Dear Yo Yo Honey Singh,
I am writing this open letter to express my gratitude for the inexplicable way in which you have changed the life of our kids. Not a day passes in my life when I do not see the impact of your poetic songs and soulful music on their language, which has become extremely colourful, and their deliberations that have become centred on profound subjects like vodka, short skirts, suck and rhyming four-letter words.
What the fish, you would say. But I am really indebted to you for introducing a five-year-old and his equally impressionable elder brother to the secret garden of life at an early age.
My five-year-old, for instance, knows what many discover much later in life: that you can dance saari raat after drinking char botal of vodka. Though, I am of the opinion that much of this dancing would be done lying senselessly supine after the first bottle of your prescribed mood-maker.
One of the perils of urban life is the unexpected, unannounced assault on the ears you experience when you pass our streets and somebody lets out expletives that have become the real alphabet of our lingua franca. By bringing choicest abuses right into our homes, through your songs, you have saved us from the embarrassment of explaining to kids the meaning and métier of India’s street-language. Now that they are so used to hearing them in your songs, kids can easily go out in the mad, bad world without getting an aural shock. Perhaps, they are even capable of shooting a few back.
Innocence is one of the privileges of childhood. Not so long ago, parents, teachers and guardians would do everything possible to ensure that children do not lose it before the time is right. Clearly, the approach was flawed.
I remember once my classmates wanted to dance to the beats of ‘Chadh Gayo Re Paapi Bichua’ at our school’s annual function. But the principal of our convent rejected it, saying the song had erotic undertones, without bothering to explain what erotic meant.
On another occasion, I remember a friend being walloped by his father for listening to ‘Jumma Chumma’ at home on his cassette player and on another an entire class being made to kneel down for singing ‘Chabi kho jaaye’ during a class antakshri.
Two decades ago, when Govinda sarkao-ed his khatiya, there was so much criticism that in one of his next films, he had to apologetically explain on-screen that ‘Maine jo sarkayee khatiya, aap ko laga bada ghatiya.’ And Karisma Kapoor had to turn into a Baby after people screamed her sexy-sexy was ugly.
Now, going by the noise that you hear at homes, on TV channels and at school functions and the stupor among those who would have protested a decade ago, you seem to have sent custodians of our next generation’s childhood to some noisy discotheque of the world, armed obviously with your latest collection.
Nobody is complaining, nobody is objecting. And, perhaps, rightly so. For wouldn’t you have sung back, ‘#$% mein dum hai to band karwa lo?
So, thank you for making Choli ke peechey kya hai sound like a bhajan in comparison with what you sing. Twenty years after we found it difficult to listen to that song, we can at least now turn up the volume in public.
Music is meant to introduce listeners to the mellifluous rhythms of life. And a song’s lyrics are for many the first introduction to poetry. But your songs put no such load on the mind or the soul. Your psychedelic beats and zany lyrics are aimed at making the listener inebriate, gyrate and titillate.
With your techno-babble, you are creating a generation of youngsters and children who would never know that anything other than what you create could be music, anything more than what you write could be poetry and anything except you croon could be singing.
Thank you for helping me save the money I would have spent on making my children discover the poetry of Saahir, the cadences of Khayyam and the eccentric melody of Kishore.
This morning, I tried to introduce my elder son, with the ulterior motive of weaning him from your songs, to Madan Mohan and his classics. This is how it went:
“Where is the music? How can we dance? I can just hear a woman sing (Lata Mangeshkar singing Naina Barse). Can we now play Ise kehte hain hip-hop?”
“Could you please turn down the volume a bit? I can’t understand a word of it (Rafi singing Rang aur noor ki baraat).”
Finally, I tried to explain how great masters sang their compositions. As soon as Madan Mohan started singing ‘Mai ri,’ the Yo-Yo fan derisively asked how many of them had the composer sung? A few, I replied.
‘Hunh, what’s the big deal?” “Yo-Yo sings all his songs.”
Thank you, Yo-Yo, for ridding our children of the burden of our legacy. I can now throw away my collection of vinyls, cassettes and CDs. You would ensure that ‘party yun hi chalegi.’
~ Sandipan Sharma