It’s no surprise that I love music. If you know me well, you’ll know my playlists go from R&B and rock to country, metal, Swahili, desi, pop and more.
I believed it was something that just happened over time. We listened to a lot of country music at home and while my tastes changed as I got older, my appreciation for beats, lyrics, voices, harmonies, soul, rhythm, bass – it all just got stronger.
Then the other day over dinner, we watched an episode of the awesomeness also known as Miss Marvel.
The end credits played and as I absent-mindedly moved to the kitchen, I heard a voice singing that my heart recognized. And such was the stirring soulfulness of the song that not only did I recognize it, but it hit me with a train of emotion.
I was a kid again, sitting with Dad as he made me listen to a woman singing on our cassette player. He told how talented she was and to listen to how she used her voice like an instrument. I wasn’t so sure I liked it, but I listened anyway. And eventually, I heard what he wanted me to hear. As I got older, I appreciated the magic that is the voice of Abida Parveen.
It wasn’t just an introduction to music I had yet to appreciate.
It was a lesson in acceptance of cultures I didn’t necessarily understand, but were beautiful nonetheless. It was a reminder that India and Pakistan, at the heart of it all, weren’t that different. In fact, our differences made us stronger. It was a gentle window into how my Dad viewed the world then and how he chooses to view it now as well. That memory was a gentle nudge towards a journey I still travel today.
Coke Studio. Miss Marvel. My Dad. All in their own way, appreciating and understanding the same things.
It's taken me a long time to realise my love for world music started with Dad all those years ago. I will be forever grateful.
As for the song that started it all...here you go.