Those Elvis Days!
scripts can be a very monotonous chore, so we teachers have
to devise ways of combating ennui.
other afternoon, I got my spectacles and red pen out and
before sitting to check my “Khaatas”, I decided to switch
on the C.D. player. I chose an Elvis Presley CD and presto!
I seemed in a couple of minutes to be transported to another
era, another world. The magical voice of my all-time hero,
Elvis, was singing:
“Are you Lonesome tonight”?
“Do you Miss Me Tonight”?
know what happened, but suddenly I felt like a besotted
teenager; back came all those feelings wrapped in nostalgia.
God! Was I lonesome! Did I miss Elvis!!
in the 50s' and 60s', Elvis had rock-and-rolled his way
into the hearts of millions of fans the world over. I was
among the casualties. I was hit so badly I don't think
I ever recovered fully (even though he was gradually relegated
to a corner of the subconscious).
Presley is truly a legend, one of a kind. There can be no
one like him.
a tomboy in my pre-teens and for most of my teens. Yet,
every time I saw Elvis on screen or heard his marvelous
voice, I felt “feminine”; I wanted to be beautiful!!
still not sure which I was more crazy about his fantastic
voice or his 'groovy' good looks.
sings “it's now or never” and time seems to stop!
My cousins and I would wait, all agog, for advertisements
of movies at our favorite cinema theatre, 'Naz'. We loved
to see movies--especially those of Elvis'. We would know
on a Wednesday that from the following Friday, an Elvis
movie would be on, so we would rush to get our tickets from
the “Advance Booking” counter for the first show on the
first day. If we were lucky and had enough pocket money,
we would be able to see twice movie twice. I watched “Follow
That Dream” thrice, (I must have been very rich at that
point of time)!
C.D. plays the melodious “Pocketful of Rainbows”, I remember
the day we saw G. I. Blues. We used to get all dressed up
(even apply cologne)! and go to “Naz” long before the show
was to start. It was always a special occasion.
Presley was so versatile, it is unbelievable! His 'Jail
House Rock' kept the entire hall, all the viewers, old and
young stamping their feet, while his “Follow That Dream”
had us all willing to follow him to anywhere on earth (and
beyond)! He sang both slow songs, as well as fast beat numbers
with the same ease and charm. Listen to him croon “Love
me Tender” and belt out “Bossanova Baby”.
introduced to the “King” through his film “King Creole”
(not his first movie). After that, there was no turning
back. We had embarked on a fabulous journey. Elvis's songs
became a vital part of our lives, his films something to
look forward to, to see, and to savour. I hear Elvis serenade
“a boy like me, a girl like you” and remember how passionately
jealous I had felt of the girl he was singing to all those
every single feature, gesture and movement of this magnificent
matinee idol who went on to become an icon!
Elvis posters/photographs stuck all over the room. I would
see his face first thing in the morning and last thing at
night, - much to the disgust of my grandmother. She would
say that angels would never enter that room! (We never dared
to tell her he was our angel)!
a little corner in the space above the staircase where I
used to keep all the magazines, newspaper clippings and
other Elvis memorabilia. In my spare time, I would take
out these things, dust them, look at them, and put them
back. One day, our old “ayah” threw away some of Elvis's
pictures while sweeping the place. I was livid! The poor
creature never understood why I was so angry about a few
photos (of someone who wasn't even a relative)!!
“Wooden Heart” and remember the first Elvis record (45 rpm)
I owned. It was my most prized possession. In G.I. Blues,
Elvis played a soldier. In real life, Elvis was in the U.S.
Army for 3 years. He must have been the most stunning looking
soldier the U.S. Army could have boasted of.
hairstyle (even the colour of his hair) changed every now
and then. He looked good even as a boxer in “Kid Galahad”
and “Kissin Cousins” was too much for he had a double role
in it; one character had black hair, the other was blonde.
He looked handsome as both.
“Gospel” numbers make one feel pious; some of these are:
“Crying in the Chapel”, “White Christmas”, “There is no
God But God”, “Where Could I Go But To The Lord?”, etc;
were other very good singers, Elvis's contemporaries, e.g.
Cliff Richard, Pat Boone, etc; - but they were not Elvis.
many singers played the guitar as well as Elvis? How many
stars had his lop sided smile that could make even the crabbiest
have been so many who imitated Elvis, but as John Lennon
said, “Before Elvis, there was nothing” ………….. , I want
to add: “and after Elvis, there will be no one.” Elvis who
was born Elvis Aaron Presley in TUPELO, MISSISSIPPI, on
the 8th of January, 1935, began his singing career in MEMPHIS.
He died at the age of forty-two. His life story, his different
professions (one of which was truck driving), his love for
his mother, his drawl, all seemed to impress our young minds.
I ventured into the “real” world, I discovered that there
were other greater musicians--of different genres from different
“fever” gradually cooled. Age, as we know, makes us more
practical, more rational, more critical and perhaps cynical.
As I grew up, my madness (or “pagalpan” as my grandmother
termed it), subsided. I was thankful for that as many more
things started taking shape and there was not much room
or stamina for that kind of adulation! I left behind my
adolescent fancies. My “Elvis collection” started to get
scattered. I gave away his records and pictures to younger
people (who were struck with the Elvis malady).
every decade or so, I get an attack of this malady myself.
I still buy (once in a long while) a book or a postcard
of his, and every few months listen to his songs.
some of that lost magic ………………… that only Elvis is able
to evoke and I relive those days, those Elvis days!