Life's Like That

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Loudspeaker memories

Durga Pujo is around the corner. I will be in Bangalore. Working. Life's like that whattodo. Last year we took the boy to Kolkata and showed him Durga Pujo. He enjoyed himself but it was very trying for me as I had to translate everything for him, including neelkanto pakhi, Shaami kano Aashami (from movie posters) etc. Anyways, I was discussing Pujo and Kali Pujo with my aunt last night and amongst other things we both fevrently thanked God and the Government of West Bengal for banning loudspeakers during festivals. You see, our memories of any festival cannot be separated from the memories of loudspeakers and loud blaring "muujiik"

Living in Dover Lane, we were spared of mujikal entertainment during Durga Pujo since the closest pandal (Shinghi Park) was quite a distance from us. Kali Pujo on the other hand.....SHUDDER. Not one but three pujos were organised around our house. One 10 metres in front, one 10 metres to the left, one 10 metres to the right. The 3 pandals had 3-4 loudspeakers each. They started the mujikal entertainment early in the morning...say at around 5 a.m..from 3 days before the actual pujo. This continued for a good 3 days after the pujo. I have a great aversion to all Kumar Sanu songs irrespective of language.

The day started with "Chiiiiiirrrrroooodiiiniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii tuuuumiii je aamaaaar/juuge juuugeee aaaamiiii tommmmaaaarrriiiii". At 5 a.m. The high pitched Chirooooodiniiiiiiiii breaking into ones dreams abruptly and loudly is not a nice feeling. Im surprised none of us had heart attacks. This would be followed by the breezy "Hoyto aamake kaaro mone nei/Aami je chilaam ei graametei" I have no clue which movie this gem belongs to. But I know it by heart. Would you like me to sing it to you?

As the day wore on the entertainment would move towards Bollywood. "Dekha hai pehli baar/ Saajan ke aankhon mein pyaar" the loudspeakers would inform us, about 10-15 times in a loop, till one would be overcome with the desire to catch the Saajan of the pyaar filled eyes and poke them eyes out. Just when one would be seizing a largeish knife to go in search of the Saajan's eyes, it would switch to "Hawa hawa/ aye hawa / khushboo lutalee". I never quite understood this song. Is it an ode to the wind? To ones love who is like the wind? What does it mean? Towards afternoon, the organizers would shift to mellower music, possibly in deference to the post lunch siesta that most boudis and mashimas of the area would want to indulge in. Therefore the soulful "Snaasoon knii znaarooraat hnai jnaisnee" or " Dhnirree Dhniirree se mneri zindagi mein aaaanaa" would croon nasally from all sides. Needless to say all boudis and mashimas would spend the afternoon heartily cussing Sanu and his loyal fans and tossing from side to side. This would generally be interspersed with some Bangla gaan...cultural gems such as "Eeeee aaaamaaaar gurdooookhinaaaaa/ gurukee jaaaanaaaaiiii pronaaaam ( I can just picture Taposh Pal singing with mouth wide open, clutching a microphone..pained constipated expression on his face) or "Beder meye Jyotsna aamaye kotha diyeche". I think the general thinking was that Bangla gaan is more suited to sleeptime activities...more kaalchaaral if you know what I mean.

Evenings got even worse, if such a scenario is imaginable. "Dil diwana/ bin sajna ke / maaaaneee naaaaaaaa/ yeh pagla hai..." screeched Anuradha Padwal. I hate Maine Pyaar Kiya. It has 10-15 songs. Each of which would be played nonstop. SP Balasubramaniam telling random (freakish) kabootars to ja ja ja in a heavy South Indian accent is not conducive to homework. Trust me on this one. As the evening wore on, the organizers would get more skittish. Hormones and all that. The songs took on a distinct lecherous note.. with "Oye Oye" eveteasers favourite and "Oh laal dupatte walli tera naam toh bata" which made it virtually impossible for girls to wear lal duppattas for sometime. Then there was "First time dekha tumhe dil kho gaya / Second time mein love ho gaya/ Yeh akkha India jaanta hai/ hum tum pe marta hai" and the rather violently composed "Maine pyaar tumhi se kiya hai/ maine dil bhi tumhiko diya hai". But my all time favourite remains "Aami Kolkata roshogolla". 16 times nonstop the day before my Math exam. It is seared in my brain for eternity. On the 11th rerun, my normally very shy and reticent Math tutor could take it no more and burst out "Eta ki hoche tokhon theke. Ki gaan eta. Aar tumi ei gaan ta gaicho kano? Ebhaabe onko hoye naaki?(What is this nonsense? What song is this? and why are you singing along? How can you study like this?). Singing along like lobotomised zombies to any rubbish song that happened to be blaring outside was a dangerous side effect that we all experienced. Sometimes we sang even without provocation. I was once punished in school for absentmindedly humming "beder meye jyotsna" in Chemistry class.

