Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vinyl Dreams

My birth was marked with the purchase of a Gramophone record. Of the 1963 film Dil Ek Mandir. The record had the song Juhi Ki Kali Meri Ladli on it, my father’s song for me. My father bought that record the day I was born and put the date and his signature on it. And he told me that story forvere after. That is how my association with Vinyl records began. And that is how early my association with music began.

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We used to own an HMV gramophone record player earlier. It used to play at three speeds – 33 and ½ rpm, 45 rpm and 75 rpm. But by the time I was 6 or 7, it had been used well enough to go into repairs…and never return to play. We still have the speakers I think, charming wood finish ones with the well-loved HMV logo on them.

So my father went and bought a Videocon 3-in-1 deck in the late 80s. It had a cassette-player, radio and a gramophone record player. It also came with the facility to record straight off the radio and my parents could then record many sessions of Bela Ke Phool, Binaca Geetmala and the likes from the radio.

And that’s how memories of music started to get woven into the fabric of my memories. The earliest memory was that of Boney M’s Brown Girl In The Ring playing from a small 45 rpm record while I danced to the tune. There were also Sunday afternoons every few weeks spent cleaning the Vinyls. Anything could be playing – an old Hindi film soundtrack, ABBA or some ghazals. All the Vinyls would be restacked, the big ones and small. Stories about how some of them were acquired would be retold. There was the story of my record. There was also the story of how my father once took my mother out to dinner in the early days of their marriage and Ustad Ghulam Ali Khan’s Hungama Hai Kyun Barpa was playing in the restaurant. My mother liked the song so much that she requested my father to buy the record. That is how that record landed up in our collection. Some of the records in the collection had scratches on them from being played too many times. Some of them would make the needle jump. Some were even bent a little. And yet, we were and are immensely proud of this assortment of Vinyls that we had…pure unadulterated sound wafting through the house with every rotation of the record.

There was something magical about holding each of those records, there was something precious about pulling them out of their jackets, there was something elevating about the art on those jackets…it was old world but there was something eternal about the feeling.

And that is why it is extremely heartening to see renewed interest (rather renewed coverage of interest that never died) in Vinyls, most recently covered in The Economist and Forbes. I really hope they outlast CDs and digital media and vindicate all that is old world and pure. That’s my Vinyl dream.

1 Thinkers Pondered:

Chetan Prasad said...

Brings back similar memories. We had a Grundig record changer with hundreds of records. This post has invigorated me to repair our player, dust off the records and revisit my past. I have just restored a 50 year old Sony spool tape player and love listening to the english classics. Thanks.