Music has always been an integral part of my family. We used to hear my parents singing old romantic songs in the many long car journeys that we took between Bombay and Madras and Madras and deep South. It was another matter that that was the only time they did not argue or shared any romantic moments!!
We used to have a radio where we would listen to music—classic and pop and the government radio station All India Radio (AIR) was the only one. We could also tune into Radio Ceylon and on Wednesday nights Binaca Geet Mala (toothpaste sponsored Top of the Charts program) used to broadcast Hindi film music. Then a channel dedicated to film music was launched by the AIR called Vividbharathi where regional music was also played.
The first spool tape recorder in our house was Grundig and my brother Arvind was the only one who could handle its idiosyncrasies. It was also dedicated to Carnatic classical music only. At that stage in our life, our ambition was to have a music system of our own.
When I got married, my maternal Uncle gave me cash to buy whatever I wanted and I bought myself a Philips multi layered music system. Within a year we moved away to Mauritius and this system was stored with my in laws. In Mauritius cassettes had come out and we indulge in buying boxes of TDK, Sony cassettes and the demand from relatives for more boxes made us stock our holiday luggage with it. I also had an Akai spool stereo tape recorder and boom boxes.
Over the years we would have bought many variations of these music systems to listen to music. CD players replaced cassettes altogether and I went through a few of those also. Their working condition was always dicey and finally I donated all the different versions that were gathering dust.
Today I listen to music on my laptop with additional speakers that my daughter got for me. Even there I had a few problems…I did not know how to play MP3’s until my son, the techie, came in and solved that one too. He is the one who believes in having surround systems with thunder, musical flourishes, eerie noises and gunfire and battle sounds coming from all over the room when we watch movies.
The fact is that my siblings and I are stuck in a time warp…we listen to the music of 50’s to 80’s. All that has come in after that is remembered and enjoyed piecemeal only. Any song of that period and we can dish out facts, notations, lyrics, singers, actors, composers and every other detail at the snap of a finger. I was amused that my brother who plays the guitar and used to earn extra money in the UK singing in clubs says that even he is stuck in the times of Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel with no familiarity with present music churners. I did get some exposure to U2 and Pet Shop Boys thanks to my son who played that music in those music systems when he was growing up.