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Old Is Gold

Thanks to a good friend and a country cousin, I have been building my collection of Manipuri folk songs and old songs sung in archaic Manipuri that I am tempted to pick up the phone with each song and ask my uncle (who is heavily into translations and writing), what the lyrics really mean. He helped me with some, in the past. Well, this is my means of staying connected to my roots.

It's like a lesson in my other world combing, sometimes, through the the tons of cassettes and CDs my mom gave me -- most of which were to save herself from the torrent of western songs that she was subjected to whenever she used to sit in my car. My sister in Australia pines for all things Manipuri, from food to entertainment. One of these days, maybe I will send her some music from my new collection. That will take care of at least one of her needs!

I remember once, walking into the annual crowded Suraj Kund mela in Delhi, with mom and the entire family in tow. The theme that year was North-east. And playing in the background was the 'pena' or traditional flute associated with Manipuri folk songs [if you listen to the sound track of The Last of The Mohicans, you will get that feel]. It did something to me. Quite a sweet moment in my life as I stood there -- touched by music that defined my background, my roots. A nostalgia that oscillates between two poles of my identity --my cosmopolitanism image and my indigenous self -- at odd times.

Today, again, I found something to pull myself from my stupor. I got some old songs and I am happy. It's making me drool... The best part about old songs is that it doesn't turn into a glut like the new ones, over hyped or over promoted. All the same, I think music is a complete solution to a drab mood. A solitary activity that just peps you up. Someone once said, people who do not like flowers or babies are next to criminals. I would add music and dogs to the list.


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