Music — singles.

Somewhere around late 2008 or early 2009, a certain teenager went from shop to shop around Koti, bunking college, trying to find the latest Rahman album. For some reason the music wasn’t out at any of the leading outlets and all those visits turned sour. The disappointment just piled on after every unsuccessful visit. This article is about why those disappointment matters and how I, influenced by these small things fell in love with music in general and Rahman in particular .

The whole process of finding the shop, purchasing the overpriced CDs (around INR 140 -160), the small savings for the same or requesting (more like begging) parents for that extra money to pay for it and when they disobliged, sometimes you stole from them and bought that piece of magic, that ticket to a never seen before dizzy heights or that I have heard it where? trip down memory lane… but before I could do all that there was a small exercise of ripping the cd in the windows media player and then adding artist and titles to give name to the “Unnamed Artist”, “Unnamed Album” et al.

I was invested in the music before I could listen to the song (you could argue I should’ve just listened to the song first before doing all this, but this makes for a better narrative, also there was a certain vanity involved in being that person who gave music to others, a part of me still does that and takes pride in it… I digress). I wanted to like the music not just because I was a rahman fan in a family of ilayaraja fans but also because I wanted to get my money's worth, like any normal kid brought up on middle class values which eventually trickled down to getting more than what you paid for. I was invested emotionally and financially, gave it a listen and if I didn’t like it the first time I did not give up but heard it again and one more time while I was riding the bike or sitting in a bus... and then he casts a spell, you listen to a sound or a new beat which you missed the first time, (Rahman does this every single time). Now you want to listen to it again to see what the sound was all about. You’ve given it a good listen and you develop either a liking for the music and start appreciating further or if it is bad you just leave it there knowing very well you tried listening to it.

Then came songs.pk, 123musiq et al, where you just downloaded and listened to it because it was available and you just listened to it because it was there, it went against the 'one should earn things the hard way' belief (Dear Zindagi line, check) I was brought up on. The song had to be extremely good, so good that if a notification popped up it should make me want to ignore such pop-ups and continue listening. Not every song is going to match those ridiculous standards, few songs really do grow on you. I needed to give them songs that space to grow which was realised quite late. It took a saavn radio and playlist to find those gems...

I am loving this whole giving bits of songs at ungodly hours and the whole pre teaser to the song and release of the eventual song after all the hullabaloo. Rahman has taken it a notch above with the latest to be released - the wedding song. They’ve built it up by reminding us of alaipayuthey and the Guru wedding song.

Now you’re invested again, you have stayed up all night wanting to listen to that song, perhaps one will listen to it on loop a bit because you’ve stayed up late and you can’t sleep immediately. .

It comes down to what was precious then? Money, you wanted your money’s worth, now it is time, you want your time’s worth. Now, Music is available, money isn’t an issue, the only thing stopping you from that beautiful few mins of utter bliss are your stupid notifications, deactivate them, wait for your musician to weave his spell, give him the opportunity to be heard.