I usually emerge at Hauz Khas Metro Station drained and hungry. The day has been long – though I guess a case could be made for my reduced vitality – and the metro ride has been nothing short of a lesson in survival. As each day passes by, I get increasingly more adept at holding on to the hand-rests, manoeuvering my way to the door and attending to important calls/messages without risking damage to my phone. When I travel home from the station – a trip that takes a good half an hour at best – I turn to FM Radio to let music exercise its healing powers. Not an altogether wise decision, as I proceed to tell you.
The good political leaders of our country usually start off my de-stressing exercise, prosecuting their predecessors and promising the moon in their reign. I visualize a country free of corruption and crime, poverty and hunger. In the battlefield of sorts I hear, one campaign after the other filling up air time, this visualization gives me more stress than I had attempted to alleviate. I switch channels.
Gandi baat, he claims. Gandi gandi gandi baat, she reiterates. Oh, they probably mean some of those particularly absurd campaigns I was referring to. I have had enough of those anyway so I switch channels again. The traffic around makes a huge row; people beep their vehicle horns like there’s no tomorrow. I attempt to tune the noise out and focus on the music. Main tera amplifier, someone sings in an unnatural accent. Who said I needed one? Amplifier – fier, he insists. Like I failed to get him the last time around, the patronizing fool. This time when I switch channels, I am less hopeful.
In the next series of attempts, I encounter someone who explains to me the merits of matching saris and their “fauls”, someone who teaches me primary school environmental science by claiming water (“paani”) is blue and some out-of-hand, already shameless kids pressing demands to continue being besharam all night. My frustration with “music” climbs unparalleled heights and I become more aware of how drained and hungry I had emerged at the metro station. When, as a last-ditch measure, I switch channels again, a disgruntled, poorly mechanized voice claims he takes in chaar bottle vodka every day.
Really, all those who advocate listening to music to de-stress should add a disclaimer. Carry your music around (read MP3s of tracks you have handpicked as per your taste) or listen at your own risk.