All of them were strangers to me. But at that moment, something felt different.
There I was at a campout, sitting around a bonfire at 2:47am, with people I had never met before. At that point, I was seriously doubting my decision to stay. I mean, might as well get a good night's sleep, right?
We were just a bunch of teens, who had never crossed paths before and were suddenly in a self-inflicted situation of giving up our sleep for the company of strangers.
Honestly, I knew that nothing productive was going to come out of this. We all seemed to have nothing in common, nothing relatable, and nothing to discuss or debate about.
The first couple of hours were a disaster. The deafening silence and awkward small talks were painful to experience. No amount of topics or small talks were working and if my yawns were any evidence, my sleeping bag was desperately beckoning me to its warmth.
But then, something changed.
All it took was the opening notes of Jashn-e-Bahara, soothingly knocking its way into our hearts from someone's portable speakers.
What started out as humming the tune under our breaths, soon turned into a full blown jamming session. I was astonished to find that everyone- and I mean everyone- not just knew the song by heart, but was actually vibing with it.
I would've said that it was just a happy coincidence, but then it happened again. And then again. From Pehli Nazar Mein and Tum Ho Toh and other 2000s legends, to Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai, Tum Mile and Bheegi Bheegi and almost every other song from every Emraan Hashmi movie - all of us seemed to know those songs right down to their tune and lyrics.
We all had memories with them. Different ones. A few of those memories we remembered and a few we didn't.
But as I sat there, with the fire still burning and the sky hitting the brink of a sunrise, talking about why Kahin Toh was so special to me and close to my heart, I realized that not sleeping was probably the best decision I had made that night.
There was a peaceful moment of silence at that point. Everyone seemed to be in their own world with a soft smile on their faces, as if they remembered every single childhood memory that all those songs brought out.
And in that moment, I knew that in a single night, these strangers had somehow wormed their way into my heart and that one day in the future, I would reminisce about that night with a soft smile on my face.
Author: Riya Kadu
Editor: Rhythm Pujara