The Collectibles Then-Cassettes-2

The Collectibles Then-Cassettes-1I am a music lover.

I love films.

Music that soothes soul, transcending boundaries, meeting ages, staying with the mood..

Films with brilliant narratives, of any genre, mastering the art and the craft of cinema-making, with meaningful cinema at its centre..

And I love to own titles before watching movies. And I can say my collection is good on that scale and is growing.

Movies I still watch, the old masterpieces and the new creations. That I do regularly. Yes, I don’t like visiting theatres for it because it impedes my liberty while watching and reading a movie.

With music that is not the scene. Enjoying music and songs has become random, limiting mostly from the days when I used to build my music collection. Very few contemporary songs have entered my playlists since then. Nothing on buying the titles.

Anyway, in the age of digital music, tablet computers and smartphones, the need to own titles physically has lost its charm. And it didn’t happen gradually. In fact, given the price points of cassettes (or compact cassettes or audio tapes or simply tapes) and easy availability of MP3 compact discs (CDs), the transition from collecting the cassettes to CDs or DVDs (Digital Versatile Disc) never happened and was never even felt for.

But back then in 1990s, when I started collecting, cassettes were in vogue, were the in thing. And by the time I stopped it in late 1990s when CDs were taking over and I was investing more in books, I had a collection of over 1000 titles, from film music to private albums, from Classical Indian Music to Western Rock and Pop, from Indipop to Ghazals, From Sufi to Soul, from Heavy Metal to Soft Rock, from Devotional to Inspirational and what not.

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Unfortunately, the titles from the collection are not of much use now except being the ‘collectibles’. I haven’t tried playing the titles to check it but what else can be said when the magnetic plastic tapes were left unused for so many years, and that too, without proper care. I rue it now, even if it was not practically possible for me. Being so many in number and the cassette players fast losing market and place in the psyche, it was never a feasible idea to carry them, when coupled with the prospect of easy availability of CDs and memory cards/micro cards converting cellphones into music players. Availability of micro digital players like iPod only added to such sentiments.

But, even if many of them cannot be played any more, they share best of my memories of adolescence and I am not going to dump them. I can still preserve them in the physical form and format they are in. Yes, weathering the neglect and being over 15 years old, the look on many of them is scratchy and hazy now, but still, they make for my collection. I will try and see that most of them can be playable again. Because they personify memories of my initial creative urges.

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©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –

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