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.


Misha said...

this is so depressing! can't believe wht's happening to bangalore.

on the other hand, i love the article.

Shyam Sunder said...

Interestingly put, Carlton.
I cant but wonder what laws are there for Carnatic Music Concerts that go on through the night.
I do not want to be like the dog in the manger,like the so called President of The "Live Music" Assn. has proved to be., but its a thought. Politicians can bark till late at night through commode speakers, but the men in khaki dont mind.
Gosh, this subject will go on and on and on and unless we challenge them in the courts with a fiery advocate, we can cry ourselves hoarse. Lets identify that fiery advocate and lets start a fund to cover the expenses. Seriously .

spartacus said...

Nicely written Carlton. I found out last night that you sing well and today I see you write well too! Hope the ban on "live bands" and dancing gets lifted soon.

Varun said...


TheJamHut said...

You cant stop Rock n' Roll..the 11:30pm deadline will HAVE to move to maybe 3am?? make that 5am....

Shyju said...

It's not often that I do this in public, but this heartrending prayer warrants it.

I forgive you, son.

Pick your dirty linen and surrender it to Thimmaiah (I'm under no contractual obligation) at the High Grounds Police Station.

And yea, may your tribe increase.Nothing like hearing a good confession ;)

Gabs said...

well written & on a lighter note, a one in a million "act of contrition"...humans have their unique ways of complicating life.....fortunate are the birds, they sing & enjoy without boundaries !!!!!

Casperbaba said...

begging forgivness is for those who render their thoughts with grey shades...
with ur's i just see white....
honest i see ur soul...
for forgivness that u seek,
would come back to you as love nad blessings of all who love ya dearly.
Your people and your LOrd!


Anonymous said... think YOU need forgiveness...!!!???

My son was Jewish.!!!!

And you know what THAT means to us guys huh???


Anonymous said...

Hoping for a similar protest, same, if not greater degree of angst, same fervor, same eloquence for issues far greater than live music. Bad roads, water woes, electricity-less days and nights, shrinking greenery.

Bangalore is not only about music, dance and drinks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bad roads, electricity, corruption, shrinking greenery... wonder where the ones in power got all the focus and energy to take on something so trivial, targeting people who are probably a minority? I think you should reserve your comment for the police and the rest of the authorities instead.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you conveniently justifying what ever you do. May be when your guilt speaks you should bind to it better. But then a thought lingers - Are you Good or Bad? Interestingly let me answer that for you , you don't know.

- Where is my next tequila shot!!!

C - scapes ... underwater colours