It was snowing the day I was born. Christmas carols were in full swing at the Mount Sinai hospital. And the doctors and nurses who were attending to the pregnant women hummed along whenever their favourite carol played on the speakers or so my father tells me. It was Christmas eve after all.
I was six days old when I was brought back to my parents apartment. My father, who loved all things pop needed to record the top 40 countdown so that he could listen to it whenever it was his turn to take care of me. So the first thing they did as soon as they entered the apartment was to turn on the radio to hear who was number one that year. It was to be a close call between Gloria Gaynor's I will Survive and Bee Gees' Tragedy.
I think that's the day my relationship with music began. My father loved his music to bits. As a restaurateur in New York city, he lived close enough to head home and grab LPs to get signed whenever someone famous walked into the restaurant. Who you might ask was famous? The Beatles for one. Elton John and even Barbara Streisand. (Yes, his record collection is to be envied).
It was no surprises then, that I grew up on a staple of VH1 and MTV. The first song that I remember listening to was Kim Carnes' Bette Davis Eyes. The first video I ever remember watching - Michael Jackson's Thriller and the first OST to play on repeat - Grease - was all thanks to my father.
Such deep love he had for music that even when we moved back to India, he'd wait all night to record the Grammy awards, just so that he'd know what the new songs were. He'd ask his cousins to send him copies of the Billboard magazine to be able to figure out what albums he wanted. And he'd have cassettes after cassettes of music videos that the local video library had managed to source. I suppose that's how we watched Peter Gabriel's Sledge Hammer or even heard about Madonna's La Isla Bonita.
When the LP/records turned to CDs he didn't flinch. Instead he checked out the top 10 in all genres, asked anyone travelling to get him a CD. He introduced Garth Brooks to us. He brought Beethoven into our lives.
You can't imagine his delight, when in the 90s cable started in India. I think we were the first household to get all the channels. Every Sunday, he'd sit down with my sister and I and make us watch the top 10 of the week on MTV. We'd make lists every week to remember what stayed on the top the most. Turns out Michael Jackson's Black or White was the most popular song that year.
By then my sister and I had already started developing our tastes in music. We'd share new songs with Papa and tell him to get this song or this album or watch this video. Together between the three of us, we'd have seen atleast 10,000 music videos which we can describe with our eyes closed. Music became such a connect between the three of us that come summer, the three of us would sit in the balcony, listen to CDs on shuffle, and try and guess the song by just their opening bars. I remember Mili Vanilli were our favourite that year, closely followed by MC Hammer.
Even as we grew up, Papa's love of music didn't end. In the Napster era, we burned CD after CD of the latest songs before the whole piracy thing hit out big time. That year Rapture by Iio was his favourite song.
By college, my sister and I begged him to get us the World Space. And more often than not, we'd hear him turn it on, so check out the latest song. Now when he's home alone, you can catch him watching VH1 He remembers the song and calls me up to tell me to listen to a particular song. He's an American Idol and The Voice fan. And totally loves Adam Labert, Lady Gaga and Rihanna.
But that's not what warms my heart, it's when I see him ask my brother, who's been learning to play the guitar to strum Gotye's Somebody to Love, that I realise how far he's come and how much he's taught me and just how much of him is in me.
Everything in this post is true. But it's also a part of Indiblogger's HP Connected Music India series.