More than a week has passed since Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park hung himself. While the world is almost done mourning, I am still wondering what has happened to me this past week since I heard the tragic news. That morning, I came back from jogging and opened Facebook to realize that what I heard from a friend wasn’t just another Rowan Atkinson or Jaden Smith hoax. There are certain things that happen to you during your lifetime which just causes a sudden sensation in your heart, you find it hard to speak or do anything, you go into a mode in which you’re just thinking that a moment ago everything was fine and how did you not see this coming. All this while the people around you are moving around in familiar movements doing their daily chores, one of them probably noticing the pale glimmer that has eclipsed your face. The news of Chester’s suicide struck to me the same way while my family kept saying, “It’s okay, he was just a singer.” No he wasn’t just a singer.
I remember 2007 when I was 12, a music channel which was playing the famous song-track of Linkin Park, “Numb” and “In the End”. That was probably the first time I heard distortion and those raw guitar voices floating beneath the smooth voice of this blonde singer. That was my entry into the ‘real’ music. That was my realization that music isn’t just for background scoring, dancing to in parties, passing away time while it plays on the radio or for main actor and actress to dance to in typical Bollywood films. That was my exposure to the world of music listening to rap, hip-hop, metal, alternate rock, punk rock, blues, pop and what not. That was the first time I found myself hooked to simple 4 min audio files. What followed was the sharing with friends everywhere.
The best thing about music is that like happiness, sharing it with friends increases it manifolds. While I recommended a song to someone, they recommended me two. Soon enough, I was part of this cool group that listened to just English songs, sometimes drawing flak from others for being too insensitive to native songs. But as it happened, soon enough they were listening to linkin park and other bands too. The world was never the same again for me, from lateral choices to the view of life, to past-time activities and even the presents on birthday, everything was changed. Exchanging over a thousand songs over Bluetooth that would take hours on the devices which could barely manage that much burden. It was astonishing to see how in the beginning when we didn’t get the lyrics, yet those songs were so close to us. The day lyrics started making sense to us, these songs became a part of our very souls and mind.
It was such a strong bond that these simple audios were making that soon enough we found ourselves writing our very own lyrics and joining the orchestra group of our school. We planned starting our own band, visualizing our faces in the music videos of our favorite bands, touring the world and inspiring lives like Linkin Park and other bands were doing. It became a part of our identity and whenever something touches you that deep, you find no hard to connect to people touched by the same beautiful virus. Credits to Facebook and other social media, one could find tons and tons of people around the world having this lovely addiction. The artists and bands are Gods for people like this, and listening to their creations is a part of the day that helps them breathe better, feel better. For the abused, the bullied, the lonely ones – the artists are the role models and their songs are the friends who understands them, its the thing that helps them go to sleep at night peacefully. For the ones struggling with life, this is the inspiration and hope that keeps them alive. It’s almost impossible to depict this in words, but these beautiful songs are their medication to depression, anxiety and mental unrest.
To see Chester go away, was very similar to watching the light go out which brought people this closer to themselves. It was realizing that a part of that fairy childhood is gone and there won’t be any more supply of things and memories of a lifetime. While the world would move on, the best thing about music is that even decades later, someone would still feel a shoulder to rest their head on and thank the man in the grave for all he gave to the world and for all the lives he saved through music. Listening to these amazing songs that Chester sang would change, but the way they crave a path to the heart won’t ever. Music would still bring people together.
Higher notes, riffs or solos on guitar that squeaks melodiously, supreme composition, pleasing screams, bass boost, soulful lyrics, crisp raps and those music videos which brought tears, all would change with Chester gone because Linkin Park would never be the same again. Moreover, there can never be another band like Linkin Park. I wished to quote some famous lyrics of their songs but all of them are so fine that quoting one would be unfair to the others.
I wish all the strength to Mike Shinoda, Joe Hahn, Rob Bourdon, Brad Delson and Dave Farrell. You guys are as vital to Linkin Park as Chester was. You guys are irreplaceable.
Goodbye Chester! I wish I could mean to someone, what you mean to me. There’ll be no one like you and I hope you can see how many lives you have saved and inspired. I had you with me all the time despite of you being a world away and your songs kept reminding me that someone do understand. I hope the demons that took you away are confronted and you are at peace. I’ll surely see you on the other side. Thank you for everything!