Memories Bring Back Memories

8 October 2020 ● 4 mins read ● 1 image
Memories Bring Back Memories

Memories bring back memories.

I am not a fan of listening to music on the go, so my phone’s playlist mostly sucks. I have voice recordings sent from friends who are singers, some poetry, and a few songs that my friends have cared to share with me. Yes, I have been lucky enough to be sent entire files of songs rather than a link, but that used to be a different time, still a couple of years back, now they have mostly shifted to more permanent forms, youtube links, which are so permanent, that often the sheer permanence makes me put it off for some mysterious time, that never comes.
When in long flights people seriously plug in to respective “their kind of music”, I desperately go back to my two Rekha Bharadwaj songs, bari dheere jail, or ek ghadi aur theher ke ja and o sathi mere, there is another kuch kuch hota hai remix, a friend had sent a couple of years back, and I’m confident that I’ve heard all these songs more than the singers who sung these. It’s worse because nowadays you can charge your phone everywhere and I can’t even think of an excuse as to why I should stop the music and save battery. I know you must be thinking why I don’t use something like spotify, I have tried for a while, but again, it dug in my pocket too hard, for it is very rarely that I actually go to my phone for music, and my Bengali mind kept reminding me that all the songs are right there in youtube and that spotify is stagnant without internet.
I moved to USA well, under unusual circumstances, to say the least. I am lucky to have got my ass safely to Ithaca (pardon my language, but that’s exactly how it is), let alone my belongings. I had to pack my universe into two and a half suitcases and set off in a week’s time. I trashed stuff like I was America. I am talking about my vinyl collection and my player, at one point I was also considering trashing the entire collection…but thankfully, they are sailing down the pacific as I type this. However, the point is, my usual go to Simon and Garfunkel or Hari Prasad Chaurasia is not here, and hence, once more, I am a pathetic soul digging into my empty playlist like a frantic.
Tonight I hit the play-all button and poured shampoo in my palm, ready to revisit every random voice clip that I ever received and of course the 3-4 loyal songs that I have. Ten minutes into Allegheny moon (so weird that I should have a Pattie Page out of nowhere) and a random Ed Sheeran song, it brought up an old song that used to be my ring tone, some three-four years ago.
My senses exploded. My conditioning made me jump out of the bath and try make a move to unlock the phone to take the call, and just as I realized it was the song and no one had actually called, I was gripped with a familiar fragrance; old but fresh, and all those faces that used to call me regularly back then, showed up! People who were a part of my everyday then, and now show up either on weekends, extended weekends and some, just on birthdays, and some just in whatsapp status updates. It brought memories of IIT Madras, the different odd times my phone burst into a shrill “khoya khoya chand…khula aasman (Mikey McCleary version)”, and how there were times I would just dance a little to the song before I picked the call and continue singing the rest of it.
Dire Straits, Sultans of swing, used to be my ring tone in college, and if you recognized the song in one go, you already were, or soon would be my friend! And then for a while I also had a Nikhil Banerjee Bhimpalasi as my ring tone, I had cut it using a software called audacity (I am not kidding, never cared how it was just 45 seconds and the repeat sounded super ugly, still, people asked)! From trying to ‘make a statement’ about my personality from a ring tone, to not even bothering to change the default ring tone (realized it today), I guess, I grew up.

These days, I am more amused by having to pick scallions and shallots instead of onions.
The painting is a piece by my father, whose memory is all I have now. As a kid, I saw my mother in this girl, now I see more of my self. The strokes talk to me, bring back memories and when the memories leave, I sound like a hollow trumpet.
For my inside is a rehearsal of winter, inside, rises in me a cold night as sunlight leaves the heart every morning the way a broken girl, her lover's door closing behind her, leaves that familiar lane in silence, never to return for the rest of her life. To those of you who looked for identity through ring tones and now somehow, are older, wiser, or just lonlier.
Today, talk is cheap. I wish I could call somebody, and remind them of their ring tones.

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About Fiona

Fiona Mukherjee

I'm an artist in Tokyo, Japan

Would love to interact with like minded people, collaborators or just connect over art, poetry, food or wine.

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