Though headphones have become an extension of the body, I try to leave them at the bottom of my bag when traveling. Getting lost in the rhythm of traffic and deciphering languages my tongue is not accustomed to takes priority. Nevertheless, transits are liminals where pre-prepped playlists are crucial. I can’t imagine spending my time doing anything else but pretending to be a beautiful brown princess with a Shahrukh Khan type by my side while staring out the train/plane/taxi window.
Now, let me bless you with some Bollywood GOLD to get you through transit liminals feeling all sorts of nostalgia. I also took the liberty of curating a YouTube playlist so you’re welcome.
Chaiyya Chaiyya | Dil Se | Sukhwinder Singh
They were bloody dancing on a moving train, what more can you want on the road? Bollywood is the reason why I can no longer enjoy real life. The following lyrics made me want to stick it out with my Urdu tutor that beat the shit out of me.
Voh yaar hai jo khushboo ki tarah
Voh jiski zubaan urdu ki tarah
Meri shaam raat, meri kaayanat
Voh yaar mera sainya sainya
The companion who walks along like fragrance
Who whispers in a melodious tongue (Urdu)
Is my evening, night, my universe
My beloved, my love
Yun Hi Chala Chal | Swades
Yeah, I picked Shahrukh Khan twice, sue me. But you can’t deny he made you want to get into random trucks and be proud of the land you come from.
Yun hi chala chal raahi
Kitni hasin hai yeh duniya
Bhool saare jhamele,
Dekh phoolon ke mele
Badi rangeen hai yeh duniya
Keep walking the way you do, oh traveler
How gorgeous is this world
Forget all the mess
And see the fair of flowers
This world is really colorful
Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana | Kishore Kumar | Andaz
I’m not gonna lie, I never watched this movie nor do I claim to know the actors that raised my parents’ generation, but this is a song that defeated the reins of time. Even if you don’t know the lyrics, everyone and their dadi can yodle to this track.
Yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana
This world will be left behind
Hum Kis Gali Ja Rahe Hain | Atif Aslam
There is no song I connect with on a deeper level than this. Maybe it’s because Atif sang it and it’s a Pakistani thing. The man just knows how to infuse the “search for home” ideal in music.
Daar daar kahan ghumta hai
Masti mein kyun jhoomta hai
Where do you roam,
under what intoxication are you dancing so freely
Mera Joota Hai Japani |Raj Kapoor
Shree (1955) was a movie that emerged post-WWII when the nation was split in two due to ethnic and religious divides injected by colonial powers. The lyric “Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani” was a way to try and unite the rich and poor, the rural and urban, and all other cultural clashes brewing in metropolitans like Mumbai.
Meraa juuta hai Japaanii, yeh patluun Englishtaanii
Sar pe laal topii Ruusi, phir bhi dil hai Hindustanii
My shoes are Japanese, these pants are British
On my head is a red Russian hat, nonetheless, my heart is Indian
Hairat | Anjaana Anjaani
What I love about this song is that it celebrates the “now”. It reinforces that it’s not always about the destination. The “here” and “now” of a journey is just as important. It also makes me want to go on adventures with my invisible boo.
Raahon ki baahon mein
Hai ab meri jagah
In the arms of the road
Is now my new place
Ilahi | Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani |Arijit Singh
Ilahi meraa jee aaye
Tum To Thehre Purdesi |Altaf Raja
What a throwback, right? The lyrics to this song are an ode to all the relationships we form while traveling. We make all sorts of promises to stay in touch but time and distance have a way of distracting us. Sooner or later, it’s just a “happy birthday” social media post. All the feels right now.
Tum toh thehre pardesi saath kya nibahaaoge
subaha pehli gaadi se ghar ko laut jaaoge
Main Nikla Gaddi Leke | Gadar
This was the JAAAMM back in the day. Anyone else think “mod aya” meant he saw a peacock on the street? No, just me? Okay. Clearly, my Punjabi is not the best. So the jist of this song was him falling in love while on the road. Aka me, always. Its the Bollywood version of “I left my heart in Havana”.
Rab Jaane Kab Guzra Amritsar
Oh Kab Jaane Lahore Aaya
Main Uthe Dil Chhod Aaya
Ek Mod Aaya Main Uthe Dil Chhod Aaya
A turn came. I left my heart there
Sunny Sunny Yaariyan | Yo Yo Honey Singh
What is a Bollywood playlist without some therki tracks? Incomplete is what it is. This song is literally trash but just as catchy at the same time, perfect for those lazy beach vacations where you’re constantly in search of your next Insta flame.
Aaj Blue Hai Paani Paani Paani Paani Paani Paani
Aur Din Bhi Sunny Sunny Sunny Sunny Sunny Sunny
Aa Jao On The Beach
Yaar Photo Meri Kheench
Phooti Kismat Hogi Teri
Agar Tune Yeh Baat Na Maani
Today the water is all blue
And the day is also sunny
Come on the beach
Click a picture of mine
You would really be an unlucky person
If You didn’t agree to what I just said
Ik Junoon (Paint it Red) | Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
This blog will continue after a moment of silence for Hritick’s abs.
I hate tomatoes and what better way to take out all my frustration and anger towards them then squishing them with my feet and smearing them on my enemies face? Real talk though, this song makes you feel like you can let loose. Not every step of travel has to be planned to the T. The annual Tomatina in Barcelona is a bucket list festival, August 29, save the date, folks.
sab zanjeerein tod ke, saari uljhan chhod ke,
hum hain dil hai aur hai awaargi
kuch din se hum log par, aata hai sabko nazar,
aaya hai jo daur hai awaargi
breaking all chains, leaving all complications,
we’re there, heart’s there and there’s vagrancy,
for a few days, the time that has come upon us-
everyone know, is vagrancy.
Senorita | Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Same movie, different song. Fight me. Senorita is an ode to language barriers that can never hold travelers back. The touch of Spanish only adds to my fantasy of being the salsa (flamenco in this case) girl emoji. All in all, Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, and María del Mar Rodríguez did a fantastico job singing this.
Na main samjha, na main jaana
Jo bhi tumne mujhse kahaa hai Senorita
Magar phir bhi, na jaane kyun
Mujhe sunke, accha laga hai senorita
Nor did I understand, nor did I know
whatever you said to me Senorita
But still, for some reason
After listening, I liked it, Senorita
That’s all for today my Bollywood queens, got any more to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!