<%-- Page Title--%> Reflections <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 127 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

October 24, 2003

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Oh Those Elvis Days!

Nausheen Rahman

Correcting scripts can be a very monotonous chore, so we teachers have to devise ways of combating ennui.

The 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”?

I don't 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!!

Back 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).

Elvis Presley is truly a legend, one of a kind. There can be no one like him.

I was 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!!

I am still not sure which I was more crazy about his fantastic voice or his 'groovy' good looks.

Elvis 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)!

As the 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.

Elvis 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”.

We were 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 years ago.

I loved every single feature, gesture and movement of this magnificent matinee idol who went on to become an icon!

I had 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)!

I had 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)!!

I hear “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.

Elvis's 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.

Elvis's “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;

There were other very good singers, Elvis's contemporaries, e.g. Cliff Richard, Pat Boone, etc; - but they were not Elvis.

How many singers played the guitar as well as Elvis? How many stars had his lop sided smile that could make even the crabbiest person smile?

There 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.

When I ventured into the “real” world, I discovered that there were other greater musicians--of different genres from different countries.

The “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).

However, 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.

I experience some of that lost magic ………………… that only Elvis is able to evoke and I relive those days, those Elvis days!



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