Back in the year 2000, a friend of mine had lent me a cassette of Zubeen Garg (Album: Pakhi) during a Chemistry tuition class. And in no time I became a fanatic of this writer/singer/composer. Oh, you don’t know Zubeen, right? Remember the song Ya Ali from Gangster? He was the singer. He sang some other songs too, like Mere Watan from Fiza, and Dilruba Dilnasheen from Namaste London. And
thousand hundred other commercials and bollywood songs where he gave the backing vocals. Anyways, till that time, that is “Y2K”, I did not have a single assamese album at my home. Except for some Bhupen Hazarika albums that my father bought. Back then I’d listen to all Bhupen Hazarika, Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas, Bollywoood, and some limited English artists like Michhael Jackson, Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, and some other “rock bands” like Backstreet Boys, Savage Garden, MLTR and all. Come on, everybody has had that stage! And just then I got a new taste – Zubeen Garg! The sensation. The Assamese Bryan Adams! Wow! Romantic/sad/angry lyrics, rock element, some poetic gems, what more an adolescent boy could wish for? Specially a boy with inclination towards poems and other “softer” feeling and who was just getting introduced to the “dark emotions” of human mind? So I got hooked. And then I collected each and every “modern song” of him. I emphasized on the “modern song” part, coz I think for every single “modern song” that he sang, he sang at least one hundred (maybe more) folk songs in different dialects. In that genre, he STILL is undisputed. I think.
Whatever that was, I became a big time addict of Zubeen. My father used to mock for the change in my taste of music, and I used to retort. Very angrily. I even made my father buy me a different music system only because my then music player did not support MP3 CDs; and I could get all of Zubeen’s songs in a single pirated MP3, whereas buying Audio CDs were out of question.
My idolization continued for the next three years. Then I left home for my engineering. And that was exactly the time when Zubeen had started his transition – from self composed/(mostly) self written stuff to “only” singing part. There were other musicians coming up. And that is when he lost it all. Zubeen died. For me, at least. Whatever is there now, is a Zubeen that I despise. Yes, after that period, he did come up with a nice album called “Boroxun” (meaning: Rain). I think that was sometime around 2006. But that is it. And I am sure, his attitude had a bigger role in his “death”. What is more disgraceful is the fact that he never realized that he is not Jim Morrison, before coming to his shows to face thousands of his fans. Fanatics all were. He should have known, he cannot just turn up dead drunk in every show, specially after giving all those crappy music. He should have known when to stop. He should have concentrated on recreating that magic. He failed us, at least me. I still carry his song “Tumi nidiya muk morom bur” with me anytime. Those were the days, Zubeen, those were the days! Now it’s all nothing but nostalgia!
PS: I do not follow Zubeen now, if he has come up with something good in the past one-two years, I am unaware and so must be pardoned. This post is based on my experiences till 2 years back. His official music career started from 1994, and I followed him since 2000, for 5 years almost. Sometimes, I still listen to his old songs and I love them.