Sid and Shaheen prove their "dodginess"!

Shanu and I fooling around the mango trees in my nana and nani's backgarden 
As Sid and I crawled down the national highway on our way to Gurgaon, Sarthak's booming voice on the radio faded away into an old familiar song, "Playing with the Boys".  I shrieked in delight and turned it up, swaying violently with the music and singing along.  Sid sportingly swayed along and bobbed his head while keeping an eye on the rear view mirror.  "Shaheen loved this song. Top Gun was her favourite movie, she's seen it like 23 times"! Sid stopped his bobbing and looked at me, "Damn sidey that sister of your's is.  Really"! I laughed and defended her, "Hey, it was a popular movie ok. We used to have it recorded and she would watch it all the time"! He snorted, "Whatever, really sidey"!  I grinned and continued to belt it out, Kenny Loggins would have been proud!  Shaheen's taste in music from our childhood is a constant joke between Sid and me. Whenever I recognize an old song from her past, I always yell "Shaheen loves this song" and he rolls his eyes and says "God, she's really dodgy"!

Christmas eve night in Tikrit. Shanu had pulled my hair I think!
My "dodgy" sister and I were never close as children. A 5 year age gap between the two where she was forced to be the constant protector of a younger sister who loved to tag along and who learned emotional blackmail at a very young age was wearisome. I was an extremely nervous child, terrified at school, had a severe allergy to eggs and whinged and whined a helluva lot! Putting up with that (and having to be extra vigilant after letting me lick her egg on toast, resulting in me getting my stomach pumped!) was something she had to do (not always angelically), but she hated it a lot of the time.  We grew closer much later, once she was married and the difference between 26 and 21,didn't seem as bad as between 5 and 10 or even 12 and 17!

But what we did bond over was all the music that we listened to while growing up.  This involved equal participation from both of us, loud singing and frenetic dancing blurring the age gap.  Road trips were frequent at the time and my dad used to have a constant supply of music in the car which we sang along to lustily! We belted out "Brother Louie Louie loueeeeyyyy" (the only words we really knew in the song, the rest of the song interspersed with gibberish and an extra loud yell for the words we did know) and then some rubbishy lyrics we made up "Oh she's doin what she's dooeeey. Oh leave it Louie, she's undercover" or perhaps it was "Oh I'm her lovahhhhh"!  Motion sickness and my dad's penchant for zipping crazily down the hair pin bends from Wellington to Bangalore were forgotten while we sang along to our favourite Madonna album, "Papaaaa, don't preach...I'm in trouble deeeeep...and I've made up my minddddd I'm keepin' my babyyy", our voices screeching out the last word and then quickly gasping for breath before the next "Ooh, gonna keep my bay-bayyy, ooooo,ohhh"!

That's Flash Gordon and Dale in the center!
We had video cassettes of old "Top of the Pops" and other music videos and we danced in front of the television, screaming "I'm stilll standinggg" along with Elton John, "Let's Get Physical, physicallll" with Olivia Newton-John or trying to keep up with Dexys Midnight Runners "Come on Eileen, oh I swear now Eileen....something something".  We didn't restrict ourselves to just watching and singing along, but also role playing, choosing one of the singers to imitate.  There was a hierarchy when it came to choosing who we got to be in the video, Shanu choosing her age and wisdom to cheat me out of being what I felt was the prettier girl.  We unfortunately played to stereotypes at the time, fair and blonde being obviously more beautiful than well still fair, but a brunette.  So "Dancing Queen" had Shaheen tossing her hair and bottom about a la Agnetha, while I kept up grumpily as "second fiddle" Frida!  When the music video of a duo of twin sisters, Baccara, came up I was always relegated to playing the one who wore black (they each wore black and white in all their videos!) keeping up with the "white" sister yelling "Yes sir, I can boogie, boogie woogie all night long"! She didn't always play the most glamorous role though.  Her unruly hair was generally chopped short by my mom (or the Air Force barber that cut my dad's hair!) so we still joke about her being "Reem's brother" while we were growing up! Being obviously taller and generally bossier made her perfect for the role of 'Flash Gordon', the hero of an animated sci-fi show we used to watch, while I played his companion Dale, both of us fleeing from evil "Ming the Merciless"!

I learnt all the songs from Top Gun from Shanu, her love for Tom Cruise and yelling "I feel the neeed...the need for speed" strengthened from her 23 or was it 27 viewings of the movie! Sashaying around the bedroom while singing "Lucky lips are always kissing" and all the other Cliff Richard songs we had recorded as a part of a full length concert on video tape; watching Neil Diamond belt out "Sweet Caroline"; or patiently sitting aside while Shanu recorded herself singing Air Supply's "Unchained Melody" - those were the times when we bonded, albeit with her bogus colour prejudiced rules!  Saving up bottle caps for a competition where we won (or rather she won) a Fido Dido t-shirt and a Pepsi Hits audio cassette resulted in her walking around constantly in the over-sized t-shirt singing "Black Velvettttt". I think we wore out that tape on our road trips!  I watched in awe when she returned from boarding school in Delhi (replete with a dangerously edgy new hair do and repulsive bermuda shorts that she claimed were "all the rage") and catwalked for me to Salt n' Peppa's "Let's talk about sex" which was also "all the rage". I later imitated her while alone, catwalking and flipping my hair about!

With our mom picnicking somewhere in Iraq
Growing up and bonding with her wouldn't have been the same without all that "dodgy" music! From our love for musicals where our parents would only allow us to watch the songs in a lot of the more adult themed movies like "Cabaret".  We would scream out "Money makes the vurllllddd go round, the vurllld go round" twirling our waists sharply in time.  As she grew older, she was allowed to watch a lot more of these movies, leaving me outside.  But she continued the tradition of letting me in just for the songs like in "Dirty Dancing", "Come quickly, Patrick Swayze is teaching her to dance now"!

As the traffic cleared and Sarthak's voice came back on the radio, Sid looked at me and said. "Ok, I have to tell you something. Actually Shaheen liked a lot of the music I did as a kid. I'm just embarrassed to admit it. Whenever you point out a song she likes, I'm like "Oh my god, I liked that too". I'm as dodgy as your sister"!  I smiled at him as I got out of the car, "Dodgy's good, I like dodgy! It's all I've ever known really"! And with that I got out humming Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams", another dodgy favourite!


Sakshi said…
Chanced upon your blog. FB updates, and sparetime at hand helped. But here I am, having already lapped up the last 4-5 entries of the blog. You've probably heard this from many, but you really have a gift with words. And that Fido tee-shirt..I still remember sulking over that one. I think I got a sticker sheet or something!!
Shall look forward to reading more from you. Cheers!
Reem said…
Hey thanks so much! Hahah this post did get a lot of people nostalgic and remembering their own "dodgy" pasts! Glad you enjoyed reading these posts, I'm sure Sid will continue to provide me with much inspiration for more.
Susan Dhavle said…
Listen Reem, anyone who likes Eighties music has great taste, I mean Come On Eileen...such a good song! Lovely sharing Shanu's post so you get more readers. Enjoying your blog....
Reem said…
Thanks Aunty! Glad you're enjoying it...I think secretly everyone loves eighties music but deny it :)

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