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Glen Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy was the theme song of B Hostel. Anil K Satyan introduced me to the song. Kent Classics Collection. I remember the cassette case with cigarette pack branding. I remember Binu singing the song in B224. I remember weekend trips with the song on loop.

Glenn Campbell passed away last year. Only then did I know about his struggle with dementia, his farewell tour and movie based on it, I’ll Be Me. The movie is heart wrenching – the gradual loss of memory, identity, dignity and life – and at times, exploitative. But his half-slurred last studio song hits you in the guts – ‘I’m Not Gonna Miss You’.

Addressed to his wife, the song starts with “I’m still here, but I’m gone” and ends with…

I’m never gonna know what you go through
All the things I say or do
All the hurt and all the pain
One thing selfishly remains
I’m not gonna miss you

My father passed away last year, after a six-year battle with dementia.

I didn’t cry when my wife broke the news to me. I had done my crying six years ago when a wrong medication had reduced Pappa to a vegetable. I was actually relived – finally Pappa is free.

On the ambulance ride to Kochi for the funeral, trying to stay awake, trying to ensure the driver stayed awake, I had my songs on shuffle…and somewhere near Salem, when a sudden cloudburst reduced visibility to few metres, ‘I’m Not Gonna Miss You’ started playing.

And everything that I had tried to forget surged back and I dissolved into the rain.

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