Jiya Beqarar Hai Chhai Bahaar Hai. They felt so nice and melodious. I was too young to understand the word melody then, but just it felt so good to the ears that it was an awesome experience.

I would sing Yeh Kaun Aaya Roshan Ho Gayi Mehfil with my mother and also enjoy Dheere Dheere Machal Aye Dile-Beqarar. Only later when I could read, I realized this singer was Lata Mangeshkar and most of the records carried this name alongside the songs.

Aaradhana was a great hit those days. While Sapnon Ki Rani was an absolute favorite by Kishore, the Kishore-Lata duet Kora Kagaz Tha Yeh Man Mera was very, very dear to me. Then there was this Chanda Hai Tu Mera Suraj Hai Tu, which was a great favorite that my mother often sang to me. But I will come back to the song a little later, since the real impact it created was felt only after some decades.

I can’t put my finger on the exact year, but it must be 1968 too or sometime in 1969. Sunday morning we used to be out- I and my parents; I was the first born. Those were the days of Jewel Thief and Saraswati Chandra among others. When I hear songs such as Aasman ke Neeche and Chhod De Saari Duniya, I can actually picture Kankaria Lake in Ahmedabad- the point around which we used to roam about. Chhod De Sari Duniya was a sad song, but it went so well with me on those Sunday morning.

Another key memory of 1969 is when I was just in nursery. My grandparents would take me to Balvatika in Ahmedabad. They had a radio playing some songs in very low volume. There I first heard Allah Tero Naam from Hum Dono. It felt so mild and soft on senses. Even as a 3 year old I could appreciate that. Only later I was told that this has been one of the best prayers ever made in Hindi films. But my love for the song was long since established and it was not going to wane.

Hum Dono had another prayer song by Lata- Prabhu Tero Naam Jo Dhyaye Phal Paaye that is another big favorite of mine. I first heard it sometime in second half of 1969, I am very sure of that since I had started going to school by then- my first school Reubs Primary School, which has played a big role in what I am now. I remember my grandparents would pick me from school to take me home. By then it would be a little dusky and the soft prayer song would work wonders on my mind.

I picked up the radio habit very early. My parents would listen to Taameel-e-Irshaad on Urdu Radio services from 10.30-11.30 PM. At this time I was too small to say what was good and what was bad. But for all the songs that I heard and liked, a lot belonged to just one person called Lata Mangeshkar. She was either singing alone or in company of other singers like Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Talat Mahmood, Mukesh or Manna Dey.

Those were the days of Amar Prem and Kati Patang songs. Amar Prem meant Raina Beeti Jaaye and Bada Natkhat Hai Yeh and Kati Patang meant Na Koi Umang Hai. These were all over the radio and public places.

It was on one of my trips to my hometown in Bihar that I first heard Ghar Aaja Ghar Aaye Badra Sanwariya and Jeevan Ke Safar Mein Raahi (the slow version). Even then I could realize that such soft sad songs created a deep impact in my mind. I was just 6 years old.

At around the same time, I picked another Lata song- Sooni Re Sajariya from Uphaar. This song in a typical Hindi belt tune felt so good. To this day when this song plays, my mind goes to Madhuri Chowk in Samastipur. I visited that place again sometime in 2009 and remembered all those days and songs.

So many songs, so many memories. The sweetness seeping through my whole being when I heard Aisi Bhi Baatein Hoti Hain; my family doctor humming Preetam Meri Duniya Mein Do din to Rahe Hote; the dinner session with my mother and her brother discussing the song Haaye Re Woh Din Kyun Na Aaye; the love of this uncle of mine for Jaa Re Ja Re Ud Ja Re Panchhi; Mushkil Hai Bahut Mushkil bowling over my brother who is a hard core Rock music fan; Panchhi Banoo Udati Phiroo giving wings to my ambition to study well and move ahead in life!

Not only Lata’s solos, her duets with Talat Mahmood, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar are all just as wonderful. It is another world in itself.

I don’t think I could express how all the music and especially the Lata songs impacted my way up in life.

It is not only about the songs but how she has sung it. Whether happy or sad, she has been always right on top of the song. Her sad songs create that aura of sadness around you. There are a lot of other factors that go into the song making, but finally it is her voice that delivers the song and makes it great.

Here is a poignant memory.

April 15, 2000. It was a Saturday. I was in Singapore. The city had a huge Indian market called Little India and so much of Indian music played in that area. There I heard the Chanda Hai Tu Mera Suraj Hai Tu. Years ago, my mother used to sing this Aradhana- song for me in my childhood. I was listening to the song, and all of a sudden I broke down. I am not sure whether I remembered my childhood or my kids, but I cried buckets. I tried to control myself but no, the tears were not going to stop that day. I virtually had to use a towel to keep wiping my tears, but they would still keep trickling. It was a good 45 minutes before I could get a hold on myself. Even then my heart was heavy throughout the day.  I had not cried a tear when my father died a couple of years back. Not that I did not love my daddy. But as he passed away I suddenly felt a surge of responsibility in me and I shook myself out of my sorow. So what made me cry so much that day had a lot to do with my recollection of all the precious little family memories associated with Lata’s voice and music!

From the days of radio to audio cassettes to VHS to CDs, VCDs and DVDs to online music sites and groups, I have carried this love for Lata’s songs unabated! The years roll by… the love for music goes on!

About the author
Vineesh Vedsen

Vineesh Vedsen is an IT professional for more than a quarter of a century now. His core interests lies in music and cricket. He has had very early inductions to both cricket and music through the home that he grew up in. He is a very regular contributor to social media in his facebook page and various musical and cricket groups that he is connected to.