Things have changed now of course. Loudspeakers are banned Im told. My aunt and I were heaving big sighs of relief just yesterday ( the organisers in her para had a particular fondness for a morbid number that went "tomar barir shaamne diye / aamar moronjatra jokhon jaabe/ tumi baranda te dnaariye theko/ shesh dekhata dekhte paabe" worries about the mental state of the person who played this number at 4 a.m. Poor thing). I wonder what songs would play on loop today if it was allowed...I can picture myself gnashing my teeth at the 25th rerun of "Zara zara touch me touch me / Zara zara oooo oooo ooo. I can also picture my mother hyperventilating and my fathers pained expression. At the cost of repeating myself...thank god!!!
But tell me, what are your loudspeaker memories? Sing it aloud while typing. Go on..its festival time after all.


  • That moronjatra song is morbid but fascinating. I can't imagine the kind of mind that would come up with a song like that. But this is the first time I'm hearing of it. How come I missed this gem when I was growing up?

    Oh and in Jamshedpur, it was the same excpet we also had some bhojpuri and saontali songs thrown into the cultural mix. One saontali song I remember vividly went something like: "Oh re fasion, haye re fasion, aage nikal jaat hai, mard mane gor tale bhnuiya khisak jaat re'. (roughly translated as 'oh this fashion, it keep getting ahead of us. The very earth slips from under our feet'). (!!!)

    And also 'Eee panwala babu'. I must sing that for you next time we meet. As you say, it's tattooed on my brain.

    On Sanu songs, has anybody heard 'Tomaye to konodin bolini, bhalobashi ami tomake, Tobe keno bhebe nile tomar premik amake?' How ungallant, I've always thought.

    By Anonymous Shrabonti, at 3:49 AM  

  • Your post just unlocked a thousand memories! ...of a time and age when loudspeakers (or mikes as they we referred to) ruled unfettered from terraces, pandals, lamp posts, and treetops... blasting believers and non-believers alike with eardrum-popping decibels of film music. One of my favorites was "Amar pujaro phool, bhalobasha hoye gechhe, tumi jeno chhire phelona... mala gethhe rekhechhi porabo tomay, tumi jeno kheye phelona..." or something to that effect! And growing up in Central Avenue, right next to Mohammed Ali Park, meant that no religious festival - Hindu or Muslim - went by without a refresher course in the latest smash hits from Bollywood/Tollywood. Come to think of it, it was probably this "musical exposure" that was behind my success in school bus antakshari competitions. What's more, non-stop free music outside meant I could in the privacy of my room practice some dance moves to Bappida's "Jeeemeee, Jeeemee, Jeeemeee aaa jaa, aaa jaa, aaa jaa..."

    By Blogger Aaliya, Reporter, at 4:16 AM  

  • hey!!!! feel so nostalgic...and so like a pujo pujo feeling....well pujo in Goa is small yet memorable, we do have des fantastic songs like chiiiiiiirrodinii tummi je aaaamaaar playing,but thankfully not on loudspeakers but on dashami's special programme the "orchestra" - hey not to forget the Bengali Band Songs (nachiketa-laal fite shada moja schooler uniform...she amar prothom prem nilanjana, barandai rodurr,) :)..
    But i also love the classics, rabindrasangeet doing rounds on ashtami, special dance programs,so traditional and so much fun!!!
    Coming home during much fun awaited.....!!

    By Blogger aditisom, at 5:35 AM  

  • wow this truly brought back a lot of memories... man i love the pujas and i think irrespective of whether u are a bengali or not.. everyone enjoys it.. I loved hearing Chirodini... ad nauseum and even today hearing it makes me sooo happy.. dont askk why.. i dunnoo.. prolly reminds me of my happy childhood days...
    Yeah Ron, hearing the same songs day in n day out, its no wonderas my dad used to sadly say, we kids all used to know more of bollywood than history and geog, forget math n chem:)

    I actually shudder to think of the songs they would play today in pandals... with all the very very dubious lyrics..
    I didnt know loudspeakers were banned? are u sure coz last year when i was in cal.. it was playing fine... during some muslim festival... ..

