Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Letter to Linkin Park

Dear Linkin Park,

I am writing to you today out of grief and sadness. This is probably something I should’ve done a long time ago. I am so very sorry to hear about Chester’s passing. But to be honest had such circumstances not emerged I do not think I’d be writing to you today.

Even in death Chester taught me a lesson. If there is a poison inside you that is overpowering you - do something about it.

I first encountered Linkin Park’s music in Highschool. I heard Hybrid Theory and absolutely loved it.
I was a shy boy who went to a Christian convent school. Discipline was high, fun was controlled. Your music helped me express myself. Unrestrained, be myself. Scream in the shower on the bad days, sing and dance to the beat on the good.

Before you I was a big fan of Backstreet Boys. In those days I had purchased the cassette (audio tape) of Hybrid Theory and one of the unique things about your tape was the lack of time between the ending of one song and the beginning of the other. The tape virtually played the music like one long symphony. For many days I couldn’t figure out where some songs ended and others began. I used to listen to a bit of Limp Bizkit as well and his songs often had long pauses during or a complete change of beat in the same song which confused me further.

This problem was finally solved when your CDs came out and despite them being expensive I purchased them. Even the font size of the lyrics in the covers were larger so it helped me read the lyrics better.

Even after your success with Hybrid Theory, Meteora and Reanimation, I followed your music religiously. Whenever I heard that LP’s new single or album had released I'd look it up on Limewire (in those days) and download it first thing first. I’d wait till the end of the day when everyone was asleep and then listen to it on my iPod whilst reading the lyrics in perfect solitude. It was beautiful.

Whether it was the beats in ‘Session’ or the words of ‘Little Things Give You Away’, I digested it all sumptuously. By now I had even heard of the success of the side bands like Dead By Sunrise, Fort Minor and began listening to some of their songs as well. ‘Remember the name’, ‘Where’d you go’, ‘Crawl back in’ were some of my favourites. I began reading articles of you - how you originally wanted to name the band 'zero' and then how 'Lincoln Park' became 'Linkin Park'.
But the original LP was the original LP. The music you all made together was far better in my opinion.

In 2014, I had the opportunity to attend your concert in London at the O2 Arena. It was a dream come true. On day one, I attended the concert and sang along with 23 of the 25 numbers you performed. On day two, for which I had purchased the VIP Pass, I had the rare privilege of coming and meeting you all face to face. I was so nervous, I could barely utter out a few polite words. When Chester came before me, all I could do was shake his hand in awe. I heard him talk to the man next to me for the longest time. Just being there was overwhelming enough. Due to which I never got a chance to share with you all just how big a fan of yours I was.

I was studying at Kingston University London that year, doing my masters and used up the money for my graduation (and then some) to purchase those concert tickets. I was in two minds about doing so and it was my father who pushed me into it. He felt it was an opportunity of a lifetime and I shouldn’t miss it. My masters had ended in September and the concert was in late October which meant I would have to book fresh tickets from New Delhi, India to London as well as book accommodation. It was a very expensive trip (and honestly got a little lonely too) but I’ve created a memory that will stay with me forever.

You all do not know how many times I’ve heard your songs. There was a time when the top 5 songs on my ‘Top 25 Most Played’ List were all LP tracks and the No. 6 one was like at least 250 plays behind. 

I should have told you all how grateful I was for it, but I did not. And now, Chester will never know. But you will. 

I am a published author with two books to my name. At one point I even wanted to write a book using different song titles as titles of chapters and dedicate it to Linkin Park. The idea never materialized completely and the unfinished work has found a nice cozy spot in my hard drive.

Below are the pictures of the night at O2 -

 1. Meeting Chester Bennington. 

(I’m the boy in the Blue Shirt.)        

2. Picture of the band with everyone.

The poster you all signed stands smartly framed on the wall in my room. It always reminds me of the sheer bliss I felt those two magical nights in London.

I do not know any of you personally yet I feel so deeply connected to you. But more so to Chester and Mike. There was just something about Chetser, that I know, had we ever hung out, we would’ve simply clicked. The more I read of him, his personality, the way people remember him, the more I relate with him.

My heart grieves for Chester. The world seems a little less brighter after he has passed on. Not only because he’s gone but also because of the way he went out. I idolised him. He inspired me. I never thought he’d be one to commit suicide. I related that with Jimmy Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse but never Chester Bennington. Just never expected him to do something like that.

It is this reason that drove me to write to you all.
I do not know you, but please believe me when I say, I love you.
Your music and your expressions will be etched in my memory forever.
I stopped being ‘just a fan’ long ago. If ever you feel the desire to share with someone - a random stranger who will listen you non-judgmentally or want some advice or even a place to come stay where you won’t be disturbed. Please look me up. My email ID is I stay in New Delhi, India. I won’t share my contact no. here because I intend to share this letter on the internet. Hopefully it will reach you and even if one of you does read this, its purpose will be served.

You were wrong about one thing, In The End, It Does Matter. Everything does. Chester’s legacy will not be tainted by the way his life ended but it will affect how many in the world saw him.

Please learn to love yourself, more than anything in the world - find happiness within. If what your doing is not helping you be that way, drop it - it is of no use.

Thank you for the music,
It was my companion when I dint have anyone else to share with. Still is sometimes.

Thank you for making the dreams I had dreamt as a little boy come true and sorry I did not share with you sooner. Had I known it was going to be the first and last time I’d meet you, I would’ve handled it very differently.

Stay blessed, stay alive and as my mom says ‘keep drinking water’. Apparently, its good for health or something …

Yours always,
Anirudh Vasdev.

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