I was 16 in 2018 and I used to listen to songs on my smartphone.Thinking back to that time, the songs I remember are mostly about love. When I was 16, the music I discovered taught me there was more to love stories than boy-meets-girl and living happily ever after. These songs taught me about love for your lover as well as other kinds of love and loving the people who are present in your life. They taught me about life as much as love. Ae Ajnabi (Dil Se, 1998)The first time I listened to this song, I was around 15 and watching Dil Se with my brother. The song talks about one-sided love and it felt relatable. I remember lingering over the meaning of the lyrics and realising the phrase “doodh dhuli masoom kali” reminded me of a girl from 2nd grade. (My first love? Maybe.) This song made me realize you can fall in love and not be able to confess your feelings to the person. Imagination (Shawn Mendes)This is still one of my favourite songs. (Challenge me to an acapella?) This song reminded me of the crush I had on a friend in 2nd grade, of us sitting and eating together in school. By the time I was 16, we were no longer close, but I imagined me and her having lunch together in a park, and suddenly — like in a musical — I would start singing this song and then there’d be a montage of us getting married, having bachche and stuff. A life fully settled. In case you were wondering, we’ve completely lost touch now. Iktara (Wake up Sid, 2011) When I watched this film, I’d just passed 10th standard. I was opting for medical but I wasn’t sure I wanted to become a doctor. My parents didn’t put pressure on me, but there was a kind of competition between my friends jo ki dhokebaaz nikle. They kind of talked me into choosing medicine, but ended up choosing other careers for themselves. Yes, I do regret my decision because I feel I am more than a person who keeps giving exams. I listen to this song, and it feels like there is a lot for me out there in the world. I imagine myself sitting by the seas in Mumbai, like Konkona is in the song. The movie also taught me to not be a brat like Ranbir Kapoor and be grateful for the things you have. Perfect (Ed Sheeran)The thing with some of Ed Sheeran’s songs is that whether or not you have a partner, you can FEEL the song. I would listen to this song and in my head, I’d create scenarios in which I’d imagine I have a relationship like the one in the song. I never had a lot of friends, and out of those very few, I had this one friend who was imperfectly perfect. She used to bring sweets and food for me and we used to do our homework together. As I grew up, boys-boys ka group bana and girl-girls ka group bana, so we just drifted apart. I guess that’s why I find myself going back to this song. Spring Day (BTS)This song will always be very close to my heart as my best friend sent this song to me and I remember crying while listening to it for the first time. It felt like his letter to me. We didn’t know Korean and we used to say every time “bogo shipda” (I miss you) which is from the song’s lyrics. In 2018, my best friend’s father got transferred to another city. We lost touch after a few months and it’s been 2 years since we talked. When I listen to this song, I remember him, especially when I think of the lyrics of the song:“Yes I hate you, you left me, but I have never stopped thinking about you not even a dayHonestly, I miss you but I’ll erase you ‘cause it hurts less than to blame you.” (translated from Korean)I still do not have as close a friend as him. I miss him. Just in case you read this, I want to say that “I miss you a lot, chingu!” Apki Nazron ne samjha (Anpadh, 1962) Lata Mangeshkar’s voice gives me goosebumps. My favourite line from the lyrics is, “Kyu main toofan se daru, mere saahil aap hai”. There was a girl in my tuition class who loved old Hindi film songs. She made me listen to this song when we were doing our homework one day. Then one day, I found my mother listening to this song on the radio and I started thinking about the tuition classes, the fun of walking to the tuition centre, talking to my friends, laughing about things, ranting about school and the girl I mentioned above. I knew her social media account and so I texted her. We ended up talking about the song, how we became friends, about growing up… . Kho Gaye Hum Kahaan (Baar Baar Dekho, 2016)This song made me think about how my adulthood would be. Would I still have the smile that I have now? Would I have friendships I have now? I used to think adults are carefree because they don’t have to go to school and they’re free from feeling pressure. Now that I am entering adult life, this new phase of my life where my career is becoming my priority and the pressure is increasing, it’s strange to think of that old idea of adulthood. Now I know nothing is certain or pre-planned. Sparrow (Tom Odell)There was a point when I was 15, when I started seeing myself through the eyes of others and it was around that time that I came across this song. Nothing had ever felt so relatable. Back then, I used to fall sick a lot and because of my medical condition, I missed a lot of school. Every time I would rejoin school, my classmates would bully me, calling me “bimari” and stuff. No one talked about mental health back then and there was no one to talk to.The lyrics of this song hit you at another level of hard when you are a teenager because they tap into that feeling of restlessness and loneliness.“Why sparrow why, won’t you tell me why I am sadSing us both a melody the best that you canFly sparrow fly won’t you sit on my head Sing it in a language we both can understand” Matargashti (Tamasha, 2015) I was addicted to this song at one time because the song never failed to put me in a happy place even though I was not a very happy person when I was 16. Just putting on my headphones and listening to the song released my worries a little. When I was experiencing bad things, I would look for the smallest things that can give me happiness and this was that song. I loved to dance to this song after coming back home from school. I used to straight go to my room and dance on this alone with my earphones on. Pashmina (Fitoor, 2016)There is an embarrassing story related to this song. Once, I was copying the steps of this song in my room and my mom entered! She just burst out laughing and I felt like I was drenched with shame. It was very embarrassing. But this song was a big part of my interest in music and dancing at the time. Agar Tum Saath Ho (Tamasha, 2015When I first watched this film and the song came, and the way Deepika and Ranbir enacted the scenes in the song — I cried so hard. In fact, I was crying so much that my brother was like, “Are you okay?” If you listen to the song and you have lost someone you love, you cannot just deny the feelings. Yes, I was an emotional fool for a mere 16-year-old. Muskaanein Jhoothi Hai (Talash, 2012)When you are a teenager, you trust every person and then someone breaks your trust. And you don’t even know what to do. I have had my share of heartbreaks when it comes to friends. As I have told you, I had very few friends and among those, a few of them my heart. I felt like I would never be able to trust anyone again. I think that’s why I still have trust issues and I am not ready to open up with people easily. This song was there for me when I realised even your bestest friend can become something else behind your back. So thank you Kareena, for always reminding me to be careful! Prashant is an 18-year-old from Mahendragarh, Haryana who is struggling between NEET exams and the dreams of becoming a rockstar.
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