You came singing through my soul

“And now, Carlos Santana coming to you live from Galgotia University grounds”  (Seriously?!)… is not a sentence I ever expected to hear. But I did. And it was music to my ears.

After the Metallica disaster I’d given up hope of any big act making it to Delhi/NCR. But Korn and Enrique (neither of whom I was interested in) played to packed audiences, and went off super-smoothly. I did want to go for Megadeth and headbang (so what if my knees wouldn’t last beyond the first 3 minutes of shaking like a maniac?) to A tout le monde but that was the weekend Tambi was in town with Baby Button (yes!!). By town I mean at my parents’ place so we all trooped back there. I kept telling him it was a testimony of my love for him that I picked him over the chance to see Megadeth live. The OA on the other hand was all – “Eh? Megadeth? Who?” I think I should have had these on a checklist before I married him. He also caught Iron Maiden in the US and even Alice in Chains. And he doesn’t even like their music. :( I missed that night because I had made plans to meet a friend who I never thought I’d get to meet in this lifetime. But seriously, where is the justice I ask you. And how did I marry a man who isn’t a fan of any of these bands? Oh well.

And when I heard that Santana would be playing after the F1 in Noida I jumped at the chance. I don’t know how other cities do it but the idiots here (DNA again, of course!) had not arranged for parking. The F1 parking and signage was brilliant and we followed the arrows naturally assuming that we’d park in the same place, only to be told that the parking lot would shut at 7pm once the F1 audience had departed. We asked the traffic cops milling around on duty, where we should park –  We don’t know, they shrugged, just don’t park here, because we’ll tow you away. Gee, thanks, that is helpful. Finally we just parked down the road in broad view of two tow trucks. Entry was to have opened at 3pm but it only opened at 5pm. After two hours of mucking around in the dust I was this close to collapsing. Why is it harder to stand than it is to walk?

We finally got in and my bladder was about to burst (does this fall into the realm of TMI?) and the port-a-loos that had barely opened up to junta were filthy and already wet and out of water too! WTF?!

After all that misery (can you tell how old I am?) I collapsed in the grass and then Soulmate began to play. The OA and I always try to catch them when they’re in town. Something about them makes my toes curl. I love Tips’ vocals and attitude and Rudy has a voice that sounds like smoke over whiskey. Yes, okay, it is clear we love them.

They were the perfect band to open for Santana because they set the mood and it was almost a spiritual experience to just lie in the grass, dusk falling, staring at the sunset- tamed and hazy through the settling smog and then watch a sliver of silvery moon peek out. To be invited to open for an act like Santana is huge and I think they picked the right band for it.

That said, I feel bad for opening acts. The audience has paid a solid price for the main act and many of them may not have even heard of you. And so it was for Soulmate, with most people getting impatient, the anticipation for Santana getting unbearable. Frankly I’d have driven from Gurgaon to Greater Noida just to hear Soulmate anyway.

And then a ripple ran through the crowd. We weren’t quite sure what it was about, but we sat up anyway. And there, standing behind Tips, his trademark hat on, was Santana, playing for her!!! I can’t tell you how excited I was. My first big gig, the great man Santana himself, and such humility, yet such confidence. He came in with a blast of smoke and when it cleared, not too many people lying back in the grass and semi-dark noticed the extra person. Until someone saw the brightly-patterned jacket and hat and froze.

It was overwhelming, and I felt like a college kid, tears of excitement springing to my eyes. He didn’t try to steal her thunder, playing a tiny bit and floating off the stage after his little joke. Soulmate finished the act as the audience courteously stayed mum but impatiently shuffled around, waiting for them to wrap up.

And when Santana finally came on, the crowd went wild. You will understand this was not easy because half the crowd was over 50! It was cute to see all these older people, some bald, some fully white, wrinkled, all eyes ablaze. Nothing like my shabby jeans and nondescript shawl. These were all in expensive jeans with nary a frayed hem, discreet logos on their neatly ironed pockets and suede driving shoes. Oh yeah, this was another generation coming back to see their idol and this was definitely a far cry from their Peace Brother times.

