November 17, 2013

Kinds of people you see at a concert

We went for an Indian Ocean concert on Saturday evening. It was brilliant. They totally rocked it. But that’s not what this post is about.

The concert was at this place called the Music Academy. It’s a HUGE auditorium, with seating upstairs and downstairs. The upstairs seating is quite a distance away from the stage, to be honest. You can’t really connect with the artistes, you know what I mean? So anyways, there was this one guy who, right from when the band appeared on stage, was so enthused, that his energy was quite infectious. He was this typical HCU-JNU ‘buji’ types, you know? Long hair in a pony, kurta and jeans, spectacles, a metal kada on his right wrist (yes, I have a keen sense of observation, sometimes for the most inconsequential of things). He literally couldn’t sit still in his seat. The band started playing. This guy was in his element. Clapping, shouting, whoo-ing. The rest of the audience was looking at him and sniggering, some of them with grudging admiration. And then, after a couple of songs, he just couldn’t contain himself. He got up from his seat, went and stood in the aisle, and stood there for the following two hours. He was standing there all by himself, but I don’t think he cared two hoots.

One word for him. Respect. I SO wanted to go and stand with him and clap and shout like that. But I didn’t. Why, you ask? I guess I was embarrassed. I didn’t want the rest of the audience to look at me and laugh the way there were at him. Pathetic, I know. I preferred to sit in my seat and be an enthu-cutlet.

And that got me thinking. At every concert, you will different kinds of people. Here are the ones I have observed:-

1)      The Tripper
The guy who inspired me to write this post falls into this category, so do many many others I know. They come to the concert purely for the music. For the experience of seeing their favourite band perform live. For them, it’s not just another evening spent listening to music. They really believe in the music. It is an out-of-the-body experience for them. They will be right in front of the stage (or standing in the aisle due to lack of any other choice) and clapping and shouting. They go into a trance. They know all the songs, and they don’t care a fuck whether they get pointed and laughed at. They didn’t come to make a good impression anyway. They came for the music. They came to trip on the music.

I fall into this category partly. I go for the music. But unless I have the right company, I can’t bring myself to stand in front of the stage or in the aisle (Arun, how I missed you at the Swarathma and Indian Ocean concerts, seriously).
The trippers are an absolute joy to have at a concert.

2)      The London Mondon Statues
And on the other end of the spectrum from the Trippers are the London Mondon Statues. They don’t move a muscle. They sit there like statues and give an obligatory clap at the end of each song. In their minds, they’re probably making plans for the next day – what to make for breakfast, what dress to wear to work, when is the due date to pay credit card bills etc. I cannot for the life of me understand how they can sit still like that when music is playing. But then, I for one will move even to a Himesh Reshammiya song. So I’m no one to judge.

3)      The Updaters
“At Indian Ocean concert- so-and-so checked in at Music Academy”. “Oh wow dude. How is it?” “It is awwwsum!”

How would you know? You’re not even listening to the music. You are too busy letting the whole world know that you are at a concert.

And not because they are excited about it. Nope, they just want the whole world to know that they are oh-so-cool. They spend most of the time at the concert giving live updates. But ask them what their favourite song of the band is, they’ll blink at you. Dude, the people on the stage, they deserve a little more respect.

4)      The Record-keepers
They want to take low-resolution videos of the concert from a far distance despite strict instructions that photography and videography is not allowed. Why? How else will they prove to the rest of the world that they actually DID go for the concert? That grainy little video? Yes, that’s the proof. You think I’m being too critical? Let me ask you. This is the digital age. Videos are available all over the net. You can listen to the audio online. Buy CD’s. Why in the world would you want to take a one-minute clip when you can watch several better videos of the same band performing the same song on Youtube? Or is it BECAUSE you want to upload it on Youtube? Ah... ok. NOW it makes sense.

5)      The Pretty People
They come to get their pictures clicked for Page 3. Period.

