I am in a strange conundrum where I pretend I’m working, while a simple acoustic melody interfused with sounds of electric ghetto fades away into the background. My checklist says I should be going over statistics on a WordPress account. My computer defies me: “I sing this broken tune/ Is it for you..” Just lyrics, I try to rationalize, getting back to numbers from last week. My fingers still pause; I am wondering what Kuhad just sang. I stare at the screen without seeing anything on it. I guess this is what Prateek Kuhad does — he simplifies complex emotions without trivializing them, and in the process, gives basis to your thoughts.
My affair with Kuhad’s music began two years ago, when I randomly came across a poster for his concert at The Humming Tree, the hub of Indie music in Bangalore. I’d contrived to hear better music at random weekends spent there, as compared to curated playlists online. Trusting the space, I googled and fell for him. What I found floored me. Tune Kaha was simple, effusing joy and making me smile. Raat Razi was a one-man wonder, making one ponder over a night wasted eons ago. Tum Jab Pass was a revelation, making me realize we don’t need grand gestures to profuse adorned feelings. You are Mine changed how I played the piano, encouraging me to find a symphony in every note. I thought Kuhad couldn’t possibly top that opus.
“When I’ll feel cold/ I’ll keep you close…” plays and breaks me out of a reverie. Numbers can wait, I decide, wanting to see if he actually did top his previous compositions. A closed show I managed to catch last year made me aware of his live prowess, where he alternated between a synthesizer and a guitar, holding captive even a crowd of drunk punjabis. He added pieces of some unknown songs in between choruses of older, more popular tracks. I’ve been waiting since then for the album to arrive and after finally hearing it, I feel my notion of heartbreak has been redefined.
Cold/Mess has triggered a bout of nostalgia. When he sings “Could you open your doors/ can we climb out your windows…” All that’s left is a barely beating heart with typical notions of heartbreak and how to deal with it having been chucked out of the metaphorical window. Give somebody a thousand words and you will hear what they want to say. Take away most and leave them with a handful, and you will know what beats in the farthest, dingiest corners of their heart. Thus, when he says “Do you have a 100 words for me? ‘Cause I have only three,” I feel battered. How can a non-conventional voice with no idea of what I think hit home?
The genius of Kuhad isn’t in the uniqueness of his style or instrumentation. It is the mind-numbing honesty I can hear in each note of his music. He doesn’t try to fit in, neither does he try to cater to what you want to hear. His music is meant to make you feel what your heart wants to evade. The album art accompanying it makes the heartstrings snap. It is the kind of music that I never knew I needed, but now can’t quite imagine life without. To sum it up, Cold/Mess has me in a loving, evocative chokehold.
(Image from Facebook)
Mahima Sood is an entrepreneur based in the United Kingdom and India. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Data Science. She feels strongly about data privacy, Freud and Bukowski.