I have a friend who loves rock music. Floyd, The Who, The Byrds, Rolling Stones, The Doors, Guns N’ Roses…you name it, Sanjana knows it. I don’t just mean their greatest hits, either; she is no poser. Sanjana highlights the forgotten gems, the underrated masterpieces: Cream’s “Badge,” The Beatles’ “It’s All Too Much.” And she has the exceptional ability to detail every step of a rock musician’s life and loves by memory, whether it’s the history of Bon Jovi’s Sanctuary Sound recording studio (built in the basement of his New Jersey ranch home!) or George Harrison’s spiritual beliefs (he embraced Hinduism and transcendental meditation). I knew next to nothing about the genre before I met her, so the fact that I can recall all of this now––thinking alone, off the top of my head––I’d say that only further confirms how vibrant, how infectious, how real her love for rock music is. Sanjana taught me that rock has a beat, a rhythm, a personality and character like no other. It’s an anthem that pulses in stride with your heartbeat, she’d say––one that pushes you to float and strain free and live in the moment, the literal embodiment of carpe diem. There’s something brilliant and creative in rock music: where else can you find a haven where soul, extraordinary lyrics, and every metal instrument imaginable meet in the heat of intensity, charisma, insanity, thrill? To consider a genre powerful enough to define a generation, and to journey back in time while listening now and still feel that indelible, mythic mark…it’s an extraordinary thing. Difficult for me to articulate, but Sanjana––she understands it, she really does. I don’t think I see rock music at her level––what I described is a mere taste of how she feels about it––but honestly? I prefer it that way. Rock reminds me of how different we both are, and of how we’ve grown together to find comfort and our own special place in that difference. That is, without a doubt, what I love most about our friendship. This holiday season, friends, I encourage you to embrace the eccentric music tastes of those you hold dear. Who knows? You might find a couple hidden gems of your own.