I won’t cry tonight!

This is the second of my last 6 posts about live music acts. That says something about the neglected state of my blog and about decent big acts coming to India (No thank you, we don’t want the Bieber).

We booked our GnR tickets ages ago. When no one else had. It wouldn’t be the same of course, no Slash, no Izzy, no Duff. But after the Metallica fiasco we’re not being too choosy. We’ll take anything they throw our way. So we had the date marked on our calendar, babysitter organised, played every GnR album for days and sang Patience and Don’t cry as lullabies to the kids.

I’d like to be hipster about this but the truth is, no matter what you are listening to today, GnR is what a lot of us grew up on. To me GnR is not just a big act, it’s long afternoons in a dark old rambling house smelling of khus, American music banging out of tinny stereo systems and a bunch of desi kids sitting around on the floor rocking like their lives depended on it. It is my brother playing the lead to Sweet Child of Mine behind his back. Not an easy task when you realise an electric guitar is heavy and he was a young boy and always built slim. Not easy when you realise he had to reverse the position of his fingers and play the opposite of what he played when it was the right way up. He and his band would practice on our verandah, out in the heat and the blinding sun, wires everywhere, the frenetic drumming keeping my old great grandaunt awake. It was amazing fun to have awestruck kids bang on our gate and ask the boys for autographs. It was cool to be the only jobless one lighting cigarettes, untangling wires and holding down shaky plugs. And through this all we had a background score. Of GnR, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Sepultura, Alice in Chains and what not. We didn’t allow ourselves the luxury of dreaming that we’d ever get to see them. Until a few months ago.

About four days before the show I dislocated my navel (anyone who has heard of this ailment and knows a cure/ good doctor?).  Yes, apparently these things only happen to me. It first happened when I was 12 and turning cartwheels. My stomach crunches up and I stay curled in that foetal position for days. I can’t retain any food because all the internal organs are pushed out of place. It’s pure agony and the only flip side is I get a complete system detoxification. Okay, I jest. It’s a shit experience ( excuse the pun) and there are days I believe I will die of the pain. No amount of allopathy makes a difference, the diarrhea continues and only an experienced dai can massage it to relieve the knot or whatever my intestines have gone into. The only thing that worked wonders is when I was home and an old retainer would light a diya on my navel, upturn a cup on it and then once the diya burned out, yank it off. He called it a totka; I now realise the vacuum  it created yanked the navel back into place.

After the birth of the kids my stomach muscles have becomes more lax and now like all dislocations, the frequency has increased and it happens every 6 months or so. As luck would have it, this time it picked the day before GnR. I was literally writhing in pain. I spent the entire morning popping pills to stop the back door trot, but there was nothing I could do about the pain. I starved myself until I was dehydrated so that I didn’t need to use the toilet, but I could barely straighten up, so tightly knotted were my muscles/innards? The OA came home from work, took one look at me and said we’d either go together or not. I’d told myself that it wasn’t the end of the world if I missed it but I wasn’t able to buy my own story. And I didn’t want the OA to miss it, heck, I didn’t want to miss it myself. So we planned it such as to get there as soon as the opening act had finished. And as we parked and walked towards the lights arcing across the sky I forgot the navel and began to feel the butterflies.

A crowd of 20,000 and a live wire atmosphere. At this point I must be a snob and say I wish junta wouldn’t show up for an event if all they can do is name two songs. I saw loads of people who couldn’t sing along because they didn’t know any of the music. The reason behind the snobbishness really is that we would have a little more place to move if less wannabe types had shown up! Yes, yes, selfish! But that’s how it is. Everyone wants to say they listened to GnR growing up but won’t be able to name even two albums. Why then pack up the place for real old fans? Rant over.

My stomach ached but just knowing that I was listening to Estranged live, kept me on my feet. That and the crowd holding me upright long after my knees had given up the job.When you’re my height your impression of a rock show is loud music, the smell of weed mixed with sweat and that tall guy’s dreadlocks getting in your nose and mouth. This one was no different.

The OA of course towers above general junta and kept looking down in concern. Did I want to go home? Bathroom? Was I okay? Should he carry me? No, no, no. Carry me, I repeated in mock horror and genuine embarrassment. Yes, of course he said, looking offended. Did I think he couldn’t? Err.. no, I hastened to assure him. It wasn’t his capabilities I was doubting – it was my weight that would be a problem. What nonsense, he said – you’re just the right size for me. Erm. That is sweet, but no.