    But i would be lying if I said that i didnt miss the noise, the hustle and bustle, the chaos, the dhakka-mukki of pandal hopping, the food, the melas, the muzikkk..
    Jaane kaha gaye woh din....:)

    By Blogger MPAT, at 6:52 AM  

  • Ron, I'm sadly deprived of such joys since I grew up in rather elitist New Alipore. They hardly ever played such songs in our para. (sorry I don't mean to sound snooty, but just that the para was too sophisticated :P)
    But yeah all the songs you mention come back to mind, having heard them at random other paras or in the passing.

    By Blogger Priya, at 7:39 AM  

  • Oh this reminds me of the song, 'bondhuuu something something, tumi shunte ki pao ei gaan amar, ei gaan tomar'. Something like this. This post brings back such memories.

    By Blogger Dreamcatcher, at 9:39 PM  

  • You mentioned all gems but one... blame Shanu of what you will but not partiality towards young and the restless... was your para not kaalcharaal enough to play the otehr 'evergreen' song? 'ke bole thakma tomar/boyesh periyechhe aashi'???

    By Blogger Deep, at 10:21 PM  

  • Thankfulyl Salt Lake is more sophisticated and we have so many dadus/fddas in our para that playing ushc songs would probably bring the whole horde of them chasing you with their walking sticks in hand :P

    I remember Govinda time in Pune though.We would be blasted by music from three sides - From 'Kaala kauua kaat khayega' to 'Aiga dajiba' to 'Humkooooo aajkal hai pyaaaaar...koi aane ko haiiiiii'. What we learn - when you can't beat them, join them - we used to go out and dance at all the pandals :P

    By Blogger SMM, at 10:57 PM  

  • Errmmm you never had "Amar silpi tumi Kishore Kumar" ? That's one of Kumar Sanu's gems from a Kali Puja. In earlier days it used to be a couple of numbers from Mithun films though - "I am a disco dancer". Somewhere in between it became the Govinda-Karishma Kapoor numbers specifically because of the raunchy quotient.

    The Durga Puja near where I stayed had a somewhat unclear obsession with "Aasha chhilo, bhalobashaa chhilo". Lord only knew why that was the staple post lunch song. That used to be followed up even more curiously with "Jeeboney jodi dweep jwalate naa paaro".

    Late nights were the killer though - all sorts of "konthi" singers would have a field day at the functions.

    By Blogger sankarshan, at 11:42 PM  

  • hahahahahah!
    cldnt stop laughing!
    I cant believe u got the songs sooo damn right!..being a mumbaiyte i experienced this during ganpati and now somehow that I am away from India..i miss the mujichal nonsense!...hah!
    But how can u forget...the salman khan and sohail khan song.."oo oo jane jane...dhonde tuje diwana"..which of course came quite later...but the song was as irritating as the singer as the actor!!...
    p.s am still laughing!

    By Blogger Ekta, at 2:51 AM  

  • Hilarious!
    You also managed to make me feel homesick. Have never lived in Calcutta but have had similar experiences at festival times in other parts of India.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:02 AM  

  • By the time I reached the 'gurudokkhina' part.. i could take it no more. my sides split apart. thanks for writing this piece :D

    "Snaasoon knii znaarooraat hnai jnaisnee" & " Dhnirree Dhniirree se mneri zindagi mein aaaanaa" - these are the real gems...the nasal twang.

    i remember these songs:
    macher kata chuler kata/kata onek rokom blah blah, & something about 'prem' being 'kathaler aantha' the eternal favourites gurudokkhina, asha chilo/bhalobhasa chilo, thakuma song, amar shilpi kishore kumar,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:32 AM  

  • Thanks for this post. It lightened up an otherwise drab morning. I will not be home this Durga Puja but your post makes me wish that I were back! And that bit about Tapas Pal and Gurudokkhinaaaaaaaaaa....I am still laughing

    By Blogger Ninia, at 10:28 PM  

  • I just *had* to come back and read this once again....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:03 AM  

  • @Shrabonti: That saotali song is awesome. Please do sing ee panwala babu next time we meet. I shall sing Kolkata roshogolla for you.

