I heard it on a cassette :’)

Mom had been behind me to clean my old closet and I always successfully found out excuses. Today when I was out of all sensible excuses, she finally won and I dragged myself towards the closet. I opened the drawer beneath and saw an array of neatly arranged cassettes with a layer of dust on it. Before I knew anything, I was lost in time while taking each one out and looking back with the memory associated with each one. That feeling when I pulled out my favourite one from the cover and hurriedly put it in the cassette player and pressed the “Play” button !!!!! It was heaven ! The two small drops couldn’t stay inside my eyes. It must have been 10 or 15 years since I last did that. It was like meeting an old buddy. And hugging that buddy heart to heart. I experienced the definition of nostalgia in the true sense. Now I know how mom-dad must have felt when they heard the disc on grandpa’s gramophone the last time.

The cassettes were an integral part of our childhood. Since I was a baby, mom would put the cassettes on and I would lie near the player listening – is what I am told. We also had some blank cassettes and a double player where we could record the music from one cassette to other. I remember one of our playtime was to put the chairs in line and assume we are in a train while listening to our favourite music on the tape-recorder. 

The cassettes spelled out our growing up! Beautiful music, meaningful lyrics and the innocence still intact. The impact is so strong on the mind that I still remember each and every bar of the music and each and every word of the songs I heard back then. May be it was because there were less distractions. I didn’t have the urge to put a status “Listening to” every-time a song gave me goosebumps. May be the music was that intense. Listening to cassettes on the tape-recorder was an “activity” that we did with friends in the afternoon during holidays. The tape-recorder was situated high up on the shelf, so me and my brother had to climb up on a stool, then a chair and then the table below the shelf to reach the tape-recorder. Initially we could hardly reach the buttons, then as we grew, we could even change the sides of the cassette. Changing the sides, rewinding and forwarding, waiting to hear the “click” sound automatically when one side of the cassette was over, writing the name of the recorded song on the blank slip of the blank cassette; those were the moments of small joy. Using the pencil to move the cassette roll to remove the stuck part was like the cleverest thing to do and gave a sense of pride.

~ via the official happiness is account. Credits : http://lastlemon.com/happiness/

Buying a new cassette was a rare episode. We were promised a new one when we got good marks in an exam or did a good job. So that was a limited amount of cassettes to be bought. So we had to make a choice and only the most favourite ones landed home. We would then exchange them with cousins and friends to listen to some of the favourite songs for a few days. The double recorder was also a saviour as we could record multiple songs over and over on the same blank cassette. My cousin had bought the cassette of Escape – by Enrique. It was an even more expensive one, being English Music. While I recorded 2 songs from that album onto my blank cassette, I also remember making a photocopy of the inlay card 😉

The effort required to listen to music was more and maybe hence was the dedication towards it. I still remember on a long road trip we somehow had forgotten to take our cassettes with us and there was just “Sonu Nigam’s Deewana” in the car and we heard the same one in and out for 3 whole days. Now whenever I listen to any of the songs form the album, I remember each and every moment of that road-trip. The portable tape-recorders were a boon. And how funny those songs sounded when the battery was low. That was a reason for our jokes and laughs. I miss that innocence. Please take me back in time, Please !!  I so want to go back.

Thank you for making our childhood super-awesome, dear Cassettes. And also the real quality music that they made back then. We owe you our love for music and the smallest bits of happiness. 
If ever any kid listens to an old song and asks me, have you heard it? I will reply, “Yes dear ! I heard it on a cassette” :’)

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