Nostalgia, College and Friends: How KK Helped me Adult

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Nostalgia, College and Friends: How KK Helped me Adult

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

It has been a terrible week for all music lovers. Coping with the demise of Sidhu Moose Wala, both as a music lover and a Punjabi, was tough enough. The loss had barely sunk in when around midnight, a couple days after Moose Wala’s death, the news of KK’s demise broke. As a millennial who was born in the late ‘90s, much of my memory of KK’s music comes from his later years in Bollywood. While getting ready for school in the morning, I would switch on the music channels – the MTVs and the 9XMs of yore – which played songs like Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai and Zara Sa.

Just like Shaan’s voice was associated with Saif Ali Khan and Kumar Sanu’s with SRK, KK and Emraan Hashmi were two names that became synonymous with the singer’s voice. So much so that I was convinced it was Hashmi’s voice all along in the songs. But it was only in the last decade of this new millennium that I learned about the existence of KK and other, usually understated singers like Mohit Chauhan. I instantly felt a tug in KK’s voice and could understand why people older than me would often talk about these artists who were, despite the ubiquity of social media, still reluctant celebrities.

KK’s music felt like a friend who stayed from my middle school years till high school and even went to college with me.

The singer’s music felt like a friend who stayed from my middle school years till high school and even went to college with me. When school ended, friends drifted apart, but KK, his anthems of friendship and life, stayed with me. I discovered his music as a kid – and then rediscovered it as an adult during my college years.  I remember listening to Tu Hi Meri Shabh Hai back when I had a crush on a girl in middle school – I also listened to it when I had my first break-up in college. I remember dancing to Koi Kahe with my cousins at a family wedding as a kid – I also remember jamming to it with my college buddies. There was an innocence to both, KK’s music and quite incredibly his humble personality. Fame can do many things to many people but in his case, it only made him better and humbler. In

We sang Yaaron back in the day and were under the impression that friendship stays forever. Life had other lessons but I still remain hopeful that someday I will experience the friendship that KK sings about in one of his most iconic and loved songs. Pal, on the other hand, changed my perspective on life altogether. I remember it being played on Sony TV during the first season of Indian Idol. It taught me the importance of living in the moment and making memories. Cherishing life, not for what you make of it but also what it can make of you, your friends, your family and everyone who touches it in some way or the other.

In KK’s voice, I have found a resting place, a sense of relief.

In college I had the privilege of attending one of KK’s concerts. I was at that point in my college life where everyone questions the nature and laws of friendship. I was excited to attend KK’s concert but my friend bailing out at the last minute proved to be a bummer. Resigned to my fate, I still went. There are only a few performers who have the craft and ability to make the crowd shed its inhibitions and dance like no one’s watching. To add to the irony of moods, there was also the existence of KK singing Pal, on a day when I felt lonely. This was me discovering a side of self-love that I didn’t quite understand before then. This was KK, telling me, through the simplicity of his song, that all is not lost in life if it does not go to plan. Even the plans that don’t make it are memories we will cherish someday. And I do, especially that concert, and losing myself to his voice.

Can music cure pain? Unlikely. But in KK’s voice, I have found a resting place, a sense of relief. If this is true for someone who learned of the singer after his prime, I can only imagine what KK felt like on campuses and schools in the heyday of his star. In an era where musical tastes were journeys of exchange and friendship, more than just links and swipes. It is no way for an artist to go, but go well KK, your legend will live on as long as there are friendships to pursue and lives to live.

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