Friday, September 28, 2018

My Musical Notes 7 - ToTo

A huge discovery and a big step forward in my musical life was the discovery of the music store Sangeet Sagar at Basheerbagh. I have no idea how I discovered the store but everything about Sangeet Sagar was brilliant to me. Those days they would have a huge display of vinyl records and a number of cassettes. A large Hindi section, but most interestingly for me, a large western music collection.

I would sidle into the shop and hang around at the back while more important people came and finished their work. I would check out the records, the many groups I had heard of and had not. Normally I would be ignored or hustled by the other salesmen but I remember one tall salesperson, complete with Amitabh Bachchan hairdo, who would ask me what I wanted, play out songs, make recommendations. Sangeet Sagar would record an album for 10 bucks on one side of a C90 tape. And that meant that I would not have to spend an entire 45 - 60 bucks on a cassette. The recording was pretty good too and the collection, really nice.
So it became a ritual.

Something I would do all by myself and fully enjoy every moment. I'd first find myself an empty cassette (which would cost 30 bucks perhaps). I'd take the bus at 4 pm from ESI Hospital. 4 pm was important because by the time it would drop me at Control Room near Public Gardens the evening would be mellow. The sun would be slanting across the gardens and I would love walking across the IT bhavan, past all the shops and then reach Sangeet Sagar. I would spend some time figuring out which albums I wanted to be recorded and then finally go with the man's suggestion. The groups I got introduced to thanks to Sangeet Sagar were phenomenal - Men at Work, Yes, REO Speedwagon, Tina Charles, Toto and so many more. Listen to a couple of songs, give him the tape, pay money, get a receipt and walk back contentedly to Public Gardens bus stop. By now the sun would be just setting. Get a window seat and enjoy the ride back home. Couldn't wait till the delivery day and then repeat the same procedure.

Toto then. And more specifically Toto IV. I had no clue about this band and never heard of it. Just went with the recommendation of my friend and got hooked to the two huge numbers 'Rosanna' and 'Africa'. Incredible sound. Toto remains one of the greatest and most serendipitous discovery of mine and their music still resonates. I could listen to Toto anytime by myself.

A favorite Toto memory. One time when we were all partying at home, I was playing requests by all my friends. Trina, Madhav's American wife, completely removed from our culture made one request - 'do you have Rosanna by Toto? Yes maam. She was impressed. I was impressed with myself. I don't think I shared Toto with anyone else but Trina surely gave me a Toto moment in my life.

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