    @Tridib: Babah!! My mind is overcome at the image of you dancing to Jimmy jimmy jimmy!!! Also I think,in the bangla song you mention, it is " tumi jeno chire felo na" not kheye phelo na. Maane shudhu shudhu keu kano mala kheye felbe aar ki.

    @Aditi: How could I forget ei prothom prem aamar nilanjona/ Such a rage it was. How I pitied girls named Nilanjona.

    @Marina: Gimme your number. I shall call you on Ashtami and sing Chiiiirrrooodinniiiii to you :D

    @Priyadi: You poor deprived child.

    @DC: Eta ki gaan. Eta jaani na. Must google it.

    @ Depo: Etai ba ki gaan.Sounds awesome. Phone kore geye shona.

    @ SMM: Yeah Salt Lake was most kalcharally advanced. No fillum mujik happened.

    @Sankarshan: Ei shob bangla gaan gulo toh shuni ni. Issshh ki miss korechi. Must find these awesome sounding songs immediately.

    @Ekta: Yeah it was a pan Indian festival scenario. Blaring distinctly non religious music. But that oh oh jaane jaana happened much later. By then we had shifted houses and the new area thankfully spared us of these entertainments.

    @MrsToad: Sing to yourself. Start with Snaasoon ki Zaroorat. Then you can move on to Oye Oye and Hawa hawa :D

    @Runab: Asha Chilo bhalobasha chilo ta vaguely mone porche. Not the rest. So sad, must source them.

    @Ninnia: Taposh Pal was really dreadful. Almost as bad as Prosenjit. Who I think is still acting in movies.

    By Blogger Ron, at 2:05 AM  

  • Ron, I laughed my head off. Will there really be no loudspeakers allowed? I go nuts whenever those endless fillum songs and bhajans( esp. the Jai Jai Santoshi Mata type)are played ad infinitum, and so loudly too.
    We were travelling the last two Pujas, let's see what this year brings.

    By Blogger dipali, at 1:49 AM  

  • Tapas Pal..hehehhee..hahahaha..actually he wasn't so bad to start with, I mean if you see his really early films he was quite bearable. Oh and let us not forget Shukhen Das. Why don't you do a post on him? hehehhehehe..hahahhaha

    By Blogger Ninia, at 10:15 PM  

  • heh heh - so true esp. growing up in Bombay with Durga Baadi, Ganpati, Bal Thakre's birthday, Diwali, Holi, Dandia, Elections and everything else celebrated in full fervor - loudspeakers, pandals and all ... (not sure about Parsi New Year but I'm sure they'll get the memo soon)

    BUT BUT BUT ... after coming to Luanda, India seems like a buddhist monastery! Luanda parties every weekend - no I am NOT exaggerating ... and there is no time limit here - pretty much every street here has a party every weekend with loud music till 4am - no i-want-to-poke-my-eye Kumar Sanu here, but they play some dreadful african-thumping-dabba-techno - you can imagine it I'm sure.
    and on long weekends, well ... lets not even go there.

    and no food/prasad/prasadam either like the parties back home - so double whammy!

    there you go - a fresh perspective

    By Blogger Venky, at 5:24 AM  

  • and Ron - her name is Saara. pics on my blog :)

    By Blogger Venky, at 5:28 AM  

  • @Dipali: I thought they have been banned for a while now. Or is it just Salt Lake? DON'T remind me of Jai Santoshi Ma!!!

    @Ninnia: Yeah Taposh Pal was ok to begin with. Then he put on weight and got increasingly unbearable.

    @ Venky: Oh you pooooor thing. That sounds awful. Worse than Kumar Sanu and Himesh combined. Saara is adorable btw :)

    By Blogger Ron, at 2:16 AM  

  • Well have a very happy Pujo in Bangalore.. :)

    By Anonymous Pallavi, at 3:06 AM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:39 PM  

  • Come to Delhi. Even if loudspeakers are banned, Delhiites will blithely ignore the ban. What price "Meri pyari Durga maiyya banegi Dulhaniya--Brahma Vishnu bajaayenge baaajaaa--" to the tune of "Meri pyari beheniya banegi dulhaniya"?And, and and-- "Pepsi cola bhaang mein dola main toh peeloongi" to "mera babu chhail chhabila main to nachoongi"! This is ostensibly a tribute to Lord Shiva!

    By Blogger LAK, at 10:49 PM  

  • "Snaasoon knii znaarooraat hnai jnaisnee"


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