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Dum Dum Dee Dee

Nazia Hassan

All was quiet. I peeked down the hall. All clear. I peeked in the kitchen. No one there. Quietly I tiptoed over to my father’s massive stereo. Forbidden for my little hands to touch, I had to stretch to reach the tape player. I took a quick look around, hit play and took my position. It was my very own Desi Star Search in my living room:

Aankhen milaanae waalay
Dil ko churaanae waalay
Mujhko bhulaana nahin…

Me jawaan, me haseen
Mere paas kiya nahein…

Girl Power before I even knew the term. Eat your heart out Geri Halliwell.

I was five years old when I found it. Somewhere in the midst of my father’s vast collection of Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd. Rafi there it was – the magenta EMI cassette tape. Her face on the cover was simply stunning, her voice equally as beautiful, AND her name was NaZia – that couldn’t be a coincidence, right? I Dum-Dum-Dee-Deed all over the house with my little purple tape player, and thus, began my desification by Nazia Hassan.

I played that tape over and over for at least two years. I played it at home. I played it in the car. On the weekends I would watch her perform when the local networks showed the *Desi Channel*. High up on my father’s shoulders I saw her when we went to Pakistan’s Independence Day parade in the city. *Aap Jaisa Koi* was the staple background track to every Desi party. I think it’s safe to say that the little Urdu I know today was because of the Queen of Paki Pop.

Years past, my life changed; I grew up. I lost the magenta EMI tape and with that most of the memories of my carefree days of Nazia impersonations. I was sixteen when I learned of her battle with cancer and death. That moment officially ended my childhood. One day, soon after I graduated college, I was wandering around the Desi bazaars of Iselin, NJ contemplating what had become of my life, when I saw it – Nazia Hassan: The Best of Collection!

Sitting in my car playing the CD (digitally remastered so she sounds even better!) those days of blissful innocence came rushing back – the cheesy tunes, the nonsensical lyrics (*Ahha Ohho*, *Ooooee Oooee*, *Dum Dum Dee Dee*). I laughed at *Telephone Pyar* and wondered if Nazia were alive today would the song have become *Naseeb.com Pyar* (doesn’t quite have the same ring). Her sweet voice took me back to when I was young, to when my parents were still together and not fighting, to when going to a Desi function was a grand affair, to when Eid was an occasion to dress up for and celebrate.

I have played that CD over and over for the last two years. I still play it at home. I play it in the car. I don’t dance in the living room as much, but perhaps one day I’ll meet The-e One who I can turn to and coyly say:

Aankhen milaanae waalay
Dil ko churaanae waalay
Mujhko bhulaana nahin…

Me jawaan, me haseen
Mere paas kiya nahein…

*************************************************************************

DID YOU KNOW?

Nazia Hassan was a qualified lawyer with a law degree from the University of London.

Nazia Hassan worked with UNICEF on various child welfare projects in Pakistan.

Nazia Hassan was only 15 when she sang *Aap Jaisa Koi*, 16 when she sang *Disco Deewane* and 18 when she recorded *Boom Boom*.

*Disco Deewane* was a number 1 on the Brazilian Charts.

Nazia Hassan Foundation: http://www.naziahassan.co.uk/

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November 10, 2006 Posted by | perspectives, RandomDesi, Uncategorized | 10 Comments