Monday, October 17, 2005

GOD's Concert - Impressions

I am a strong believer in “destiny”. Or “fate” as the ones who are hard done by call it. Or “luck” as the ones who have had the green rubbed their side call it. My entire life has been one lucky ride. And it was no surprise that the A R Rahman concert played out as it eventually played out.

As I began to write this piece on the concert, I realized that it would be nigh impossible to leave out my personal perspective on the whole thing. And I also realize that cluttering this with the other details would make the entire thing a mess. So I’ve decided to put this in two parts. One version that ambles along with no temporal discipline, or narration structure…akin to my feelings the two days. The other would be more orderly, and help in providing a window to those unfortunate to not be there.

Late Friday evening we were right below the stage watching the God rehearse. And Shiva said something that articulated a thought that was pretty common among all of us – “I’ve seen him this close. Even if I were to die right now I would be contented.” Until then the quote of the day had been the hilarious “We have 20000 stickers exactly for 20000 glasses. Don’t waste even one!”. Shiva’s had taken the lead, but life never ceases to surprise you. GOD, who is not known to be a very garrulous person, said this – “Don’t worry! I won’t leave until each one of you has taken a photo…”. Sigh! It is no coincidence that the ones who talk and brag the most are actually the ones who have achieved the least. Here was a legend, genius, GOD, etc…but who was also a great human being. Forgive the obvious irony in the “GOD being a great human”. But I did warn you about inconsistencies in this post.

After the photo with Him, things were quite a bit blurred. I vaguely remember walking around in circles as the enormity of the situation attempted to hit me. I don’t blame it for striking me late…as I said, I was walking around in circles, hence making myself a tough target. I do remember giving out a leap of joy. I do remember having a grin plastered onto my face. But I think my eyes were the ones that suffered the most damage. As a friend of mine commented on mail, “The glint in the eyes of sridhar is awesome.. looks as if he has achieved his purpose of life.:p” Agree. Completely.

Maybe these few seconds with the GOD equipped me with the resilience to bear what was to follow the next day. As the heavens opened up, dowsing pretty much everything in sight, including a lot of long-dreamt hopes, my distressed mind began to frantically look for something to cheer me up. If one looks really hard, the entire world is itself a silver lining. Actually, due to the heavy downpour, and the subsequent announcement by GOD that the show would go on, one thing became clear. Or I should say, one more thing became clear. He doesn’t just break all barriers of language, region, religion, country, etc with his music. He had also broken all economic barriers. 10K, 6K, 3K, 500…all were huddled up in the same section.

Despite his associates expressing their misgivings on continuing the show, He stuck to his word. Besides, if not for the rain, most of us volunteers led by Gopal & Arun would have never been able to actually witness the concert. It is almost a case of GOD deciding to do all that needs to be done to help us witness another GOD perform. The fact that the rains kept quiet until the last song further proves my theory. And even those rains were actually beneficial. It would have been hard for quite a few of the people to explain the tears streaming down their faces otherwise.

His music tugs at our hearts, not just our ears. He is the only one who has the ability to provide the “goosebumpish moments”. Shedding a few tears in exchange is a small price to pay. Heck! no price at all. As He sang Maa Tujhe Salaam, the process of being transformed into a different realm reached completion. I got up a chair, threw away whatever bit of voice was left in my throat, and…
Not possible. It is just not possible to express that particular feeling.

I could taste the salt in the rain. Tears and rain were indistinguishable.

The show was over. I had been drenched to the bone. And it was a mild surprise to not wake up with a bad cold the next day.
Actually not really a surprise.
After all, what are GODs for? :)

Thank you once again GOD!

(to be complemented/supplemented with the detailed narration)

Monday, October 10, 2005

With GOD!!!

That’s it. My life is done. Done. Absolutely.


I repeat. Paradise.
Goodbye earth!


(A million million thanks to Radha for taking this photo. A detailed description of the concert will follow by this weekend. My body is aching. A lot.)

Right next to GOD. Right next to GOD. Sigh!

I repeat.

Right NEXT to HIM!!!



Sunday, October 02, 2005

The “Joy” of F1-Watching

I received an email the other day from a friend of mine saying that some XYZ had won the Formula 1 Championship. And he was apparently the youngest to achieve this feat.
My mind interpreted this as: “XYZ came first among a bunch of losers participating in a boring activity that is as fun to watch as…”…never mind…I do not want to get harsh right at the beginning of this post. There is enough space further down that would give me sufficient scope to vent my ire.

I would like to congratulate the XYZ on one thing though – resilience, endurance, perseverance. The other day I was trying to count a bunch of rupee notes when this friend of mine kept distracting me by throwing in random numbers. Now, the fact that I managed to count them successfully is a test of my resilience, endurance and perseverance. And, I might as well add, a whole lot fun than the funereal caravan that goes around in the guise of F1. But would anyone be stupid enough to get hooked on to this rupee-counting exercise? You would think not…but you would be surprised to see the number of such numb-witted morons who actually enjoy this “sport”.

