Ranchi. He might look like yet another 33-year-old corporate executive in first look, but Rajesh Kumar is not your everyday elder brother our uncle type of guy. He claims to be a teenager at heart, who still enjoys the Hindi rap songs of Baba Sehgal. Not a single day has passed since he passed out of his high-school when Rajesh has not sung Thanda Thanda Paani.
“Main five star hotel pehli baar gaya, maine dekha paani se bhara swimming pool, aaya manager, bola baithiye please sir sir sir, aapki sewa mein main haazair hoon, kuch farmaiye, boliye kya aapko chahiye?” Rajesh burst into the lyrics as soon as we asked him about his favorite song, which he maintains as being the best ever narrative of a 5-Star hotel and duties of a manager.
Rajesh still remembers how he had become famous in his high-school for singing this song and used to sing it during birthday parties of all his friends. Rajesh had learnt many other rap songs of that era by writing down their lyrics on paper after repeatedly hitting the pause and rewind button of his first audio cassette player. He was a sensation among his classmates.
He still remembers the lyrics of most of those songs. In fact he croons them daily even now in his office, much to the chagrin of his co-workers, who believe Rajesh is a nutcase.
“Who enjoys such songs these days? Looks like this dude has been time traveling!” complained one of Rajesh’s co-workers.
But Rajesh rejects such criticisms and accuses his colleagues and friends of having forgotten their roots.
“Can any of them honestly claim not to have bought Baba’s audio-cassette or have not got this song recorded on a blank cassette from the local cassette seller? What crap are they talking now? They have changed under peer pressure!” Rajesh protested.
Rajesh also loves the song Love Rap from the 1994 Bollywood movie Krantiveer, but his all-time favorite song is surprisingly Manjula by Baba Sehgal and not Thanda Thanda Paani. After persistent questioning, we found out that Rajesh had this huge crush on a girl with the same name living in his colony.
“She used to smile and avert her eyes whenever I used to sing Manjula in the birthday parties. I loved her so much,” recalled a wistful Rajesh, who went silent for some time before adding, “Her house number was 7-B.”
“She is married now. I guess she lives in Bangalore with her husband and one son,” Rajesh said as we wrapped up the interview.