Last weekend, I was at the much talked about (yes, it is very much talked about, can’t help it if you live under a rock and haven’t heard of it) NH7 weekender. Before I proceed with what is the point behind the post, I must mention, that for this, Thank you Pune. Hyderabad never has this. I doubt it ever will, and that’s sad because it was an amazing experience. It truly was. And now, dear Pune, you have had your two moments of fame, so we’ll get back to the potholes.
So yes, it was a weekend of music, and bands and celebrities and free-flowing alcohol (Breezers, meh. What place doesn’t have beer?), some good food, and lounging on the grass, and jumping in the crowd and catching key chains thrown by Pentagram, and in general exhausting every 30 year old bone in your body.
And, most importantly, one and a half hours of non-stop laughter. Let me explain. One of the performances there was by Alien Chutney, Vir Das’s comedy Rock Band. I had told The Dude that I would want to be in front few rows, gawking at the celebrities, for just two shows, one Pentagram, and two this. Now Pentagram (for those who don’t know it, I do, thanks to Twitter) is an Indie Rock Band, (led by Vishal Dadlani of the Vishal-Shekhar fame) which pretty much kills it for me because I know no rock. Or Heavy Metal. Or I do, but not voluntarily, I have to be fed a particular track over and over again, or in such a way that I can associate some good memories (the more the better) with it and then start liking it. So when I hear a track by Massive Attack, The Dude would be all ‘Man! They’re playing Massive Attack’ and I would be like ‘Man, yeah! Massive Attack! By the way, isn’t this the song you once heard on full volume after dropping me home after we went to Bottles n Chimneys, cos you were afraid you will fall asleep? Back when we were seeing each other? Awwwww, Massive Attack, Awww!’
Yeah, not a reaction a fan of such genres wants to see, or hear. Anyway, my reason for wanting to watch Pentagram perform live and from the first few rows was more because while I was actually looking at Vishal Dadlani jump tirelessly, screaming himself hoarse into mike, wearing all black, the ground vibrating, my brain was thinking, “Look! The guy who made the music for Ishq wala love! Right in front of me! Awww!’
Ok, so that was one, and the other was Vir Das. Now who doesn’t know Vir Das eh? And I am a fan, a big, fat (not so much hopefully) FAN. From a long time ago, for that matter, which The Dude helpfully reminded me? Apparently he was the one who introduced him to me. And I smirked and was like, ‘Really Dude, really?’ And he was all ‘ Um, yes, really? Remember ‘News on the Loose’?’ And it struck me that he was right. The first time I saw Vir Das on TV was on the Godforsaken CNBC TV18. I know, really. And because of The Dude, whose favorite channel was and will always be that.
Then there was Delhi Belly. And Go Goa Gone. And glimpses of his comic acts, and I was floored for life. So when I knew his ‘Comedy Rock Band’ was performing, I told The Dude we should go some 15 minutes in advance so that we get to be at the front, like I was with Pentagram. And we did that.
Only apparently the whole world and their neighbours, and their neighbours kids’ school friends thought so too. So 15 minutes in advance, all we could get was a spot, where if I stood on my toes, and arched my neck, and positioned my head just in between the shoulders of two (relatively) tall freaks who had no business being in the front (relatively), I could see a few strands of hair off the top of Vir Das’s head. The Dude was in a much better position, being more than 6 feet tall, and by definition a freak who had no business being in the front, for those behind him.
But that didn’t deter me, it couldn’t really. So I stuck to my ground, withstanding the pain that were the curls of the girl in front of me poking into my nostrils. And poking my elbows into the sides of those who thought they could pass by me and to the front, because perhaps they thought I was standing right here at the back, while there was space in the front because it was just so much fun to torture myself.
But fortunately, the sound system was good. So I could hear everything. Loud, clear, and most importantly, so frigging funny! Seriously Dude, seriously, how? HOW does he do it? How do they all do it, these comics? What’s with the right words, the right expressions, and what timing. So I spent a whole 90 minutes with maddening pain in my feet, with all the standing, and my stomach, with all the laughing.
The whole event was spectacular; there were massive stages, big grassy lawns, and paper lights all above. A couple of breezers and you would be smiling at the sky, and thinking how pretty the world was, while the Dewarists performed their magic in the background. At some such moments, and even others, I was thinking about all these creative guys, the musicians, the writers, the dancers, the ones who perform for the enjoyment of others. Penning lyrics, making music, spinning stories out of thin air, dancing out those stories. It cannot be easy, entertaining people.
But the toughest of all this, would be making people smile. Smile till their mouths feel like they would split at the seams. Laugh out loud. Guffaw. Double up holding their stomach. Roll eyes. Scream in agreement. Nod along, and think, ‘So true!’ I know a lot of stories touch us, lot of songs make us tear up, a lot of dances make us go still and stare in awe. But making human beings smile? That is talent.
Especially when you can do it by saying things the audience already knows, just that you just put into the right words. Make it blunt, straight forward. Exaggerate it a bit. Compare it with quirkiest things. Laugh at yourself. Tell them, you’ve been there, done that too. Get sarcastic, with a straight face, but with that slight edge which makes them realize it anyway. That humour. Everyday humour, that makes people forget all the worries, all the sorrows they have and laugh away like there was not a care. In my opinion nothing can beat that.
And some of you reading this are actually part of this group I am talking about. Because you know, and I know, how much I end up smiling, and laughing as I read through my blog subscriptions each day. So to you, along with all those who have managed to tickle my funny bone ever, Thank you.
You’re doing a great job.