I just discovered a song I was made to dance to at a school function fifteen years ago. My life has come full circle.
But, let’s start from zero, before we go to 360.
I went to a private, expensive and yet, unassuming school. Because I like to keep personal details private, all I can say is, the school is in the suburbs in a certain part of India. Which, in year 2000, meant no internet. No possibility of having much choice, or for that matter, reach in cultural matters.
Thus, I will never know who it was that supplied the school with a cassette of Kraftwerk’s “The Robots”.
If you don’t take an interest in synthpop, here’s the backstory. Kraftwerk are, perhaps, the pioneering synthpop act. They are a German band who became internationally famous in the 1970s, and gave rise to about 20 million synthpop artists ever since.
I knew about them, I knew what they sound like, but because they are so influential, I decided to get hold of their albums instead of listening just to their singles. Because, I really find it hard to do both while listening to music, but that’s a different story. However, I am yet to find a copy here, even online. Until, I accidentally stumbled upon “The Robots” today on YouTube.
But, that is today. Fifteen years ago, all non-dancers were obligated to dance “the Robot dance” for the annual school function. I had to get black ballet flats and black leggings specifically for the occasion. And rehearse everyday for months and months. Being cripplingly shy, I never had the courage to ask the teacher and the high school students in charge if I could have a look at the cover sleeve of the cassette.
All I really remember is trying to convince myself that I could do this mimetic robot dancing. And that the song had a curiously Chinese-sounding lick after the choral, robotically sung “We are the Robots” line. It was silly, but it was fun silly. We were better off than all the other theme dance troupes. But, knowing what I do now, I can’t fathom for the life of me how we ended up dancing to Kraftwerk, in suburban India, in year 2000.
It’s all true. The world is a small place and we’re all, in bizarre ways, connected to each other.
About a year ago, I also discovered the march we had to perform our morning school drill to. It was also a German composition, composed during the First World War. But, Kraftwerk. I doubt whether something like that is part of the school extra-curriculum even in Germany.
I went to the coolest school in the world, didn’t I?