September 21, 2009

So I ended up last night at a Play TV 'Chaand Raat' Gig held at Maritime Museum in Karachi where a fair number of bands I like were rumored to be playing. The program was supposed to begin with two obscure newcomers whose songs I like (Zzen and someone-whose-name-just-slipped-my-mind) and go on to more tried and tested 'players' (ADP - whose songs I 'still' have not heard -, Strings and finally Fuzon). I landed myself there primarily because a friend of mine - who I love watching on stage - was playing, but also because I love concerts in general. The thing was supposed to start at 11:00. We got there (the brother, the brat and I) at around midnight to find no one aside from us, ADP (Aunty Disco Project for the uninitiated) and the Play TV crew lolling around (with a tiny audience scattered around the giant field). The brother was already annoyed because he was expecting a concert in full swing (oh-the-optimism-of-youth) and because he thought it was beneath his considerable dignity to 'wait' while something happened. The brat who claimed that this was the second concert he had EVER attended (poor little kidsie, must do something about it) was excited and quite willing to wait all night if necessary. And I, well I was hobnobbing with a friend from ADP, and indulging in my favorite hobby: people-watching. (yes, I really did study anthropology once-upon-a-time).

Here's what I saw:

The Maritime museum is large with surprisingly well-kept gardens and pretty waterfalls thrown-around-here-and-there. Also thrown around are not so pretty tanks, rocket-launchers and other heavy artillery-that-once-upon-a-time-happily-lived-on Ex PNS Babar but is now sitting around planted in the mud for the plebian masses to admire. The 'Eid Mela' itself was quite sad. A few lonely stalls scattered around, a stage which somehow looked tiny since it was dominated by a make-shift lighthouse right behind it and the center of the field was filled-to-the-brim by a host of scanning cameras. I really do wonder why channel-sponsored concerts never seem to begin until some obscure time in the morning. It's one of the reasons why once-upon-a-time-when-I-lived-in-Karachi I quit going to such events despite free passes and/or courteous invites.

The crowd was somewhat thin when we entered. I was one of perhaps four or five women in the giant field (a fact that did not make the brother any happier). What made him less happy still was that amongst the four or five of the above were two Play TV DJs - heavily made up, insanely bubbly and somewhat annoying at 1:00am - and the others were, err, well, let's not get into baseless allegations here since point-not-that. The atmosphere became a little less oppressive about 15 minutes later when soundcheck decided to blast some very nice songs out there. The-part-of-me-that-is-always-dying-to-dance was dismayed at how strong the urge to move was, given the inappropriate location (also the somewhat conservative brother would probably have killed me). The ADP boys (bechare) were the only 'rock stars' in plain view. I assume the others were hiding in the parking lots waiting for a crowd to gather before they made their august presence known.

Now, I'm fairly careful with the Brat. Because he's still fourteen and somewhat unspoiled by the ways-of-the-world, which is inevitable eventually I suppose, but I'll be damned if I'll be blamed for if-and-when he decides to move away from the virtous path. My friends are instructed to be PC around him, and I try - as much as possible - to steer him cleer of the more scandalous elements. Given this, it's amusingly ironic how the safest 'crowd' I could think to sit with were the ADP boys (no offence to the boys, they're lovely people, but ordinarily I'd have kept the brat at arms length from the 'bands' for a few more years). What amazed me about the crowd was not how sleazy it was (at tv-channel-sponsored-events when only one person out of twenty is obliged to buy a ticket, a sleazy crowd is somewhat inevitable) or how overwhelmingly male it was (again, what else can one expect in the land of the pure close to 1:00am?) but, how completely overwhelmingly out-of-the-closet gay it was.

I am not in the least bit homophobic, but both the brother and the brat are somewhat vary. The brother claims he likes his gay 'friends' but he doesn't trust 'unknown' gay elements not to hit on him. (Personally, I find the idea of my brother dealing with advances from men absolutely hilarious). The brat, poor little kidsie, he was just just scandalized. I, on the other hand, was absolutely fascinated. I have never, ever, in twenty-something years of attending events of dubious quality seen a crowd so openly gay. It seemed to me like Maritime museum had somehow transformed itself into into one of the seedier quarters of downtown NY late-late on a Saturday night.

