Writing about my three favorite songs is indeed a difficult task. No, not because I do not have favorite songs but because narrowing down to a figure of only THREE is a humongous task for me. Music runs in my blood. Well, maybe not literally. But my father is a singer-songwriter and composer of Bengali (my mother tongue) folk songs and has performed numerous times on the regional radio as well as television, though it was not his profession. My brother is a singer cum guitar player though he does not do it professionally and my sister is also a singer and has played drums from time to time. I am something of a singer myself and an avid listener of all kinds of music, from Bengali folk songs to Bollywood (in Hindi, our national language) film songs, from Indian classical music to English rock songs. This cauldron of various kinds of music defines me in a way, because I do represent the modern Indian culture, which at best can be defined as cosmopolitan and eclectic. Now, you might get an idea why choosing three songs as my favorite is indeed a difficult job. So, I am going to write about three songs which emotionally have the strongest connection to me, maybe not so much the songs themselves but because of the way they have become a part of my life. So, let’s get started.
Number 1: Call me prejudiced, but the no. 1 song in my life has to be one of my Dad’s composition. There are numerous but my favorite song is called the “Garoan Bhai” (Bengali for the cart driver). It is about the cart driver who drives around in a cart drawn by cows, burdened with all the goods that he has to deliver all around the village. Every day from morning till night, the cart driver goes to different places, sees different people, but always with the knowledge that he is carrying this burden with him, which literally refers to the goods that he is carrying and figuratively his duty of delivering them to the right places. The tune is one that stays with me wherever I go because it embodies the rustic fragrance of the soil of that place which I call home. It speaks to me of responsibility, of my upbringing and the values that my family has instilled in me. They are not my burden, but my very identity.
Number 2: My no. 2 favorite song is kind of funny. It is a typical Bollywood number. If you haven’t seen what a Bollywood number is, it is time you should. They are the most entertaining routines replete with amazing dances, colorful costumes and catchy tunes, something similar to the Hollywood musicals like Moulin Rouge. My particular favorite is a song called “Jeene ke hai char din” from the film “Mujhse Shaadi Karogi”. The song might seem to be a bit cheesy since the literal translation goes something like this:
“There are four days to live, ooooooooh,
All the rest of the days are a waste, ooooooh,
These days of youth once gone, never ever come back.”
But it is not for the words or music that I love this song, but what I associate it to. Way back in 2004, when I had just completed my Graduation, my three best friends Aditi, Subarna and Debashree, and I had gone for our first all girls’ vacation to a nearby hill station Kalimpong. It was an amazing experience and for some reason, we kept on playing this particular song on repeat. It became the theme song for our group. And ever since, I have always associated this song with freedom, fun and exhilaration.
Number 3: Song number 3 in my favorite list is by one of my favorite bands, Pink Floyd. I discovered Pink Floyd in my college days and I have ever since been a follower. I also associate them to my friend Probal who had given me the entire collection of Pink Floyd in college and who very tragically passed away in a car accident a couple of years ago. Though I just love all Pink Floyd songs, my favorite is “Comfortably Numb”. Whether I listen to it when I am alone or with my friends or with my siblings with the occasional drink in hand, this song keeps on getting just better and better. I feel that it speaks to me in a unique mind-numbing kind of way and it does indeed take me to a place where I become comfortably numb from all the pain and anxieties of my existence. Whether it is a break up of a really long relationship, or a really bad day at office or an argument with the people I really care for or my deeply disturbing and philosophical thoughts regarding the human existence, this song has helped me get through a lot and hopefully will get me through a lot more in life.
It is said that music is food for the soul. I believe that it is. It transcends time, language and geographical boundaries. These three songs are my favorite not just because they are beautiful compositions but because they have become a part of my life and each tell a different story related to me and each of the songs defines a little bit of the person I was and the person I have grown into.