Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Confessions of a Live Band Abettor

… for all the times that I’ve surrendered to the sensual pleasures of a live band, Lord have mercy.

Dear Lord, forgive me, for I have sinned.

I run a small, shady, insignificant shack in the vestal pristine city of Bangalore. Due to my contractual fine print with this newspaper, I cannot tell you the name of the place, but you claim to be all-knowing, so I’m guessing it won’t take you too much time to figure it out.

Over the last couple of years, ever since you handed those two stone tablets engraved with ‘the commandments’ to our high priest of morality, the then commissioner of police (again, no names, because I’m pretty sure you know who I’m talking about) I have been found guilty on innumerable occasions.

Many an evening has been spent having a drink or two, sitting around with friends, listening to a devious crafty DJ spin his stuff, knowing fully well that rock-n-roll is the devil’s music, and certainly the surest highway to hell.

Mea culpa.

Sometimes (more often than not), it went completely and utterly out of hand, with couples making their way to our makeshift dance floor, where they were jumping about, holding each other, gyrating, swinging their hips mischievously, all on the pretext that it was some sort of Latin dance form. I know I should’ve stopped them and registered a complaint with the moral Highgrounds Police against them, for indecent conduct and corruption of our consecrated values, but they were couples unwinding on a Saturday night after a long week, and I really didn’t have the heart to turn them in.

For this, again Lord, I beg forgiveness.

Then there have been times, Lord, when I’ve really fallen. We have these karaoke nights, where people, young, old, some in tune and some ridiculously out of it, come to sing along, make some noise, and have a party. It’s quite a thrilling sight to see wannabe singers (sometimes kids as young as 5 years old) sharing the stage with some of Bangalore’s (and sometimes the country’s) most celebrated voices. I am told these nights are very addictive (why else would they come in such large numbers, week after week after week), and as it is with all addictions should be discontinued and all of them packed off to rehab after having their mouths washed with soap water.

For all these twisted, cheap thrills that I’ve gotten out of these nights, week after week, pardon me Lord.

But all this is miniscule compared to what I’m going to confess now. It’s something that I am ashamed to even say aloud, for the implications it holds.

Lord, there are nights where we have ‘live bands’.

Yes lord, that very dreaded word that conjures up images of prostitution and debauchery, of gambling and corruption, of pimping and solicitation, of dancing girls and cabarets, to some of our profoundly wise lawmen and government officials.

It doesn’t really matter that the connotation could possibly be slightly different in certain cases. It hasn’t yet dawned on them that ‘live bands’ could actually be live musicians (and not a sham to cover up a ‘chamiya bar’). Live musicians across genres from different parts of the country and the world, that enthrall with their virtuosity and not with the amount of flesh they expose.

Good Lord! We had a Grammy winner (again, I don’t need to tell you who) a couple of nights ago along with a troupe that had come in to experience the night life in the country’s pub capital, and I had to be strong (it also helped that I had a bunch of those khaki clad priests who were making sure we weren’t up to any trouble) and tell them that playing music or jamming in a space that served alcohol was a sin and a capital offence that could have our license suspended.

But yes, for all the times that I’ve surrendered to the sensual pleasures of a live band, Lord have mercy.

For all those times that I’ve been unable to chase everyone out before the clock menacingly struck 11.30 …

For all those skimpily clad women that I’ve sneaked a slightly longer glance at…

For all those car keys that I stole, because I thought they were too drunk to drive home …

For all this, and for all those other little sins that I don’t recollect, forgive me Lord.

C - scapes ... underwater colours