One skinny boy with long hair in a black shirt and tight-tight black pants fancied himself as a bit of a kathak dancer. He preened and pranced like a heera-mandi courtesan around-an-around his enthralled partner, a bearded manly-man wearing a fucshia pink shirt. Other assorted indivuals sauntered around wearing telling clothes (tight T-shirts in flaboyant red, body-clenching jeans in assorted colors, earrings (not-cute-boy-earring-kinds, more like the kind I wear on outrageous days)) happily hand in hand with their, err, friends. On the dance floor they were wrapped around each other, off the floor... well let's just say my attention moved very quickly out of when will-this-damn-concert-start and more towards can-I-just-sit-a-corner-and-observe-this-interesting-phenomena-all-night?

The evening's formal entertainment eventually began with a boy named Zzen (and the-other-one-also-whose-name-I-forget-but-song-I-like) who were disappointingly lip-syncing. ADP and Fuzon assured me (Strings had not yet arrived) that they were playing live (poor things) but I have no idea how they were intending to pull that off given the haphhazard arrangements. As the crowd got livelier, the brat chafed to go into the center and listen 'properly' to the music and not sit at the back away from the dubious ambience as we had chosen to do. Finally giving in to puppy-dog eyes my brother agreed to escort him to dance floor. To entertain himself he took my camera with him (I now have two videos of kathak dancer and partner in flagrante-embrace if anyone is interested).

At some point, to help out the brat, my brother decided to play hero and took it upon himself to jump into the melee to obtain a free DVD that singer-boy was throwing out at the crowd. Immediately after he rescued the prize, he turned around to and realized that in his single-minded quest he had managed to throw himself in the midst of our friends-in-flamboyant-clothes who were - literally - dancing circles around him. And woe-is-him a camera-man particularly interested in capturing the phenomenon was video-taping the gay-crowd with my poor horrified brother smack in the center of it.

Needless to say he was most annoyed. And we had-to-leave-this-shitty-place-immediately. And what-the-fuck-what-if-someone-saw-the-footage-and-recognized-him? And why-did-have-to-drag-him-to-this-disgusting-place-to-begin-with. And his-friends-would-die-laughing-if-they-ever-saw-this. And oh-my-god-what-if-it's-on-youtube?!?! The brat and I made sympathetic noises about his predicament (which-was-our-fault-entirely-ofcourse) on the way home all-the-while secretly wishing we could have stayed a little longer because it occured to us that finally - after nearly an hour of waiting - the night had just begun to get entertaining. Oh well, my poor-poor sibling. *hehe*

13 comments:

Gaia said...

lol! poor brothers!

Deepak Iyer said...

Video please [:)]

Gigi said...

Hi Xeb,

Wish you a very Happy Eid.

Roydon said...

i enjoyed the show but waiting for fuzon took alot out of me

Lonely Perverted Soul said...

Hey cool night.. you hung out with ADP.. They are great....

Xeb said...

G: Yea, they were most harassed! :P

D: Haha, I thought you'd ask! I'll upload them someplace or the other and send you the link :)

G: Thanks Gigi!:) How're you doing?

R: I was there for Fuzon too but as you read, I had to leave. Which was a pity because Shallum was who I was actually there for. I love watching him play :)

LPS: They are :) As I confessed to them kal, I still haven't heard their songs, but one of them is a friend so it was good catching up! :)

Lonely Perverted Soul said...

Its sad that u havent...:P especially sultanat....

Xeb said...

LPS: I have promised them I shall be checking their songs out soon! :)

Lonely Perverted Soul said...

Invite them to isloo and get free passes :)

Ubaid said...

I, me, ubaid :p actually read this whole thing :-D and oh yeah loved it :-p

This reminded me of my job as event manager, which made me realize it's so easy to lose you manly ness if you have a glass of alcohol in hand and music which would blow you away.... And *sigh* there are ugly scenes especially when the party rocks up :-$

Roydon said...

me 2.. shallums a personal friend and i play in his brothers band

Xeb said...

LPS: Haha, I'll see what I can do!

UB: Event management is yet-another totally crazy profession! I was considering it once-upon-a-time as a vocation, but then I came to my senses! :)

R: I figure. I think Simeon (have I screwed up the spelling) was who directed me towards your blog in the first place. Was he there that night? I didn't see him around!

Xeb said...

Ps: What do you play?