Layers of your personality, your character, your life experiences et al. Your music defines you

What is a mixtape?” I asked my 12-year-old niece. “It must be multi-coloured masking tape,” she replied. “Yes”, I agreed, “It is, in fact, a masking tape of multiple layers.”

Layers of your personality, your character, your life experiences et al. Your music defines you. But it’s sad that the tape that defined my teen years is actually an anomaly for the teens of 2017. I explained that a mixtape was like my pocket sized music diary. If put in a recorder, it is used to portray my life. It was like an arrangement of different songs according to your moods. It’s what we call a playlist now. That playlist didn’t come easy in the past. I used to collect money and buy an empty meltrack tape of 90 minutes, carefully jot down songs of the yore and present. I used to feel miserable if Sunil Bhaiya, the owner of the cassette shop of Sector 8 Panchkula didn’t have my choice of songs.

We never took music for granted. We earned our music. Our long drives were based on music. The drive used to end only when the cassette used to end. The best of Kishore Kumar, the evergreen Dev Anand, sadabahaar Mohd Rafi used to rule my two-in-one.

Isn’t it funny that tape recorders were known as two-in-ones? Just like the combination cassettes. The beautiful combination of Aashiqui and Dil.

Nadeem-Shravan on Side A and Anand-Milind on Side B. Out of eight songs, at least six were sung by Kumar Sanu and two by Udit Narayan. And they ruled the 90s. And personalised mixtapes ruled our minds and souls. When you made a dedicated playlist for your girlfriend, Kishore, Lata, Rafi, Asha, Mukesh, Manna Dey expressing your love on your behalf was as amazing as Sachin, Sourav, Dravid, Laxman batting on your behalf for your neighbourhood cricket match.

Life was fun and easy sans mobile phones. Blank calls had their own charm. The excitement of a blank call on a landline was more than that of a legit love call on a personal cell phone. I used to have all-nighter calls that used to last for over six hours with my tape recorder belting out chartbusters in the background. And I always believed that my music will tell you more about me than I ever will.

My first girlfriend introduced me to Bryan Adams and gifted me the album Best Of Me. On the other hand, my wife’s close friend gifted her Best Of Me. Ironically, we both connected over that album and started dating. That was 2001. Our 12th standard board exams were on. It was just before the chemistry exam that I expressed my love to her with Bryan Adams’ Inside Out playing in the background.

Behind every favourite song there’s an untold story. The more I increase the volume of my music, the more I hear the memories scream out loud. The memories and the pieces of you in every single song. That’s what my new film Meri Pyaari Bindu is all about. Sigh.

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