Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Miss the music of the 90s


I was born in the eighties, and grew up during the 90s in India. Those were the best days of my life. Undoubtedly. And I have always missed those wonderful days, now more than ever. Its surprising that growing up, I felt that a good plush job in a stable industry and living in the city was the way to live and aim for. Having lived both these lives, I can confidently say that no amount of money can buy happiness, and that innocence of childhood. And the simple joy of the 90s.

We were a middle class family growing up in a small town, far away from city influences. We were not poor, but every expense was closely scrutinized and justified. Frugality was the code word at home, the only code to live by, after integrity. Terms like pocket money and 'casual shopping' never existed in our dictionaries. We did not have cable TV at home, opting to settle for the free-to-air doordarshan national television channels. We only saw 'fast-food' in some television programs , or the occasional hollywood movies we watched (after screening by adults) on our trusty old VHS player and CRT television. I had a cycle, a Hero Ranger, probably the only luxury I could call me own. And riding it, I felt like I owned the streets. Its amazing to now realize that such a simple life is all one needs to be happy.

Today, however, there is an attempt to 'buy' happiness. New clothes every week, new phones every few months. A new car every few years. Eating out, endless movies at the multiplex and hours at a stretch at malls. Not to mention, all those booze and smoke people take in.

People find my simplistic lifestyle akeen to that of a hermit. But the truth is, I am trying to live today the way I lived 20 years ago. A simple, controlled life with only the bare essentials, and nothing more. Time and time again I catch myself watching and listening to good old indipop music of the 90s. Even the best pop-star of today cannot come close to the quality of those 90s era music. After much nagging, dad finally bought us a portable audio cassette player. Otherwise knows as a walkman. It was to be used only during school trips, otherwise never to be carried outside home. And it was on this little machine that I listened to Euphoria, Colonial cousins, Silk route, and Lucky Ali. English music meant Michael Jackson, Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, and Miss Spears. Truth is, I have never bought a piece of music legally in my life. Nobody did. The sharing economy was pretty strong in those days. We would swap books and music cassettes regularly at school, something no body does these days. We would buy one of those blank audio cassettes (TDK) and take it to the local video library or repairman with the list of song we wanted, and he would get all of them recorded on that for a very small fee. The quality of the recording would be awful, but it was music to our ears. None of that 5.1 channel, mp3 AAC variable bitrate nonsense. Just good old analogue tape. Music countdown shows were a rage back then, they usually played during the evenings or just after the news, in 30 minute slots. I could never understand what was the basis of that top 10 selection, was it music sold ? or popularity ? What was the way to measure popularity ? Did they do any surveys ? But one thing was sure, the top 10 music was the only ones we knew of. So they automatically became our favourites too.

Here is some music I still listen to from those days.





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