For those of us growing up in the 2000s, KK (Krishnakumar Kunnath) was the voice of our hearts. I remember his songs wafting through the windows of a house, where a kid’s birthday party was on. Ab Toh Forever from Ta Ra Rum Pum played on a hiccupping DVD player as children, in conical hats, tossed a cushion around. From the glimpses of first love (Ankhon Mein Teri) to the blissfulness of a relationship (Haan Tu Hain), his melodies accompanied our most intimate moments.
When Salman Khan rolls down a sand dune in the agony of unrequited love as KK’s Tadap Tadap Ke plays in the backdrop, even those who’ve never had a breakup felt like screaming into the sun. Awaarapan Banjarapan boomed in loose headphones of the angsty teenager smoking his first cigarette. Aashayein was the anthem on the night before an exam. Yaaron was the intimation that a school farewell party needed wrapping up, but, almost always, it was Dus Bahaane that played on the DJ in the end. It now feels like a part of our childhood has departed.
KK passed away on Tuesday night, after performing at a college fest in Kolkata, reportedly from cardiac arrest. KK went to music school for a few days but didn’t continue. He was blessed with the ability to learn a song just by hearing it. His resolve strengthened after he came to know that his revered Kishore Da, too, had no formal training in music. KK started out with singing jingles. Then TV happened and he voiced the title songs of Just Mohabbat and Hip Hip Hurray.
Sometime in 1991, the singer married his childhood sweetheart Jyothy Krishna, whom he credited for giving him a much-needed push. As I write this, social media is flooded with videos of the late singer, sweating profusely while being taken from the concert venue in Kolkata, where he breathed his last. The organisers have been accused of improper arrangements.
In another video, KK is seen singing Pyar Ke Pal as thousands of cellphone flashlights sway in the air. In a world where not many people live doing what they love, it’s even rarer to die for it. Zindagi Do Pal Ki.