My earliest memories of how true love manifests itself at a rock show are from a college fest. Every batch has its first couple and my favourite was this petite girl with a riot of curls and a navel ring, and her very cute boyfriend who towered over her. The rock show during our college fest was on and she was hopping from foot to foot trying to catch a glimpse of the stage. And then he hefted her up with ease and plonked her down on his shoulders. Villager that I was, I stared, slack-jawed. What? In public? In college? And then I changed my tune to, how cute! Me next! Even though I was a mere 43 kilos, the then boyfriend couldn’t have been more than 53 kilos, almost a foot taller than me though he was – so I thought better of suggesting that he lift me up. Plus I have a huge dread of public displays of affection and I liked it fine down there, holding hands and staring at a back in front of me, imagining what the stage looked like.

So the OA’s offer was a dream come true, just 17 years too late. But there was no way I was climbing up on his shoulders and making a spectacle of myself. I had a gazillion friends in the crowd and a reputation to maintain, as a 34 year old mother of two. Until Sweet Child of Mine came and all sane thought vanished. I threw my jacket at an unsuspecting friend, tapped the OA on the shoulder and hopped on without a thought for his well being or my dignity. I saw the stage for the first time and I screamed like a banshee and waved. The crowd screamed louder, surged, waved, lighters came out (don’t ask me how they got them in) and in general I felt like a 16 year old. And the 16 year old me got closure in so many ways. Here I was, sitting on my better half’s shoulders watching GnR  – and he hadn’t keeled over under my weight and died yet, pushing 40 though he is! The man doesn’t do poetry, roses, chocolates or diamonds. But what he does for these old bones, I don’t know any other man who will.

When he took me down I was so content, I could have gone home right then. But not quite. I had to see the piano being rolled out for November Rain. THEN I could die. By the time it came to an end I was on cloud # 9 and ready to push through the crowds to get closer. The band was throwing plectrums into the crowd and I didn’t see them come, let alone see where they went. And so at the end, on a stranger’s encouragement I went down on my knees and dug around in the dirt. And I was rewarded.

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Now I am back in bed, dying. But at least I can go in peace. :p

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46 thoughts on “I won’t cry tonight!

  1. a) I know how it feels when ur man lifts u up like a trophy. That rush to know his strength – good God is something else!
    b) But the fact that he won’t celebrate unless he is celebrating with you (even though he had an option) – shows his character – and to know that he is the one with a good character- well, that rush is beyond everything else – looks/strength/money/power/status- all may matter but not as much as the safe knowledge that you are with a good man.

    • Bang on. Nothing like a good man. And yes, nothing like that rush of being picked up. For a while there I felt quite delicate. That ended when I got home and looked in the mirror ;)

  2. Glad you enjoyed the GNR concert MM. I sadly missed the Blore performance :( and I know what you mean about rocking to metal, my older brother favored more heavy metal like ac-dc megadeath and since there was one stereo and he was older that was pretty much all I grew up and liked to hear, my lonesome bodyguard tape was only allowed when he and his friends went out ( and for a change I didn’t follow them ;))…
    And I’ve not heard of the navel dislocation and the Diya idea sounds interesting… I hope you feel better sooon….

    • I have to admit my music was hugely influenced by my brother and yes, his taste was influenced by mine. How little we make of the sibling relationship when in truth it shapes us as much as our parents do….

  3. For a minute I thought I was the first to comment and then realized that you moderate :D
    Sweet child o mine & November rain are anthems aren’t they… Glad u got your dying wish ;) and hope the knot unites soon. Get better and the OA is the perfect man for ya! How romantic …. What he does is not your everyday husband material.. And after his post I suggest you keep him under lock & key :D

  4. I am smiling at the image of you perched up on his shoulder.:)

    And MM, It’s been a while since I’ve been waiting for your Christmas post. Will we get to see the tree at all?

  5. That was one lovely read, though my knowledge of Western music is limited to Mozart and Bach and an occasional Santana.

    I have heard about your ailment. My grandma would massage the inner parts of the knee, elbow and wrist joints to relieve the pain with oil (castor oil, I think). I don’t understand the logic, but I remember that it worked wonders. Certainly worth a try.

