I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without ‘Meteora’, and if I had not visited that music store way back in the day, by the name of ‘Radio City’.
It had recently opened in my area, in Defence, Lahore, where I live. I have lived here since forever, and I know most of the places in the whole of Lahore. It’s the country where I was born in, and the place where I want to reside in for the rest of my life, come what may.
Entering the store, Linkin Park’s ‘Numb’ was already on. I had zero liking for rock bands back then, or music of the genre. The song intrigued me, the music & the voice caught my attention. I wanted to have that album, it sounded ‘cool’. I was 12 at the time.
I came home with the album ‘Meteora’, and I remember playing the beats and thinking this was it. This is what I was meant to do: make music & sing like him. Scream like Chester, feel the depth in words like him.
I knew I wanted to write songs. Dad would always come out from his room & tell me ‘I like this song, play it louder’, and I would play ‘From The Inside’ louder than usual then. I remember feeling so proud of myself for finding some music that my dad started liking as well, as he had no liking for rock or English music also.
After the Backstreet Boys, Linkin Park is the second band I fell in love with at that age. I used to listen to all their songs, all day every day. I couldn’t wait to come home from school, just so I could hear ‘MY MUSIC’.
Later on, I went lyric hunting for some words I didn’t understand back then. Once I started reading the lyrics, I fell more in love with them.
As I grew older, I needed Chester more. I had been through hurt, pain, grief, agony; all in all the same but different in ways only a person going through them could know. I would watch Linkin Park’s videos for hours, and just get lost in them.
NUMB still speaks to me, when I have days I really don’t want to face the world. Some days, when I cannot get out of bed, but I have to: I put on Meteora and it takes me back to the time when I didn’t know I had such a strong liking for this kind of music. On my way to work (till date), Linkin Park is always on my playlist. Not a day goes by when I don’t hear at least one of their songs.
Chester helped me more on days of grief. He made me feel I wasn’t alone, like he understood all my pain, because he had felt it himself.
I felt close to him, and I felt like if he’s there for me, everything’s going to be okay.
Suddenly, I read the news of him committing suicide, and it felt really unreal. I felt like it was a joke, like…it just wasn’t possible. Someone I knew so closely, and yet didn’t know at all, was gone. He was a part of my life, but he didn’t know that. He was a part of a million lives, and he didn’t know that. So many things left unsaid, so many people he should’ve seen who loved him, so many things he should’ve known before he took his own life.
What hurt the most was that he took his own life on his very dear friend’s birthday, Chris Cornell, who had also committed suicide a few months back. It was claimed that Chester never got over his friend’s suicide.
He mentioned depression and his ‘demons’ in many of his interviews, and always talked about the pain and the ‘walls that were closing in’ in his songs. How he felt insecure, and numb. We had heard it all, but we never thought what a singer like him must have been going through. Maybe sometimes, he called for help through his music.
Maybe sometimes, he wrote so he could let all the grief out. Maybe it was just ‘crawling in his skin, and his wounds would never heal’. Who knows what he felt, he probably told the whole world, and yet, he probably kept it all to himself.
Chester, thank you for all you gave me, I will never forget it. You will, and you always were, a part of me. I will never let go of all the good you gave me, all the confidence you gave me, the will power you instilled with your music, to hold on and not let go. I’m just sad I couldn’t do that same for you.
Rest In Peace.