I called my dad when they played Black Magic Woman. It was the closest he’d ever come to hearing his idol playing live. He’d badly wanted to come but things hadn’t worked out and I was feeling miserable and guilty. Apparently guilt trips come easy to me and I’m thinking of becoming a travel agent for them. It was lovely. Dad singing in my ear on the phone and Santana live in front of me. And then he said, “People below 50 shouldn’t have been allowed in. You don’t know Santana like we did.” True, Dada.

At some point my knees gave out entirely and I sat down in the midst of a thousand stamping, dancing feet. I’d probably be trampled to death, but I didn’t care and couldn’t have done much if I had cared. I was in awe of their energy. Performing, dancing and singing for 2 hours at that age can’t be easy. His wife Cindy drummed for a couple of numbers and was mindblowing. Reminds you that often one half of a famous couple gets overshadowed. My other thought was – damn, but she must have fine biceps!

He spoke a little through the show, talked about peace and the inner light. I don’t know about others, but if my life had Santana playing the background score I’d be at peace and nursing my inner light! I tried hard to live in the moment, closing my eyes, letting the music take over and feeling the energy of the crowd.

Soon the evening was over. Much anticipated and over too soon. But a dream come true and one I would close my eyes and relive for years to come.

And because some of you may have missed Santana, I’m going to share with you, the house pictures of a friend of mine. I love her place. It’s not one of those new modern minimalist characterless places and I love it. I’m always finding something new in a new corner and it always has a fun story. If homes reflect character then hers says warm, inviting, nuanced, interesting, fun, quirky, doesn’t take herself seriously, has taste, eclectic and above all, absolutely original. I’m tired of people seeing someone’s home and lifting an entire idea or wall design. It’s heart breaking for those who spent time coming up with the idea. Enough talk now – go enjoy.

Heard on the streets of Delhi

… while driving the Brat and the Bean around on a hot summer afternoon

[While passing Palika Bazaar] -Bean :  “Oh look – this is where the Teletubbies’ live!

[While driving past NGMA and a good 100 mtrs away from Kota House]- Bean: “Watch out Dada – don’t bang into that little building”    (Err.. NGMA, little?)

[As the sun sets]  – Brat: Do you know why the moon doesn’t come out in the day? Because a hawk might mistake it for a piece of cheese and eat it up.  (A scientist this one might not be)

MM to Bean – My darling baby. Do you know how cute you are? Bean nods and replies confidently, “Yes, three much.”

MM to Bean – You know, cutting your nails is a pain. I can’t wait for you to grow up and take over that chore. Bean  – “I can’t grow up. You only said I have to stay small forever because I am your last baby.”

Also, a lesson learnt. Nicknames are taken seriously around here. Bean and Brat introducing themselves to a visitor – I am Thing One and she is Thing Two.

*groan* – I really should remember to stop calling them just about anything I feel like.

Dilli Haat

* Dear Bijoli Grill

Would you mind opening up a branch in Gurgaon. There is a little girl here who hungers for mishti doi and going all the way to Dilli Haat for it isn’t always easy.

Thanking you,

MM

* Huddling under an inadequate garden umbrella while the unusually harsh Delhi monsoons rage around you, eating steaming hot chicken momos at Dilli Haat, is the cosiest thing ever.  Ever.

* Two kids with straws and mugs of fruit beer can cause more destruction than nuclear war. Don’t believe me? You ain’t seen mine in action. Brandishing them like swords, spraying water and juice all over the place and poking their parents in the eye, shoving them into their noses and ears.

*Heard – Brat saying – Why are you saying, don’t touch the dogs, don’t touch the dogs? Doggies only bite if you hurt them. If you pet them they will love you back.”

*Seen – Brat helping the waiters lock up the stall, hand out menus, and struggle to lift chairs and pile them up. He finally promised to come back when he was older so that he could help the waiters.

*Heard – Bean saying, “I’m not a waiter. I am an eater.”

