My tastes in music by all accounts took an 180 degree turn about 12-14 years or so ago (can’t remember). Before that I was really into classic rock and prior to that Ilayaraja classics from 1980s i.e. when I was back in India. Nowadays, as I have already stated many times, it is pretty much carnatic music 100% of the time. Once in a while, out of nowhere, there comes an urge to listen to a particular song I used to like in the past. Sometimes it is classic rock (e.g. Pink Floyd), but more often this would be Tamil film songs.

In fact, nothing fills me with nostalgia more than Ilayaraja songs from the 80’s (i.e. back when I was in India). I listen to certain songs e.g. this one, and I am instantly transported on speed bus between Erode and Trichy, in particular between Namakkal and Trichy. The bus is blaring this song, it is late evening, and a stiff, cool, breeze is blowing through the open bus windows, as it speeds on the road right along Cauvery. I can see glimpses of the river here and there. Lush green fields, tiny villages. I look up and see Cocoanut/Palm trees galore. No, this is not a dream – I have taken that exact trip so many times. Memories of those trips don’t easily fade.

An earlier song like this one, and I am transported to my school days in Erode. The life there, the events plop in front of me like in kaleidescope. Me going to school, playing on a huge playground under a beating sun, our family taking local trips …

It is funny though that these trips of nostalgia always endsup leaving a sad after-taste – obviously, the realization that such an event can never be experienced again. Sure I can take that trip along Cauvery in a bus now, it may even play that old Ilayaraja song, and this may even be part of a trip (back) to my college in Trichy. But it is still a man in his 40s who will be taking that trip, not a wide-eyed young man in his late teens. I can see it would feel empty. It would be a farce – no surprises really there.

The intangible in those trips I took then was of course the the life I was experiencing then at home, and at my college. My life and experiences with my parents at home, my buddies at college, my aspirations, dreams … Those all would have been in my psyche, part of my mindset as I would have listened to that song during one of those trips then.

It is really that intangible which the mind now yearns for – the one thing about those trips it can never get. In fact, a part of me, the sane part knows very well it can’t get that, but still it wants to, and even finds some pleasure in yearning for something which it itself knows can’t be had.

Nostalgia – sure is a funny thing. It is like a sad song that you like – just because it makes you sad, and you strangely like that sad after-taste.

“Illogical” – Spock would quip with raised eyebrows. “Human” – Kirk/Bones would answer.

PS: Is there anything that is NOT in YouTube?

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