Today I am grateful for beautiful music 🎶 and the gift of experiencing insanely talented people live! I grew up exclusively on spiritual music or bhajans and kirtans and my parents were diligent about maintaining our spiritual consciousness through this practice. Many older friends may recall that my family appreciated music only in this strict context and we were largely forbidden, growing up, from listening to any Bollywood. As soon as I turned 14 however, with the magic of the then nascent internet and public library CD rentals (seriously!), I began exploring whatever I could get my hands on. It wasn’t much but through lots of pushing, few arguments and the eventual support of my mom, we were allowed to listen to select music. Soon YouTube came about and with it, bootleg films and shoddy recordings of the initial Indian Idol episodes which were instrumental in educating me in both old and contemporary Bollywood. I was hooked and in college, upped my game further. While I agree with my parents that music can uplift ones’ spiritual consciousness, over time we have come to agree that all music is rooted in talent given by the divine and appreciating that is in itself appreciating the creation of the Lord.
I’ve been an Arijit Singh fan since my senti Bollywood affair began (it’s a completely different category in my opinion), first with “Dua” and then, like the rest of the world, with “Tum Hi Ho”. Concerts in general are fun experiences but the Indian music industry is differentiated from the West in that playback singers are required to be amazing both in studio and live. If you get a chance to hear Shreya Ghoshal or A.R. Rahman, they effortlessly hit every single note in their songs (the more difficult, the more exciting), live, in their concerts. Seeing Arijit live was the zenith of my fangirling and the perfect opportunity to sing at the top of my lungs until I was hoarse. I was additionally lucky to go with my Bay Area Desi crew who helped normalize the general screaming and proclamations of love by making it from all of us and not just me 😉