By Monica Bakre
Recently, a few of my well-meaning neighbours coaxed me into accompanying them to a music show, claiming that I was fast turning into an unhealthy workaholic. The evening looked promising — a renowned singer from Mumbai, particularly known for his mastery over rendition of old Hindi film songs and ghazals was to perform at an auditorium close by. We reached eagerly, hungry for original, authentic Hindi music rendition and grabbed packets of popcorn to complete the picture of total entertainment as also to satiate our hunger, which was a projected possibility.
The show started with some junior artistes rendering bhajans with a cheerful MC livening up the proceedings. We relaxed, satisfied with the audio arrangements, the AC in the hall, and the popcorn in our hands. The only eyesore was the hall being only one third full. Considering it to be an advertising disaster, we waited for the main performer to arrive.
Before he actually did, the organizers not wanting to disappoint him perhaps, urged the spectators occupying the upper floor seats (lower rate of tickets) to come and occupy the hall downstairs.
Suddenly, a huge surge of humanity descended on us from all directions. They were very pleased at this directive which would accord them better interaction with the artiste, and scrambled to get as close to the stage as possible.
I observed them keenly. I noticed that nearly all of them were male. They were dressed simply and did not seem to have any embellishments attempting to camouflage their near rustic appearances. They never looked our way, thereby proving their genuine respect for women! We relaxed.
And then unfolded the magic of music married to fine words — the singer had arrived! Our fellow spectators were thrilled and unabashedly complimented the singer. Their enthusiasm was infectious as we let down our guards and joined in.
For the next four hours we all sang, clapped, and complimented the singer and his orchestra troop. We did it all together, forgetting that while some of us wore jewels, some of us had clothes on that were not even very clean. It was a wonderful feeling as barriers of class, creed, and caste broke down and the common thread that ran through us was in the fore front.
We had songs on our lips, songs in our hearts, and there was joy all round. Music pervaded the air and probably, the memories of the 60s and 70s came alive in the minds of most of us. I had never experienced such openness of expressions before— where I didn’t have to be scared or embarrassed about enjoying openly, something as universal as music. There always used to be a shyness, a reserve, as I would privately mull over melodies and gloat over poetry.
That melodious evening, those anonymous people gave me a gift — that of wholeheartedly enjoying music in public which made my evening unforgettable. When the show wound up, they went their separate ways and I returned to the cozy confines of my home. Not one face do I remember–what I do remember is the chorus of “waah waahs” and the genuine involvement of one and all. Music indeed unites…..
About the Author: Monica Bakre is a qualified counselor/psychologist, with interest in reading, writing, cooking, music, and pets. She describes herself as an observant, absorbing, thinking, speculating, and sensitive individual.