While cleaning and rearranging my books the other day, without thinking I selected the OST of The Namesake to play on the phone. Perhaps because it is mostly instrumental with just a handful of songs and has always soothed me in the past. Also I needed to focus on the job at hand and get it done. Even though it is one of my favourite activities, working all day, I was beginning to tire. So I needed the music to not be distracting but help me calm down and at the same re-energize, if there is such a thing. When the album reached the end and The Same Song played, I realized I had completely forgotten about its existence all these years even though the same singer (Susheela Raman) had sung another song in the OST and I had listened to just minutes before. It was as if my brain was refusing to connect the dots which is weird to say the least (not a good sign in any universe).
It was as if no time had passed and I remembered the first time I had heard the song. I googled the year the movie had released and I couldn’t believe it’s been over a decade since it released. I can’t be sure of the exact year I read the book as I wasn’t a member of Goodreads then. But I remember reading the book during college and eagerly waiting to see the movie adaptation which I ultimately saw when it came on the TV. (If The Sense of an Ending and A Death in the Gunj didn’t release here now there was not even a sliver of hope of The Namesake releasing then.) I have a vague idea of the timeline. It must be scribbled in one of those notebooks I used as diaries(=journals) then. It will be difficult to mine out information in the old fashioned way, riffling through pages remembering which notebook I wrote what in (I tell you that’s half the battle won). Even if I am orderly because systematic I am not and my memory isn’t what it used to be (the unfortunate truth). Plus my diary handwriting is godawful to say the least, hurriedly jotting down before I forget things and sometimes even I have trouble reading it.
Should I watch the movie or read the book first? Once upon a time there would have been no doubt. How things change. It’s odd that I even have to ask myself this question. It used to be one of my favourite books, and Jhumpa Lahiri, one of my favourite authors. But now I don’t know. I saw her The Lowland many times but didn’t buy it. I am beginning to question if there are some things we can’t return to.
I haven’t thought about the song or heard this song in a really long time, but there I was singing along to the song, not one word amiss. No wonder we were taught rhymes first. It’s really strange what we choose to remember (it’s another story what we can unearth if the conscious and the subconscious work together), how it connects with our psyche and the way it comes back to us altered. In the context of the movie, the song is about alienation and not having a home to come back to but it can be about something left behind in the past and the chasm becoming so wide that you cannot come back to it in the present. Even though you desperately want to.
It’s a beautiful song, lyrical and mellifluous. Listen to it and let me know if it strikes a chord with you.
Behind me the bridges have crumbled
No question of return
Autumn leaves like discarded dreams
Trampled underneath a tide of careless feet
It’s the same song playing
Everywhere I go
It’s like an army marching right through me
Nowhere to go but the horizon
Where, then, will I call my home?