Friday, June 26, 2009

MJ is gone

I woke up to the shocking news of Michael Jackson's death and though I do not have tears for him, as I watched the images on the telly I had goosebumps and a deep sense of loss. I don't think there's anyone from my generation who has not been impacted by his music and I am no exception. Saying something about what a phenomenon he was and how great his music was etc. just seems unnecessary - who's there who doesn't know about it? You love him and his music or like it or even, may be, don't like it; one thing you couldn't do was ignore it.

For me, his music has been part of my growing up years, songs I listened to from recorded cassettes on our sky blue Sanyo two-in-one stereo. Songs that we would play in hostel parties and get-togethers during school years. Songs that would sometimes play on the 1 am wicked hour show on the Delhi FM (the old one, the first, the best one) - as J, me and roomies would lie awake in our Hudson Lines student traps near DU. Watching his music videos that my friend Nishant would download, late into the night between group work, maggi and assignments (this was of course pre youtube era). No matter which year it was and which track, his music was eternally cool.

It has been some time since he gave music that would capture me like it used to, but him being gone is a loss all the same. Anyone who has been a fan and hasn't already been there, always wanted to see him live, hear him sing, do his thing. Attend a concert and be a part of the spell everyone said he could cast. Its all folklore now and with him gone that hope's gone too. Still no matter that the news headlines say 'death of music', music is all that remains.


His Obituary at BBC.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Back Home

This isn't about me coming back home, I reached back about 20 days back but my story is there in the unpublished drafts and will eventually come out. This is about a friend who came back home after 3 years. S and I went to pick him at the airport and as we waited I kept thinking when was it that I became friends with him.

Sudip and I go back many years but like with most of my good friends I do not remember how I came to be his friend. I just know that he was my senior at MICA who was always sweet to talk to and had a sense of humor, also he would use my comp sometimes when he needed it. On one such day when he was working on my computer and I was snoozing, he had shaken me awake to tell me that someone had flown an airplane into WTC. I thought he was kidding and didn't want to wake up ... we had rushed to the mess (where the only TV except for class rooms and media centre was) only to watch stunned as the second plane went in. The two of us remember this and mention this often, its one of my few memories of time with him at that time. After he graduated I met him once in Bombay where he was working and I was doing my summer training. As I was saying, I am not sure when we became such good friends.

After MICA I was working in Delhi for a few months and he was also there, we would sometimes meet up on weekends, I would order the Aloo Attack pizza from Pizza Hut, he some carnivore option and we'll
eat sitting on the terrace of his home and talk. I loved that pizza, its no longer on their menu and a big reason why we always obliged Pizza Hut was that it was Sudip's client and he could claim all the bills! After three months I moved to Bombay and in some time he moved to Cal, which is where his family is and joined the same firm I was with. My Quali (Qualitative research) wanderings took me to Cal often and on the days we weren't eating at one of the wonderful places he chose, his mom would cook the yummiest bong food for me (yes, there ARE vegetarian options). She still cooks for me every chance and even sends food if someone is taking a flight to Bombay. One of the reasons auntie likes me so is because I eat without fuss :)

Oh and we met at a few domestic and foreign locales over the years for our office trainings and conferences, where we wouldn't necessary hang out together but would have a shopping stint or a walk or a fun conversation which kept the warmth in the friendship.

Another thing I'm not so sure of is when S and Sudip became friends, but they did and I'm even a wee bit jealous at times that they are so thick, he's my friend after all! S is someone who gets along with most people but he has few friends which he's close to and Sudip is one of them. I have a large number of very close friends and I'm OK if the guy is not chuddi buddies with all of them, yet its really nice to have that too. It makes Sudip, Praks, me and S this really cosy group. (I've mentioned Praks before but just to remind you - she's my batch mate from MICA and is one of my closest friends. She is a super-long blog post herself.)

Now, Sudip has had more than his fair share of problems in life and he's dealt with them with more poise than anyone I know, always joking about a scenario rather than feeling sorry about it. We always talked about everything that's going on in our lives and have always managed to look forward and rib each other about whatever it is. Three years back, to sort out some of his issues he needed more money and took up a job offer at Dubai. We met many times during these years - he's visited us, on both our visits to Dubai we've had a really good time together. He has remained a confidante to Praks' mother and teases my mom every time he talked to her. We all took a wonderful trip together to Bhutan with Sudip, S, Praks, Me and Brishti all having a blast of a time. Brishti is his adorable 10 year old niece, or now his daughter since the legalities are done. The trip started with one of aunty's famous Bengali feasts which had all of us panting like dogs with overstuffed bellies. So as much as I ponder, I am not able to figure out when was it that we ceased to be just friends and came to be family.

In the last few days before coming back he's been saying that he's had a good three years where he made more friends than he knew he would, he did well at work, managed to win some personal battles and lost a few ... like his dad. Now is the time, he's put the foundation and is starting a new chapter in his life.
Yesterday when he came out of the departure gate, he looked happy and moved at the same time. He saw me and said,"Three years ago when I went you were standing here saying bye to me, now I've come back and you are still here?"

For all my endless doubts and questions, this is an awfully easy one. Where else would I be? Welcome back.