I was born to the sound of Indian music. Or so I imagine, my memories before the age of four tend to be scarce and scant. Also at that time Japanese audio technology had not yet invaded the globe. But I like to think I went to sleep as a baby to the sound of sitar and tablas. I also think those baby memories are not gone, just buried inside and ring a soundless, invisible bell. I left Pakistan at an early age (we “shifted” a lot) but later got reacquainted with the music in East africa. My parents played it often. I still have the one record: Indian film favourites. Bought in Holland of all places. Still play it from time to time. Preferably alone: western ears are not quite trained to the subtlety of one-twelth of tone of the sitar. Me? I do my best, and listening to Indian music transports me in time and space. (Beam me down Scotty!)
I know the songs in the record almost by heart, not the words, although the family lore says I spoke Urdu before French, I only remember a handful of Urdu words, though useful words: accha, thik hay…
The one song I like best in this record is Chhalia mera nam. Trickster is my name. And my profession is to play tricks on people. (Or so the backcover says). I googled the name a while ago, and much to my surprise a clip came out. Images. Of an old B&W movie. A face to the words. I should’ve known there was a movie. The cover did say “Indian film favourites”. 1960. Only a breeze away. Look at the clip. it’s only 3 mins something. Watch closely, especially if you don’t speak Hindi (is it Hindi? Help me out there). There is such fun, such joy. It is worth it!
In these troubled days, let me make mine a few words from the song (and if you listen closely you will pick them up):
My salutations to all, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians alike.
Till the next post, Peace be with you. (the following image (c) Time)