To Infinity

The year is 2000. It’s around 2 pm. I frantically enter my PG room and rummage for a cassette with a few songs that have been playing on repeat for the last few days on my Walkman. It’s a compilation that I got made from a corner shop that specialized in compiling songs. They were the T-Series and Universal records for the scores of students residing in the area. This is the Delhi University campus and music was soul for every type of student studying or living here. I was not born to a family that loved or appreciated music a lot, but I had grown up with a keen ear for good music. Melody & lyrics triumphed over anything else for me in music and this year, this day, there was one song on repeat playing inside my head and heart. Cheesy as it may sound today but that year, one song of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali, iconic movie, “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” gave my broken heart a lot of solace. Many years later I cringe thinking how I would be made fun of around the song, “Tadap, tadap ke” that would be playing loud in my room and my raspy voice, trying to match the singer who would later on with all his songs go on to become an integral part of my entire life – Krishnakumar Kunath, my beloved KK.

KK wasn’t just another great voice that my generation may have grown up with. He was a breath of fresh air that emerged in the golden age of Indi Pop, where there were stalwarts like Sonu Nigam, Alicia Chenoy, Mohit Chauhan and Palash Sen. KK was India’s answer to Bryan Adams, if not better, considering that his songs touched the hearts of masses with powerful lyrics and a voice that I still consider will remain unmatched. His first album, with Leslie Lewis as a composer, was an instant blockbuster hit and irony as it may seem, the title song that we all fondly remember is also becoming a tribute to the untimely demise of KK.

But here is where I refuse to give in to the bandwagon of tributes pouring in. I do not think artists every die. Regular people die and pass away but an artist will remain immortal, till there is one person in the world patronising his or her work.

My philosophy as an aspiring artist/creator is simple. I believe, the soul of an artist resides in his/her work and if his/her work survives the nasty test of time, then the body can wither but the soul will remain through the work. Is KK such an artist? He is more than that. His songs will be playing through generations because they reflect life of a lover, a friend, a human state of mind. His voice rendered songs that we can never imagine anyone else to sing in. What we should lament is that we may not get new songs anymore from the same voice, but that also means, we protect the ones that he has created for us and make them immortal. Listen to him in the same way we always did. Sing his songs the same way we would – in bathrooms, with friends, when the heart breaks or heals. Keep listening to him, because we are blessed that we heard a voice like KK, a voice that will remain etched with us for generations. That is why my friend, Krishnakumar Kunnath, our beloved KK is someone who will remain alive till infinity. I will live you my friend and so will the generations to come after me. Thank you for all the songs and helping me survive the autumn of 2000 and many, many seasons after that. I will see you on the other side, hopefully as an artist who leaves his soul behind.

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