One Quiet Night

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I distinctly remember the first time I was introduced to Tool. In no time, Justin Chancellor, for me, became a level I aspired to reach. Nearing 26, I can claim it remains a distant dream for me today. Yet, if I go back to The Pot, the same thought occurs my mind to this day. However, by no means is Chancellor my favourite bass player. Those are two very different things. I guess I extend my militancy of detail to music as well. Bite me.

If you're a hoarder by nature, then, like me (I assume, of course) you ought to find yourself in a sea of memories. Triggered by places, spaces, events, art and media, these memories are deeply moving and more often than not, striking. Music, then, scores amongst top rated trigger for reaching out to the time that elapsed.

Eloquently put, I go back to my music from time to time to be occasionally greeted by fucking memories that I have archived for a time when I can take them down, one on one. It's hit home now, some two-three years later, I have not downloaded any music in the recent past, nor have I bought any album. Nothing at all. My listening time has gone down significantly. I don't list "music" anywhere near my pursuits, vices, interests or even conversation starter. I avoid it, like the plague that it's become for me. I don't have time to pander, especially so for issues unresolved, pertaining to music.

This rolls out like a tacky, no brainer Bombay cinema script. A person obsessed with something gives up on their biggest vice and returns to reminisce about it years later. What was that, Milkha Singh? Rock on Rockstar? Some Farhan Akhtar film somewhere. I can't put my finger (all that he's done is this script rehashed into different roles- marathon runner, vocalist, journalist?).

Anyway, so yeah. I don't go back to my music whatsoever now. On days when I am terribly bored, I find myself googling the same set of names feverishly. It starts with checking on my disgruntled pursuits in the form of mortal beings (aka jaded loves of my life) to get an update on where they're at (nowhere. I don't even know if they're alive or dead). I avoid the music that we once enjoyed listening to, together, and carefully step out of that Minesweep of a memory by skipping all of that album (which I'll be damned if I list here). I don't remember the last time I heard that common favourite album and I hope to all things controlling this universe, it's not shoved in my face anytime soon.

I've made up with stunning 46 minutes of Kind of Blue and now make it a point to listen to it once every three months. I can't do that album in any frequency shorter than that. It took a lot of willpower to return to it. That one happens to be a stunning masterpiece and one of my all time favourite albums. In fact, Kind of Blue is like medication. It's a hug packed in musical notations, a ray of sunshine on a cold, windy day which can suck the happiness out of you. Kind of Blue is the cure to most blues in my life (besides the ones it may have started in the first place). I consume it, much as I would consume a rare Japanese whisky. Reserved for very special days, sad days and not all that which goes in between.

I had recently gone out to watch a film and the trailer run before the film that I'd paid for, played Come Together's cover. It instantly trickled me down in time to the point I'd played this with a bunch of people I love to death- most of whom are placed in different parts of the world at the moment. One of the happiest memories I go back to is playing Come Together on stage in 2011. Each time I listen to that, the bass line takes me back to having the time of my life rehearsing that one with some of my closest friends.

I move to the next number, Billie Holiday crooning one of my favourite lyrical standard, All of Me (can't you see, I'm no good without you- sigh). I listen to it, with clenched teeth and tight fist and imagine kickboxing the fuck out of a few. Mia Khalifa has observed that I'm releasing my aggression on the road traffic than at the right things. I have made a note of that. Take my arms, I want to lose them indeed (on your face, most likely).

There's more, I've withheld. Some pop crap (a Train number is all I'm willing to publically admit), two by The Black Keys. There are artists like Edith Piaf, Monk, Manu Chao, Wayne Shorter, Monique Kessous...the list is long and the time, it's always short. A lot I'm holding close to my chest, a lot of stuff I'm not willing to look back at whatsoever. For the most part, it reminds me of my tryst with trying hard to be someone. Funnily enough, on paper, I'm that person today. The person I was trying to build myself into, is one with the idea. It's her who is writing this. However, the essence is all lost. All that I believed it would be, it's nothing like it. It's a lot of faffing, faking it till you yourself believe you're making it. It took a toll somewhere. Every time I go back to my playlist, it reminds me of my struggle to be who I am, a publishing professional, a hobbyist writer, 20 something fending for myself, an academic in work (!).

Despite all these identities, it's still no good, if you can't go back to who you were. If you're still reading, you'd probably wonder how any of those (aforementioned) identities affect my listening capability to say, Justin Timberlake?

It doesn't. None of them does.
But, in process of coming close to carving those identities, the person who encountered this music no longer wishes to revisit that site anymore. Maybe, it's the brushes I had in the last couple of years and maybe, it's the mistakes I made in terms of carving myself out- the fact is, I no longer identify myself as the person who once loved this playlist to death. From it being one of the most prized possession that I had built, it's now become like an outfit, I revisit to stare at from time to time and shut my closet. I still love it, but I can't go back to it.

Why I use this outfit analogy is quite a reason in itself. I'm in possession of a closet full of things which can serve as a closet to seven people (wearing Size 14) at the very minimum. However, I go back to the same key outfits every day because I fear, I'll tamper with my favourite pieces each time I wear them. I worry that they'll be stained so bad that I won't be able to publically carry them out ever again. In the fear of something bad about to be going down, I never take them out. Instead, I hang them in my closet and admire them from far and distant sight of the roads of Delhi and elsewhere. I think the case is same with my music. I no longer listen to it in fear of making new memories and leaving the ones in the past behind. I don't want to associate my music with new people, with friends I met along the way, with newer (and might I add improved) gentlemen who look far better than my type of 3.4/10 from circa 2012. I don't want to tamper with all that what's been packed in the laptop. Listening to them again would mean going to A) revisit the previous site, and B) making new ones. I don't think I'm ready to give it all up as of now.

I have seen this particular tendency in a lot of people, coming out in different ways. One of my friends takes it out in way of not dating anyone. She won't ever go on a traditional "date" or indulge in the idea of a "dates" leading to "relationships". It didn't work out with someone she was into the first time and ended bad for her. Since then, she holds that part of her life so tightly that she doesn't allow anyone to permeate. Similarly, another friend has boundary issues. He won't allow anyone- friend, family to come close to them. He is emotionally cripped to deal with proximity and cannot express himself. It takes a toll when you're having a bad day and you're unable to tell anyone because you're holding the occasions tight when you did and the person went away (in his case, the demise of his father and another friend who moved away). It's all in our heads, our distances and holding them ever so tightly. I know this from my two friends because I've been able to identify mine- it's latent in the form of music and I've tried my best to let it go. To listen to stuff without letting a cloud of emotions huddle and pour outwards.

However, I'm trying. Still at it.

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