The noise of music

When I was in my school till class 10, singing any Hindi song was blasphemy. Within the little world we had, we were convinced that every form of Hindi music outside was out there to corrupt our minds, and therefore not listening to them was the best way of keeping the outside influence out. You know, no garbage in and hence no garbage out. We had our own set of songs to sing: Rabindrasangeet, Bhakti-geeti, Ramprasadi, Nazrul-geeti, etc. I believe that we learned a great deal from these songs at that time -- my love for these genres of songs and music stems from the time I spent there reading, singing and assimilating them. However, whenever I went home and listened to good Hindi music I secretly liked it, although I never admitted that. You gotta practice what you preach, y'know.

After leaving this school, I started listening to Hindi music. This was part rebellion, and part realization that among the many good things taught there, some crap came through as well. So I started humming the tunes of "Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai", started talking about Hemanta Mukherjee and Mohammad Rafi, and discussed melodies from the latest movies with friends. The transition to actually and whole-heartedly accepting this sort of music took time; it happened only when I reached college. We danced to "Chhaiyya - Chhaiyya" and excitedly looked forward to new releases from the music industry. This took time, but I gradually came to know that Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle were sisters, and that the latter was married to R. D. Burman. I came to know that all three brothers among the Ganguly-s were big names in the industry, and that Ashok Kumar was also young once upon a time and he indeed starred as a romantic hero in some movies :P

Things were different when it came to English songs, though. So some of my "intellectual rebel" seniors swore by Pink Floyd. Not meaning to be left out, I listened to their music a few times and decided that if I wanted someone to read out meaningless passages to me in a sleepy voice, I'd rather do it myself (I swear I didn't know that it was a "they" and not a "he" for the longest time). Opera music seemed like someone was strangling a cat real bad, while rock music was like some people were asked to clean a lot of dirty vessels and screamed their lungs out complaining about it while they were at it. I admit, it was absolute torture for me to listen to most of these songs. People who swung their heads from side to side and swore by this music featured on my list of the mentally deranged.

But I admit, English music has grown on me. I can appreciate Bruce Springsteen and U2, and tap my feet to the jingle of hip-hop. I don't know many of the voices or bands which play on the car radio, but yeah, some sound good. I have stopped judging people when they sing along these tunes, and I have discovered the subtleties of the lyrics as they come along. One of the other reasons might be that I have rare access to the Hindi songs, but I strongly believe that the reason has been more than that. I think I like some forms of English music now, and maybe I will like some more in the future. But I am glad that it has happened that way. Music, like books, is one of those things where you cannot have enough -- the more you have, the finer your senses become.

Updated the name of the post to noise of music instead of the sound


  1. Jaisa Des, Waisa Bhes, err, waisa music.

  2. err dude, whats English music? Perhaps I am being anal but you mean Western music? Rather Western Rock? Some of the newest Bangla rock bands are awesome and to me what they sing is as unknown as say Japanese rock music. Nice to hear about your musical evolution :P

  3. lol at the description of floyd!!

    you should try latin american music... it's a lot of fun. and the women are HOT! :)

  4. music does grow on you. I've gone through this realization process of just vehemently refusing to listen to actually liking some genres. The only genre I dislike or cannot identify with is probably metal. It doesn't sound like music to me, and also the attitudes of anti-Christianity etc unidentifiable.

  5. Its funny that when I lived in India I listened to English music - maybe I just wanted to be 'cool'. Now that I'm away from home all I want to listen to is Bengali and Hindi music.

  6. Guess, you haven't heard enough of Hindi music! Some English rock(like Metallica) can't be heard on iPod cos of its intensity.

    Listening to music is much easier than reading a book, IMHO.

  7. Music is's the language of the soul, whatever language the lyrics might be.

    Sky :)

  8. yep i totally agree with u here bro. Even I found english songs that I listened too rebellious at first but then realised I was listening to the wrong kind of music. I do listen to english songs now but I am choosy. Only the ones that sound good to my ear make it through. Same goes for new hindi songs. Old hindi songs ki baat kuch aur hai :) They are gems.

  9. "When I was in my school till class 10, singing any Hindi song was blasphemy." Why? Though I feel the same about current Hindi film music. They have touched the nadir with Reshamiya and gang.

  10. Mampi, jee haan, lekin idhar nahi bhi aata to bhi shayad ye gaane achhe lagte. :)

    Priyank, yeah there has been a huge musical evolution :) But I was referring to Western music in general, of which 95% that I hear is English.

    Galadriel, :) About the second part of the comment: let me call you this weekend and clarify that :P

    Gradwolf, very true... it needs to grow on you. About different genres of music, I admit, some still sound crap to me.

    Mala, oh yes that definitely is at work a lot of the time: Hindi or Bengali music comes as a breath of fresh air when you have been listening to the jazz for too long.

    Manasa, yes, but you can enjoy both in their own ways.

    Sky, wah wah! Quote of the day! :P

    Birdy, long time no see, dude! And yes, you've gotta be selective about any kind of song you listen to. Or else you end up listening to "pnaw pnaw pnaw" ... :)

  11. As a Floydian convert - I would really like to suggest Coming back to life, wish you were here and Time - to redeem their lyrics atleast. :)

    Do attempt another shot - once more with feeling! :D

  12. Comprehensive. You leave very little ends lose in whatever you write.

    Congrats on your transition, albeit thinking people who listened to Western music deranged was, as you admitted --and corrected-- a bad idea.

    And perhaps Priyank is right. Perhaps Western Music would be the more politically correct term.

  13. I think it has to do with our nation's colonial history. We were made to believe that anything else than English was something to look down upon. I remember, being told that if you cannot read,write or speak in English then your education is not progressive.

  14. Western is yet to grow on me....I'd like to learn Rabindra Sangeet some time though!

  15. Ellie, okay ma'am, will listen to them again. And this time, I shall believe :)

    Arunava, thank you :) And yes, every transition is a journey. There is just the lower truth and the higher truth: but the truth nevertheless.

    Pallavi, that is completely different from what I underwent. But I agree -- there has been a huge colonial hangover under which we are still reeling.

    Arethusa, sure! And with your voice, I am sure you will sing well. :)

  16. i could never learn to like hindi film music.... sometimes a song would start off really awesomely, with really good beats and fusion and all of a sudden i would hear this whiny, strung out note that made me shut off the music right then.

    sigh. thats why U2 has never let me down!

  17. Grafxgurl, hey, long time no see! Yeah some songs do tend to throw you off balance. For some reason, fusion music isn't always as soothing as it seems. U2, eh? :)

  18. Very Interesting Sudipta....What i have experienced is that, We will automatically start liking genres (music) which we try to listen often.. Some type of music takes long time to get 'into' us, some does quickly, I agree there are 'favorites', and also agree that the brain says 'One is better than the other' differently in different people.

    Great to see your musical evolution.. Keep writing !!

  19. Rajesh, Your comment just happened to be one of those ones which slipped through the cracks. Sorry about not responding for so long - and welcome onboard.

    And thanks, of course, for the thoughtful comment. Likes and dislikes for certain people do matter, and this of course is my own chronicle.


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