And just like that…

…you wrap up five years of living, loving, sleeping, crying, dreams, hopes, fears, sorrows, entertaining, playing, music, laughter, greenery, food, parenting, joking, sleeping on the cool marble floor, huddling around an angeethi, late night drives, street watching from a balcony, impromptu outings, pigeons on the balcony, and store it all in cartons, pile it on to 5 trucks and take it away. All within 48 hours. Leaving only an empty shell. And no trace of the inhabitants but a few forlorn warli figures dancing on a wall and a tub full of flourishing greens.

Guess..

On some solitary rock, a desperate lover left his mark, “Baby, I’ve changed. Please come back.”

Anyone know where those lines are from? No cheating and googling! No prizes being given away though!

Anyone want to take this up as a tag? Link back to my comment section if you feel enthu enough. Basically take a picture from your daily life that reminds you of a certain song. This wall belongs to the Sulabh Shauchalyaya (!!) near the Moolchand Flyover.

Another line I love from this song ( what? I know those who know, will know and those who don’t will just google) is this line – Somebody’s going to emergency, somebody’s going to jail.

The Garden Festival

was held at The Garden of Five Senses, Saidulajab. This is at the height of spring. So the place is in bloom and you can almost get giddy on the beauty of it. It’s funny how we don’t realise the impact nature has on our kids. The moment we took the kids in, they went nuts, smelling flowers, trying to pluck (they got a yell for that!) and generally going nuts running around, drinking up the gorgeousness of it. If and when I buy a professional camera I am going to make you guys very happy. As of now I leave you with this.

Check out these huge balls of flowers. How huge? Oh, let me see, I’m going to put the Bean in front of one for perspective!

And then these funny animals and birds created on wire frames. They’re strange, but anyone can see they take a lot of effort.

In case you had no idea HOW much the Bean loves elephants, take a look at this picture.

Bean, what is your favourite animal?  – Elephants!

Bean, what birthday cake do you want? –  An elephant cake, mama!

Bean, what do you want to be when you grow up?  – an elephant, mama!

And also, little gharounda stuff – is there an English word for that?

The most beautiful cactii. Did I just say beautiful and cactii in the same sentence?

And the most amazing bonsai on rock…

At one point the kids got lost in the midst of the flowers and I was reminded of a Hindi movie!

There were dancers….

There were installations in brass ….

Plenty of water bodies that posed a constant challenge – The Bean wanted to dive in, we needed to keep her out…

She finally almost won that round when she saw … what else..? Elephants! Stone elephants in a shallow pond. She charged ahead and in a second was over the railing and was about to land with a crash on her head when I screeched louder than I have in my entire life. The OA and I battled and pushed through crowds that she’d just sliced through with her err.. height advantage (?). He caught her by her leg before she went right over. I shook her till her teeth rattled. She and the Brat shamelessly grinned. Obviously I am doing something wrong if NOBODY is scared of me :(

I think someone could have gone home that day and blogged about the terrible parents who left their little child unattended and she almost drowned.:D

Anyway, while we’re on it, I read about this lovely spring festival held by Himanshu of Red Earth. Read about it here and see Madhu Kapparath’s lovely pics. I’ve had the privilege of working with him too.

A quickie poll and some info

So UTBT is running a poll here on home languages and learning a second language. If you have any opinion whatsoever on what language your kids should be learning at home and how you want to go about it, do go and give your valuable opinion here. It would really help her so do spare some time for it.

I’d be happy to hear about it in my comments section too.

Also, a guide for those taking autos in Delhi by a friend of mine. Here goes

I dread to travel around Delhi in auto rickshaws. It’s horribly stressful. They refuse, overcharge, misbehave and harass us most of the time. So here are few options to set things straight.

  • Make sure you note the vehicle no before you get in.
  • Check the website link http://www.delhitrafficpolice.nic.in/sms-services-6767.htm and follow the instructions. It really works.
  • Call 100, register your complaint and the PCR vans in the area you are in, arrive in no time to help out.
  • When the driver refuses to go by the meter, agree to go at the rate he announces. As soon as you spot a traffic booth or a traffic policeman on your way, inform them
  • When they refuse to go where you need to, get into the rickshaw and call the police, and don’t get out until they reach the spot.

It’s worked for me, brilliantly. Delhi police is improving, in fact am rather impressed. Give them a chance and exercise your right.