letters from afar #1




The last song I listened to before I read your letter was the “Intro” to Alt-J’s second album. As much as I’d like to talk about that great song (probably one of the best intros to any album), it was not the last song I listened to before writing this letter, so that doesn’t count.

So I’ll talk about “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party” by The Beatles. You might be wondering if this is actually the last song I heard, probably due to three particular reasons.

  1. This song is easy to talk about.
  2. I must have picked the song at random.
  3. I must not be really interested in this conversation of ours and picked a song by the biggest band in the world, because that’s what came to my mind first.

 Now, I can’t prove to you that I’ve actually listened to the song before writing this (instant messengers would really help in this case, but we don’t want that do we?) but in case you’re wondering, here are some points that should convince you that I’m not lying.

  1. The Beatles is my favourite band. I spent three years of college only listening to them.
  2. Beatles for Sale is my favourite album.
  3. I never lie when it comes to The Beatles.
  4. The Beatles.

Simple and straightforward.

I used to listen to this song mostly after midnight during my undergrad days. I like the way it begins with a happy country-like acoustic intro but then takes a sad turn afterwards. John leaves us with a sad ending and George with a melancholy outro.

This song reminds me of a party in a grand house. Sure, The Beatles might have partied like us (do you party?) in a small semi-furnished or a completely naked unfurnished house with a 15watt guitar amp for loudspeakers (I might have gone too specific with the amp) but I always imagine the party to be happening in a mansion where people are dressed in formal attire.

I like the song even more because even though John feels out of place at the party because his girlfriend doesn’t show up, he still decides to have a few drinks as a sign of courtesy.

There’s also a big courtyard and a garden where John walks across after he leaves the party. Sometimes, I imagine this particular scene to be like the party my mentor had years back where people were madly intoxicated and baked as a cake. (An understatement!) And walking towards John groggily to pat him on his back or tell him a nonsensical joke as he walks out of the place frustrated and miserable.

Do you like The Beatles? Or do you prefer The Rolling Stones?
You can only be a fan of one.

And let me know what’s the last song you listened to.



Dear Stranger,

Why did you think I wouldn’t believe you? Call anyone who talks about The Beatles, at least in India, a fan. Moreover, you wrote about a song which a ‘layman’ Beatles fan wouldn’t know of. If you’d written about “Hey Jude” or “Here Comes the Sun” or “All You Need is Love” then you would have left me thinking.

You must have probably guessed by now that I’m a Beatles fan too. (Call me ignorant but I don’t know a single song of The Stones.) And to convince you that I am, I’ve already decided that a fairly unknown Beatles song called “The Inner Light” would be secretly added to the ceremonial playlist at my wedding. George and his Indian tunes…I’m even thinking of adding his devotional songs as well. That would be something, right? To get married while The Beatles are playing?

You’re the first person I know whose favourite Beatles album is Beatles for Sale. There are good songs in it like “I’m a Loser” and “I’ll Follow the Sun”, but I feel Rubber Soul is their best album from their pre-transition phase.

When it comes to my favourite, please don’t cringe when I say this, it’s Sgt. Peppers. I know it’s overhyped and overrated but I don’t care. There’s not a single song which has a perfect ending like ‘’A Day in the Life.’’ And ‘”Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite’’ is my favourite song from the album. The song feels like you’re in a real circus everytime you listen to it. The other song that comes close to this would be “Parade” by Magazine…Sgt. Peppers marked a major change in their tunes, something that would define a new genre, a new era, something that we’d eventually call an era of sex, drugs and rock and roll. And this is coming from someone who hasn’t smoked weed in her entire life. And who doesn’t party.

The last song I listened to was “She Cracked” by The Modern Lovers. It’s a type of song my parents would like. They would dig the lyrics, supporting the boring, ideal man (Rama) principle. But hate the sound. It reminds me of “She Lost Control” by Joy Division. Except this one is very…very tame.

If there’s a song I’d party to, it would be to songs like these, trashy punk music. I fear the day would never arrive though. People around me dance to such atrocious songs.



I feel we share the same taste in music. I am elated.
Also you helped me in discovering a new band.

It’s quite ironical that a band called The Modern Lovers talked about old-age morals. The Who’s would have hated them.


P.S. I wouldn’t understand the situation you’re in right now, but I do know how beseeching parents can be when it comes to marriage. I have a hunch that you’re the same age as I and guessing from your letters, I feel you wouldn’t let them win.


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