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Gen Next: 'How music shapes my life'
Susan Mathen

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June 20, 2008

Ours is a country where the people have an inherent love for music. But where parents once encouraged and even insisted that their children take up an instrument or hone their singing capabilities, today's hectic pace of life has finally caught up -- today's youngsters hardly have time to pursue music, let alone truly appreciate it.

There are many, however, who still have that innate love and need for music in their lives. Here is what they have to say about it and how they fill their days with melody:

Choose a set of songs to shape your day

Getting your music to travel with you everywhere is something that's been made possible mp3 players. Today, most youngsters load their favourite songs onto their players and listen to them while they go about their day.

Says 24-year-old Jayant Talpade, who works in a bank in New Delhi, "I try hard to give the same amount of time to my music as when I was in college. I thrive on my iPod Shuffle -- it's on when I go jogging every morning and when I'm travelling to and from the office."

Jayant is just one of a growing number of youngsters who tune in to music whenever they can.

The FM generation

Radio has made a comeback and in an amazing way. Most of the metros and large towns have their own set of radio channels to tune in to. The listenership varies from city to city and so do the peak hours, but one thing is for sure -- radio is here to stay.

Says Mumbaiite Shriya Tandel, 25, "I switch off from the chaos of the city by plugging in my earphones and listening to the radio. It also helps me cope with the stress of my marketing job; I travel by train and I love leaning back and watching the city whiz by as I listen to songs, it leaves me without a care in the world. I feel lost when I forget my headphones at home once in a while."

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Music for relaxation

A number of schools that help people de-stress and cope with the hectic pace of life have cropped up lately and many of them use music as the means to this end.

Says Priya Mathew, 38, who runs Natyayoga classes in Kochi, "I've combined music and subtle dance moves with yoga to get my students to relax. The music plays a key role in the process and I'm very choosy about the songs, picking them out from different genres and in different languages."

Bollywood music and partying

Coming to more mainstream music, it's safe to say Bollywood songs have a way of taking over the nation. With each new movie release, songs start blaring from the radio, in homes, shops, restaurants and nightclubs. People love listening and dancing to these numbers.

For Ekant Gupta, who slogs all day and sometimes all night at his sales job in Mumbai, this kind of 'jhintak' music, as he chooses to call it, is best. "I prefer to go to one of the many pubs where they play Bollywood music," he says. "According to me, that's the kind of music that brings out the real Indian in all of us. I've seen a lot of people pretend to like Western songs, but you should see how they start dancing and enjoying themselves when our very own Bollywood beats start to play!"

Evolving tastes

Everyone has their own musical preferences and a minority of people in our country prefers non-commercial music. Genres like jazz, rock and world music may be popular all over the world, but in India they appeal only to a select few. Youngsters who enjoy such music like taking in performances where such talent is showcased and prefer to hang out at places that play their kind of music.

Says 28-year-old Neela Jairam, a Bangalore-based research analyst, "I love that I have WorldSpace (an international satellite radio subscription) at home. I switch the channels according to my mood and enjoy listening to different kinds of music from around the globe. Music is always on at my house and it helps me unwind."

Religious and spiritual pursuits

Says Lucknow resident Divya Jagadeesh, "I love listening to religious music and devotional songs -- I also listen to instrumental pieces and bhajans while I meditate." Divya acquired this habit after attending a meditation camp three years ago. At 27, she is an Ayurvedic consultant and believes that she is calm by nature thanks to her taste in music.

And Divya is not the only one. There are many who feel closer to God and mentally at peace when they listen to certain kinds of music.

Songs, melody and rhythm serve to soothe our senses, to heighten feeling and to bring on emotion. The power of music to dictate one's mood is truly amazing. You just need to use it the right way to make you feel good about yourself, so plug in those headphones and start enjoying it as best you can today.

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