  6. The man doesn’t do poetry, roses, chocolates or diamonds. But what he does for these old bones, I don’t know any other man who will.
    LOL!! :D How much the definition of a happy marriage changes over time, eh? :mrgreen:

    Yayy to your ..er… souvenir !! :)

  7. They pulled out a real piano for November Rain…. oh what a rush that must’ve been. I’m thinking I’ll have more access to music I like in saddi Dilli than I get in the jewel of the Northwest *sigh*. Always in the wrong place at the wrong time :(

  8. Again, what a lovely post. I missed GnR too mostly because I wasn’t in a mood to stand in the midst of a crowd for 4+ hours and no slash either!
    I’ve always thought of your hubby as a romantic. I don’t know why but thats the image of his in my mind. I would die of embarassment if my hubby did something like that. Yea no PDA for me either. :D Old fashioned that I am.

  9. Hi Mad Momma, Been reading your blog for quite sometime now, Never commented…until now. I know you hate that- all bloggers do.
    Anyway, the reason I’m commenting now is that dislocated navel. Firstly, what was the cause of it? Lifting heavy weights, moving furniture, tripped and fell somewhere? If it was something avoidable like lifting heavy stuff please refrain from doing that in the future. Get someone else to do it for you please.
    Remedies: Pudina juice helps lessen the pain. Sit straight and fold your right leg. Stretch your arms and touch your left toe without bending your leg. Repeat 7 times. Repeat with the other leg. This is to be done 7 times each. You can take a break in between.
    Normally, this should help balance your navel… Last remedy would be ofcourse to get an expert maalish-wali who can set it right for you, although it has to be someone very good who won’t do more harm than good!
    If you can find the time you must start doing some yoga..It really helps to strengthen the centre of the body and increases blood circulation. I think it might slowly solve your navel-knee problem as a whole. I know you have very little free time on your hands- who does with kids in the house?? But your health needs a bit of attention.
    Good Luck and let me know what happens.
    Divya.

    • Thanks Divya, yes its very likely that I tripped. I have no stability now because of my knee. So where another person might trip and gain balance, I don’t. I trip and fall heavily all the time. Worsening the knee and injuring the stomach. Thank you for all the suggestions. i’m going to remember them. I did try yoga but have yet to find someone who will remember what puts pressure on my knee and stop right there. Most yoga teachers have ended up hurting my knee further :(

  10. This is the first time I am commenting on your blog… I have been following ur blogs irregularly for quite sometime… You write so well… Love ur way of seeing things… This post is yet another awesome one…

    How nice of ur husband to carry you… :) I wish I had made it easier for my husband by maintaining my weight ;) anyways…. Sounds so much fun!

  11. aww .. OA is such a darling !
    We have a book of nature cure that has a few exercises you can do to get your naval back in place – happened to my brother a few times – mom straightened it out by making him do those exercises – want me to look them up and mail you ?

      • Whenever we went down with loosies the first thing my grandma did was check if our naval was out of place :P – Lie down flat on your stomach and press your naval really hard with your fingers. If you feel a throbbing directly under the fingers in the naval its in place – if not then its displaced.
        The Yoga postures given in the book were – Uttanpadasana, Bhujangasana, Matsyasana, Kandharasana, Supta vajrasana, , Dhanurasana, Makarasana, Naukasana, Tadaasana , …. Some are a bit tough but Uttanpadasana and Tadaasna are fairly simple !
        I hope they work for you :P

  12. Darn! I missed the concert coz the spouse was traveling and yes, I COULD NOT go without him :) You certainly got taken to a “special place” by the OA. Rock On!

  13. hey mm, lovely post.. as usual… you describe so many emotions in so few n apt words.. that i can visualise the entire scene… Awaiting your Christmas post…

  14. I am sooo sorry to laugh out loud but truth be told, I did exactly that… Dislocated navel is a first for me. Wish you speedy recovery.

    I know what you mean about “frauds” going to rock concerts and pretending to be headbangers. I am not a huuuuge fan of GNR but some are absolute gems and as you right yeahs, linked to too many memories to not well up at the first note. Besides the obvious ones (sweet child, November rain, don’t cry, estranged,knocking on heaven cover), I totally adore Don’t damn me,patience and dust’n’bones.

    I think the fave would have to be estranged. Which is yours?

    Btw, total awwwwww @ OA picking you up. Hope somebody took a pic!

  15. GnFR? And with the best seat in the house? So giddy on your behalf.

    Navel issues sound like the complete opposite of fun. Easier sung than done, but:
    Said woman, take it slow and it’ll work itself out fine
    All you need is just a little patience
    Said sugar take the time ’cause the lights are shining bright
    You and he have what it takes it make it.
    You won’t fake it, he’ll never break it.

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