'Chaudvi Ka Chand'. Classic song that. Rafi saab gives that song amazing emotion. The way he emotes the word tabassum... sigh... Sheer magic.
Also CKC is possibly the only song I can pull off with moderate residual dignity apart from 'Please Forgive Me' on winter mornings when I wake up with a bad cold.
I grew up listening to my dad who was quite the shave-time serenader. He gave us our morning renditions of old Rafi and Yesudas numbers while we sat around begging him to stop.
When one is young one tends to have very little respect for any of the classics. (Except Classis Rock and Classic Jenna Jameson perhaps.) So we hollered and screamed at the top of our lungs when he started with his "Thujkho Pukaare Mere Yaaaaaaaar..."
I guess in the process I stocked up on significant vocal anti-karma.
I grew up having one of the worst singing voices in the annals of St. Josephs School. And to make things worse I was a contemporary of the great Andrew Menezes.
Andrew could hit any note known or unknown to man. He was the sort of guy who was so gifted with music that even when he sneezed, coughed, and wheezed in the Abu Dhabi winters the girls went weak in the knees and boys wanted to punch his teeth out.
The only time we ever faced off in a competition with any vocal component was when I was in Sr. Kindergarten. Well to be fair it wasn't a singing competition. It was the annual poetry recitation competition. I could get by a few lines of rhyme in nifty fashion and just about qualified for the finals which were held annually in front of the WHOLE school.
Now set aside the obvious talent gap here which made the Grand Canyon look like an open drain cover in Wadala. Andrew also had that evocative pantomimesque action which melted your heart into a puddle and made you watch him with your head tilted to one side.
When he was the boy on the burning deck you could literally see the flames leaping around him and the ship gently spiraling into its watery grave. I secretly wished, GODDAMIT I STILL WISH, that someone would perch him on a real pile of burning timber. I would then lean back and watch him wave his hands and pout his way out of that.
That year Andrew had to do some poem about a land of monkeys which needed him to put in extra 'L's' after every second letter. The first line went something like this:
"I Wllish I wllas in mllonkey llland!"
I swear. And I was sure Andrew would nail it perfectly. It was exactly the sort of sugary, sweet thing he could with his eyes closed.
I on the other hand had to do a dour little thing about a snowman with low self-esteem. I did not remember it at the time of blogging this and so did a little bit of an internet search. I am pretty sure that the following was it. My magnum opus:
Once there was a snowman
Once there was a snowman, Who stood outside the door, He wished that he could come inside, And run about the floor. He wished that he could warm himself, Beside the fire, so red, He wished that he could climb Upon the big white bed.
So he called to the North Wind, "Come and help me, pray, For I'm completely frozen, Standing here all day." So the North Wind came along, And blew him in the door, And now there nothing left, But a puddle on the floor!
Now per se its not really that bad at all. No pretentious extra letters to add in anywhere and a story that does have a certain macabre charm to it.
But three things went against me.
Unbeknownst to me at least two dozen other students were going to use 'Once there was a Snowman' in there repertoire. So whatever little climax the story promised had been beaten into the crowd till they were literally cheering every time the North Wind made an appearance.
"Burn that pscyho snowman North Wind! Go Wind! Go!" the children did not shout for fear of being dragged away by pissed off nuns who secretly Nazi saluted each other for all I know.
And by virtue of my name and the alphabetic order of presentation I made my appearance well after the snowman had come and gone several several painful times.
But then I also had a huge bandage around my head.
See, the night before I had had a toothpick go into my forehead. It is a long story and we will go into it in another blog post.
So did I overcome my injury and a hostile crowd to grab glory from the well-prized hands of Andy Menezes? Did I emerge in triumph from the depths of personal and collective drawbacks?
I did ok. But Andy came first by miles and I may also have slightly peed in my pants just before I went on stage and this perhaps was visible to the judges.
I continued to secretly tussle with Andy for years. When I was picked as a shepherd for the nativity play he was cast as the father of Baby Jesus. When I made it to the two-boy human chariot competition final, he finished first or second. I crashed out nanometers before the finish line beating my partner Neeraj Mark d'Mello into pulp.
I have no idea where he is now. But alas I forever will remain the boy who just can't sing anything.
Except CKC and PFM.
Thankfully I happen to know a couple of great artists who are definitely blessed with oodles of talent.
The first is Gaurav Dagaonkar. College festival circuit junkies probably know the flamboyant boy who passed out of IIMA to become a singer. I have had the privilege of knowing Gaurav for sometime now. He was in the same dorm as I and was one of our best on campus singers.
He now has his debut album all ready and is on the lookout for a label to publish his work. And he was graceful enough last night to give DM readers a special preview of the album.
So (fanfare) it is my honour to put up two great singles from Dawgie's debut album on DM for your downloading and listening pleasure.
If you like what you hear, which you most definitely will, drop me a line and I will send you ANOTHER TWO singles from his album.
And all you need to do in return is pass it around and tell people about Dawgie.
But that is NOT all!
(Today is getting to be a rather artistic day on DM is it not?)
Raj Siva-rajah mailed me a couple of days ago and I must say I am glad he did. Raj leads a band out of Australia called The Sunpilots and they are apparently quickly becoming quite the item there. Their latest single, 'Spotlight in th Sun' is very good and he too was happy to let DM readers enjoy the fruits of his labour.
If you like what you hear, go on to their website, sign up for a backstage pass and download the song.
Currently The Sunpilots are looking to tour India and are looking out for concert promoters and the like to help them.
In the meantime I leave you all with a special version of one of my fave songs and promise you that I can sing it better...