...of music

A sweeping wave of nostalgia. After so long, I almost feel like I have waited for it. There was deep bass guitar, tablas, soulful voices, dishevelled musicians, seclusion in crowds. Dum dum na na na...

Before that there would be conscious, almost foolish entrances. Furtive attempts to stop the clinking bags from being too obvious, despite other clinks all around you as you walked in. Who would hold the bag? Who had spoken to people; were they there or would we have to pay? Ah, the days of student were over, already. Smiles. Foolish smiles. Fake smiles. Irrelevant smiles. Stamps on wrists. Happy smiles.

But before even that there would be drives. Usually long drives, at least medium long. Plastic glasses in the car. Who am I kidding- bottles, the PET type, our own premixes long before coolers entered our vocabulary. Bumpy roads, surely towards the end. Cars. Many cars. Parking, often far away. Trudges. Cold biting winds, hands stuck in jackets, or holding a bag. The bag with a clinking bottle- what did it clink against? If we were lucky, another bottle. Mostly white- the most acceptable to all. Golden was rarer, and more cherished. But I don't think it really mattered then. Would it now?

After the dodgy entrances- why dodgy- we were expected, almost advised to get our own 'water'. Blue inky wrists, and the next footfall would be slower, more casual, more relaxed. Take a few steps in, let the clearing clear in front of you. Look around- light, darkness; many people, few people; chairs, daris, sometimes some concrete, grass. Always the grass. Cool, often cold, damp. A corner, usually, but not too far off. There was much (or some) to be drunk, but there was always music to listen to. Strains of amateur guitar, sound tests, microphones being tuned, annoucements no one heard.

Up ahead, the chairs. Sarees, old tweed coats, pepper grey hair, handbags, little children, do I remember dogs? That was up ahead. Somewhere away to the right, more light. Bright light. Wafting from the light, smells of kababs and paneer, smells to be ignored. Appetising, tickling smells but ones rendered irrelevant by empty wallets. Near empty. We should have got another 1.5L bottle of orange or black. Someone would have to go get more pepsi now- and listen, try and get some extra glasses. Any ice? Two, three pepsis. Four, maybe. Later water (only mineral water available? surely not...)

Acoustic guitars. Harmonicas. Tablas. Flutes. One-man, two-man, interesting solos, happily amusing experiments, bands. Bandanas, torn jeans, distortion pedals, songs heard all too often; white goatees, checked waistcoasts and songs never heard; beads, long hair, kurtas, much awaited favourites. Foreigners, Indians, english, hindi, french, who knows what.

Away to the back, discreet groups, a grey cloud veritably hanging over them, but why the seclusion? There is none in our part of the garden. Discretion, that is. Only flavoured paper on a good day. The inevitable bumping into people, so many people ("what- I've met only two people I know today?!"). Some catching up, some PC, some bear-hugging reunions over drinks and drags. Never beer. Never enough, so often scavenging for more, partaking of generous friends or well-equipped acquaintances.

Lying back ,looking up; cool blades of grass caressing the back of your head, stars above, melodies permeating from all around, contented sighs. A haze forming, in front of your eyes. Smiling blissfully, not too blissfully. Not yet, there was still music playing. Long-resisted visits to the loo would wait no longer. Joint trips, talking all the way through to busy loos that were yet not crowded; never clean, never dirty. Walking back, relieved, refreshed, aware, sometimes eager to see someone new you have not yet met that day, then meeting someone absolutely unexpected. Stopping to talk and reaching another corner, another circle... of friends, strangers. Going round in circles, no person of the beautiful ilk draped around your arm, and no desire for one. The only ones are either those you meet and forget or those you backslap with genuine gladness at being there.

Always wanting to be the last to leave. Mostly being able to, always dependant on someone. Cars, lifts, coordination, favours, sitting on laps with some woozy heads and some laughter. Stumble back with music and other intoxicants in your veins, sleep in your eyes, hunger on your mouth and a smile in your head.

Then, now...if anything the smile seems to have widened in looking back...

8 thoughts:

Anonymous Tuesday, August 23, 2005  

6. 6 things about laser hair, catholic prayers, eletcric scooters. Spam is now friggin official. crap.

Thetis Tuesday, August 23, 2005  

amazing trip!

Penny Lane Wednesday, August 24, 2005  

This made me very nostalgic... it's so funny how everyone goes through the same thing even if its done with different people and in different cities, the trip is always the same...

Oh, how I miss my jobless, drunken, stoned days in Madras...

Anonymous Thursday, August 25, 2005  

thetis: yes it was. many times over. alternate saturdays were good, great, sometimes really special...

penny: Ya, I guess its the time of life. No money, no cares, no fussiness on alcohol, no special focus.

er,shit- what's changed ?

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