It’s the December of 2000, I’m dreading the coming PUC/CET exams, and not having the best of times at home. I’ve recently discovered the joys of English music - especially techno, soft rock and pop of that era. I don’t have a computer, sat radio or a CD player any solution, and wouldn’t get one for a while, so TV is what I use to whet my audio appetite.

I turn on a French channel called MCM that somehow slipped the censor radar in India. No one’s home, so my volume’s turned all the way up. I see the start of a song by the band Linkin Park, titled “One Step Closer”. What followed was 3 or 4 something minutes of the heaviest music I had listened to which was also rhythmic and melodic in a non off putting way. Next song: Somebody Someone by Korn, followed by “Crawling” by Linkin Park. I was Hooked.

I went down to the only music shop in my area who would, for the price of Rs. 7/ song, create illegal mix tapes of the latest hits. I told him I wanted all the songs he had of Linkin Park, Korn, Limp Bizkit and others I had heard that day. I had to wait a week to get my hands on the mix tape. I remember treasuring that tape and listening to it over and over again for the next 4 odd months.

Chester’s screaming vocals talking about being on the edge and confused in life made me think he wrote that for me. Standing in front of the mirror, singing along to those songs were a great stress buster and a vent for my teenage angst. What followed was the discovery of the local rock scene in Bangalore, wanting to be a part of it, discovering the greats, buying an MP3 disc player and, in short, putting my life together musically.

I got over the music of Linkin Park and their contemporaries pretty soon, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge their role in defining my musical tastes in the future. Chester! You’ll be missed. Hybrid Theory still holds its own in my music collection.