Lakeerein: The story behind it - Part I
As I prepare to go to India for the 8th time in the last 6 years, for my customary December vacations at home, I am bracing myself for the kaleidoscope of difference that awaits me. The longer I have been in Germany, the more exotic and surreal India has become for me. As a person born and brought up in the ‘system’, I merely questioned it as a teenager. Now as an adult, and in a field that encourages intrigue, I am possessed by it. Possessed by the disorder of this system. Possessed by the image that this chaotic system just cannot work. But it does. Emphatically, in some cases.
Why I suddenly feel the urge to discuss this with you all? Recently we were asked the logic behind having 1 song in Hindi ‘Lakeerein’ on our debut album that is otherwise dominated by thought provoking, complex lyrics in English. “What is the point of having a song that most of your fans cannot understand when what you really expect of them is to interrogate the depths of your work”. Ok the original question was in German but for the sake of ‘understanding’, I translated it. I found it interesting that this gentleman thought of music as something that needs to be ‘understood’. In a way he is right.
We do tend to use music as a means of judgment; good or bad, intelligent or stupid, cool or not. So many of us are obsessed with what a songwriter is trying to say with his song, that we forget what the song is trying to say to us. Yes, our music does have a message, garnished with strenuously thought out words that laminate the instruments. But this message is an expression, rather than an expectation. A medium to exhaust the cornucopia of thoughts that are always competing for attention in my head. If someone feels the same way when they hear a song of ours, well and good. If not, that’s fine too. It’s what you feel while listening to a song that’s most important. However, since ‘Lakeerein’ involves an obvious language barrier, I will gladly state the reasons that made me pen it. The reasons that made me start this piece the way I did. But I’ll get to the actual song and the meaning behind it a little later, once I am actually faced with the issues it so loudly protests against. Right now I am just envisioning the taste of home.