1 July 2013

Music World : End of a Musical Era


Clicked the above picture today morning with tears in my eyes. Yesterday was the last day for Music World, Park Street, Calcutta-16. I just lost a part of my youth with the closure of this heaven for music lovers. Stood for some time in front of the closed shutters and all those bittersweet memories of the past 13 years involving Music World flooded my mind. An integral part of my Calcutta has died today. End of a musical era. I was not born during the times of the swinging Sixties and Seventies of Park Street. I have only heard and read about the musical night-life of that golden age with its pub-culture, the Devil-May-Care attitude and the wild psychedelic energy at live music joints like Trinca's, Blue Fox, Moulin Rouge, Mocambo etc. Names like Pam Crain, Usha Uthup, Louis Banks, Carlton Kitto, Lou Majaw, Anton Menezes, Marie Samson, Braz Gonsalves and others used to rock Park Street. Sadly I was not born in that era. In my life, my musical Park Street started with Music World and ended with Some-Place-Else.  

I had first entered Music World in the year 2000 when I was doing my H.S. from St. Xavier's College. In those days a lot of time, after classes got over, was spent inside Music World. The concept of listening to 'free-music' was new to Calcutta and me and my friends made the most out of it, as in those days words like limewire, bittorrent, piratebay and Youtube were alien to us. We used to listen to all the cds in those free listening-posts. 

Music World was something very new to us back then. Everything was arranged properly in a systematic manner. The place was beautiful, elegant and majestic. Yet there was warmth in the atmosphere. We could browse through those endless cassettes and cds at our own comfortable pace, which many times was even slower than a snail's. On so many days we spent like more than an hour inside and left without buying anything. Also Music World always provided us with a "cool" ambiance, free of cost, during those hot summer afternoons.  

Then in those days Music World had these 'lucky-drop-boxes' where names were picked randomly and gifts were announced every hour. Keeping in mind Probability Theorem and remembering the quote, "If you want to be successful then double your failure-rate", I was 'lucky' enough to win the various items at Music World : a t-shirt, a mouse-pad, a friendship-band, discount coupons as high as 50%, free cds/cassettes etc. Once even I received a call from Music World on landline phone informing me that I had won a gift. 

Back then cassettes were still very much in use. In the 90's I used to buy from Rashbehari's 'Melody' and Esplanade's 'Symphony'. But since 2000 I only bought cassettes from Music World and nowhere else. Even today I still have the 2002 A.R. Rahman album "Bombay Dreams", which my First-Love had bought for me from Music World. When we were dating, we went to Music World quite a few times together. Once I was busy listening to Nachiketa Chakraborty's new song "Ekla Choltey Hoi" in one of those free listening-boxes in the bengali section, and she wanted to leave but I wanted to stay back for some more time and listen to that song again. She got a bit pissed off. It took me some time to comfort her again. On another day there was this gorgeous woman inside Music World who looked somewhat like Amisha Patel, and I was involuntarily staring at her, and then my First-Love noticed it and got very very very angry.  

Inside Music World, in those days, we also got Baazee.com coupons which allowed free internet surfing at Junction Cybercafes. In those days I didn't have a computer at home so these coupons were prized items. Junction Cybercafes were spread in many parts of the city but my favourite one was at Ballyunge-phari. Mind you, in those ancient times there were no Orkut, Facebook or Twitter. To meet new people (read girls), what we had were Yahoo Messenger Chatrooms and a pre-historic chat-site strangely named MIRC32.  

In those days I used to go to Music World so often that I almost knew every staff member by name. Whenever I had to meet someone in Park Street, I would ask that person to wait in front of Music World. From there we would go to Dreamland Restaurant, or Barista, or OlyPub, or any other place. I only bought cassettes from Music World as I could not afford to buy the highly priced cds and dvds. I also loved their carry-packets a lot. During those days I used to collect them. I still have all those packets. Never re-used them again. Even my First-Love used to buy cassettes/cds from Music World and used to give me her share of the packets. I still love the colour and texture of those packets. Today I have a huge collection of them. I will always keep this collection of Music World packets with me.  

Once the comedian Mir hosted a quiz contest inside Music World. It was a Sunday. The year was probably 2000. I was there with a friend. I knew many of the answers and had raised my hand quite a few times, but Mir never selected me. Saw a very pretty girl there. Mir obviously asked her to give an answer to a question related to Bollywood. She successfully answered it. Mir gave her a gift and asked her name. Her name was Paromita, if I remember correctly. She was wearing a blue top and jeans. She was of good height and had straight hair. Her face was angelic. During that time Calcutta was going through Hrithik-mania. But this girl said that she did not like Hrithik and was a SRK fan. Though I never saw that girl again in my life, still, even today after 13 years I remember her distinctly. 

On 5th April 2000, Hrithik Roshan had touched Music World with his extra lucky sixth-finger. It was like a Greek-God had descended straight on Park Street. That moment could only be compared with that psychedelic, mystical, ecstatic, G-spotting divine-orgasmic and mass-Orgy-licious scene from the Tom Tykwer film "Perfume - A Story of a Murderer". Park Street saw its greatest traffic jam on that day. Women of all ages had gone crazy, mad, hysterical and horny-licious at the sight of Hrithik Roshan on Park Street.     

In 2005, I produced a music album titled "Reincarnation" for the bengali rock band "Rikterskale". Though we had our official music launch at Planet M at Camac Street, because the Music World stage was not available on that day, still it was great to see our album on the familiar racks of Music World. Our songs used to play inside the iconic shop during evening. It was a lovely feeling. Sometimes I would go there myself in the evening, when it was most crowded, and play our songs, especially the first track "Bhoy".    

Last year I was involved with the production of the music album "Hridi Bheshey Jaai". This time we had our official music launch at Music World. The album comprised of Joy Goswami's poems, recorded in his own voice, and songs sung and written by the journalist Sudip Bandopadhyay. All the print and TV media were there. We had an awesome programme. Apart from Joy da and Sudip da, Bratya Basu, Lopamudra Mitra and Prasun Bhaumik were there too. Again it was great to see our album on the familiar racks of Music World

Today, as I am writing this Blog-Post, I am terribly sad, depressed and feeling very nostalgic about the good old days. A spectacular landmark has gone from the legendary Park Street. A part of me has died yesterday. During my Xaverian years around 2004, saturday nights were usually spent inside Some-Place-Else and Tantra. In those days the nightclubs and discotheques of Calcutta used to be open till dawn. Many times we used to come out of Park Hotel around 3:30am and walk throughout the length and breadth of Park Street. When our legs got tired, then we used to sit on the steps of Music World and wait for the first ray of sunlight. Those were magical moments. I will never forget those saturday nights. 
And this saturday night it rained and rained and rained. The rains continued till the next day. As if the Gods were weeping uncontrollably on the last day of Music World.

PS : Me and my generation are responsible for the death of Music World. We are to be blamed. We accept the crimes that we have committed. One request to the RPG Group is that even if a coffee shop is opened in place of Music World, atleast keep one section or one wall dedicated to music cds in memory of the golden days of Music World...



  1. U have written so well....apart from enjoying the free music at music world, it was the most popular landmark for friends to meet.
    We still call it music world though the shop is no more...the memory still lingers in our heart

  2. thanks for reading. Music World will always occupy a special place in my heart. I really miss it very much...