The mysterious power of old Bollywood LPs
There are few things that put me in such a nostalgic mood than a vinyl record of Bollywood songs from my childhood. I recently discovered it is the same for my elderly aunt, for whom records from the 1950s bring back a mixture of precious and painful memories.
My family has few historic mementos.
We have no furniture or jewellery passed down generation after generation. Both my mother’s and father’s families lost what few belongings they had in the terrifying rush to escape the violence of Partition in 1947.
So when I need a reminder of my origins and history, there’s only one experience I can readily turn to for familiarity and comfort. On a shelf in my flat is a collection of roughly 50 LPs, or records, etched with several generations’ favourite Hindi songs from classic Bollywood films.
Some came from my parents, who bought them in New York City’s Indian district after they emigrated in 1974. Others I’ve bought in charity shops around London. I even found an Indian LP in a dusty antique shop in Casablanca.
I love the shape of records – the smooth, round thinness of them.
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