Ah…sport. I had resolved to not use this word in this particular post. Now that I have done this great word a huge disgrace, I might as well utilize it for a few minutes and let it slither away in compounding shame. Sport is something that involves the use of brains or physique or skill or talent or hard work or athleticism. A bunch of dumbos with helmets so big to compensate for their actual lack of brains “supposedly” circling around a road with no signals, rules, and a very high fatality rate is not a “sport”.

I’ve spoken so much without actually getting to the title. A few weeks back, thanks to Chakku & Kaushik, I was forced to watch an F-1 race at Barista. Well, not exactly watch…but more like staring at a screen saver trying to figure out something good in the whole crappy mess. There are very few things on ESPN Star that I would not see. And this ennui in the name of F-1 is definitely one. So I decided to turn my back to the screen, and try to find some joy out of this F1 race. And it actually happened!! No kidding. Here are the highlights:

Crowd goes “Whoooo…yeahhhhhh…whoooooooo…”
I turn expectantly to see an incredible manoeuvre happening. Nope. Apparently a car went over a worker’s shoe. Did you read that??? I shall repeat, APPARENTLY A GODDAMN CAR WENT OVER A POOR WORKER’S SHOE!!! And that is cause for excitement?!!

Chakku & Kaushik, “Hey…look at that!! Whoa…smooching…whoa!”
Well, I turned to catch…surprise surprise…a change in the TV channel. Some benevolent soul seemed to have switched to National Geographic. And there were 2 alligators on a deserted road trying to smooch. Wait wait…the heads of the monsters seem to be exploding, and out emerge two jokers in jumpsuits. Damn!!! It is still the race. :(

Commentator staring at a painting of a road: “This is the stretch that is the key. Look at him go…oh my god oh my god 2.1231254545”
Commentator after 15 mins: “This is the stretch that is the key. Look at him go…oh my god oh my god 2.12312545455”
Commentator after 20 mins: “This is the stretch that is the key. Look at him go…oh my god oh my god 2.12312555”
Commentator after 22 mins: “This is the stretch that is the key. Look at him go…oh my god oh my god 2.12122”
For any observer totally oblivious to the level of stupidity of an F1-fan, this would have seemed like a PlayWin/Lotto lottery number announcement session. And I would empathise with that observer. Why else would any self-respecting individual with even the barest modicum of brains get turned on by a few numbers flashing across the screen???

There were a few more highly exciting incidents during the race, but I do not want to overdo the entertainment card here. Me & Rajjo have been F1-haters since time immemorial. Or since the time F1 began to get popular. We had tried coming up with a few doubts on the entire charade. Here they are, with our honest attempts at a logical answer:

1) How do the drivers take a leak?
Ans: Till the 1950s, the term pit-stop was actually “pot-stop”. The drivers would park their cars, rush to the pot, relieve themselves, and hop back into the seat. Since this wasn’t providing the requisite amount of boredom to the viewers, they changed the rules. Drivers were asked to pee into the fuel tank. But this rule resulted in drastic results. The “oh my god oh my god 3.333” gave way to a “oh my god oh my god 3.3343433”. On further inquiry, it was found out that the drivers began to take performance enhancement drugs. And this passed on from their urine to the fuel and upped the engine’s performance. Sounds unbelievable? I agree…but so is the concept of people actually enjoying F1. Since we have proof for the latter, the former is also justified. Anyway, to prevent such malpractices that would result in cheating the public (more), the association decided to provide diapers to all the drivers. And that is how it stands…until the next loophole is found.

2) Why can’t they have a few hurdles?
Ans: Given a chance, no mature individual who prides himself on his driving skills would actually relish driving on such hassle-free roads. At the end of the day, I have more respect for the skills of my bus-driver who takes me from E-City through the nightmarish Hosur Road. This driving is a true test of perseverance, skill, endurance. Not brainless circumambulation.

3) When do the TV guys know the right time to insert ads?
Ans: Ok, let me do a bit of role-playing here. I shall pretend to be an ardent F1 fan, who is totally enamoured by the proceedings. Since the same 2 minutes of high octane excitement footage seems to be getting looped constantly, I wouldn’t like to be denied the opportunity to be glued to this for hours. So, how does the TV guy differentiate the boring (god forbid!) parts from the non-boring? I mean, don’t you get the impact? I miss 30 seconds of what has been going on…and how would I be able to cope with that!!! Never!

My views on F1, F1 drivers, and F1 fans were not meant to be insulting, demeaning, etc. The views expressed are just a manifestation of my anguish. I mean…yes…I do think that they are a whole lot of jerks. But…you know what…this disclaimer doesn’t even make sense now.
I actually meant what I wrote. Period. Sue me. :)))