6)      The Closet-Trippers
Yours truly falls into this category. Given a chance, I would be up there on the stage with the artistes, jumping and tripping on the music. But I don’t do it. Why? I’ll tell you when I figure it out, ok?
So we, as mad as we are about the music, and despite knowing all the songs and the lyrics to them, will not move from our seats. We will sit right there and then proceed to clap and shout and whoo and sway and what-not. We will sing along, we will clap till our hands hurt, we will shout till our throats hurt. But no, but will NOT move from our seats. Go figure.

7)      The Where-am-I-I-Think-I-Lost-My-Way ones
They came in because they had two hours to kill in the evening or wanted to get away from their kids. Oh look! There’s a concert happening! Let’s go! Two songs in, they realise this is not how they wanted to spend their Saturday evening. And they walk out. Well, at least they are honest about it, as opposed to those who come to a concert and proceed to spend the next couple of hours playing Temple Run on their phones.

Which brings me to the next type.

8)      The Tag-alongs
They just came along because someone wanted company. And offered to pay for their tickets. So they thought, “Oh what the hell”. You know exactly who they are because they will be spending most of their time on their phone playing games or reading, will go out every ten minutes to attend “important” phone calls, go out to get things to eat, take umpteen loo breaks, and sometimes disappear for hours and return just ten minutes before the concert ends. They’re harmless, except for when they are sitting next to you, and you’re in the aisle seat, and every ten minutes you have to move back to let them go. You know who they are.

That’s all I can think of for now. How many more do you think there are?

November 6, 2013

"I miss you" doesn't quite cover it

When people come to know that I’m new to Chennai, the question that naturally follows is “So, how do you like Chennai?” My answer usually is “I don’t, really”. I mean, what’s there to like? It’s hot all the time. You feel exhausted all the time because of the heat. The autowalas will fleece you, given a chance (although it’s slightly better now, what with the meter finally being implemented). It’s a lot more expensive. I don’t have many friends here. I can’t speak Tamil at all. Etc etc etc.

But in my heart of hearts, I know those are just excuses.

The real reason I’m not able to like Chennai is Hyderabad. I miss Hyderabad terribly, like I’ve never missed any person before.

I miss it all the time. Most days, it’s ok. It’s just a fond memory in my mind. A mild longing, more like. It’s been a year since I bid adieu to the place, to my life there. But not a single day has passed when I haven’t thought about those five and a half years, and I let out a wistful sigh. Five and a half short years that gave me a lifetime of lessons and memories. An affair to remember.

But like I said, most days, it’s ok. Just wishful longing.

Then there are days, like today, for example, when the wishful longing makes way for a large gaping hole in my heart. A strong desire to be back there. As though, you know, I need to be there. I need to see the places and people to hang on to my sanity.

And it’s not just a longing for the place. It’s a longing for everything that the place stands for.

Freedom. Adventure. Breaking free. HCU. Midnight strolls around the campus. Love. Life. Passion. Survival. Red FM. Necklace Road station. Uncertainty of life. Heart break. Drinking and tripping on Pink Floyd and Mohit Chauhan and Gulzar and Irshad Kamil... Living alone. Friends. Soul mates. Roommates. Gulmohar Park. Kundan bagh. Old Monk. Coming home to hot yummy food. Endless conversations. Comfortable silences. Orange wall. Knowing that you’ll never be alone and friendless. That your SOS lives just across the street and hovers around you like a satellite. That if you get a craving for biryani in the middle of the night, it WILL be brought to you. I miss being my own master. Not having to bother about what to cook for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I miss reading till late into the night and watching sitcoms back to back on weekends. I even miss the MMTS trains journeys, during which i have made some life-changing decisions. I miss cracking PJs and talking nonsense; nonsense that will be reciprocated with bigger nonsense and not sense and logic. I long to sit on the terrace with Prusty and Pattanaik, watching the moon and singing ‘chand wale gaane’. I miss my comrades and the companionship.

I miss the life that was and never will be again. Because according to some stupid prophet, life has to move on. Whatever.