You’re never too old to rock

… and you’re never too young to mosh.

Children get introduced to the music their parents like inadvertently and early, and that gets flung in my face often enough when the Brat is in one of his dark moods. The OA will groan… “I told you not to listen to so much Floyd when you were pregnant…”

And so our kids wake up to country music, the house rings with classic rock through the day and the sun sets over the balcony with jazz on the radio. But with rock shows mostly held in pubs and smoky clubs, it’s not really easy to take them for live shows, to say nothing of the music being too loud for kids. Over the years they have visited the venue while the band is setting up, if friends are playing but not stayed on once the show really kicked in.

I’ve seen lots of people who work in the music industry bring their kids as young as two months to shows and I appreciate that. I just don’t have the guts to do it myself. When this convenient open air festival came up I jumped at it. We got there fresh and early with Oye Pancho, a music promoter. He is of course over-enthu about his niece and nephew being introduced to ‘good’ music early – whatever that might be. So we went for the Rocktoberfest in the Garden of  Five Senses.

The OA and I wondered how we’d manage them when we reached the venue. An amphitheatre with no real seating …just a mud slope with boulders and a few benches scattered around. I sat my ass down and told the OA he was on his own. My knees were not feeling too good after scrambling up the slope and the thought of running up and down for the rest of the evening sent shivers down my err.. knee. The OA girded his loins for the challenge that lay ahead and I shifted around on the gravel realising that my aged butt wasn’t as comfortable and unconcerned about what it was seated on as it might have been ten years ago. Yeah, this is where you shoot me. Or I shoot myself.

We needn’t have worried really.  The kids figured out soon that their big, burly, long haired uncle, Oye Pancho (henceforth referred to as OP) was the man in charge, that this was his turf. We were irrelevant almost immediately. They stuck to him like leeches and followed him around like puppies. To be honest, the OA and I did try to keep them with us (not too hard!) but he was so enthusiastic about taking care of them that we gave up bothering and enjoyed the music. That on stage, as well as off stage.

Some of the highlights of the evening were him panting out, “Now I know how papa (he’s always called the OA papa) stays so fit!” At another point he admitted to realising how eyeballs can move in two different directions at the same time. “One of them went up the slope, the other went down and I didn’t know which one to follow. So I tried logic. Which one will gravity effect more?”

He took them backstage to check it out, they shook hands with all the musicians while on stage and I will never forget the image of my little son sitting on the shoulders of this burly man, waving out to me from the spotlight on stage. A little boy around the Bean’s age (his father was a drummer) took a fancy to her and wanted to keep her with him. The Brat didn’t take to that idea very well and dragged his sister back. The OA groaned – here was his one chance to have some drumming connection one way or another. It was one of his dreams and I keep trying to shoo him out to learn but it doesn’t seem to be happening.

And all this while I sat there with my heart in my mouth, watching the Bean trip up and down (she has my sense of balance or the lack thereof) the rocky hillock, willing myself to breathe and let go. The Brat took off by himself a couple of times and I was so proud of my little man who was willing to head out and explore and clamber up and slither down without whining or troubling us for anything. I looked around for familiar faces and found few. Most of those who I hung out with in the good old day have either moved on or been at too many of these to come anymore.  There were mostly people who were atleast five years younger.

I did feel like a bit of a has-been until I noticed a bunch of other parents who are dragging their similar aged kids around and going nuts chasing them. That and the fact that there were older people, grey, balding, limping, sitting in chairs unlike the rest of us on the ground, all sipping their beer, taking a drag… Old rockers never really die..

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was playing that very evening at a park and most of our friends with kids were going to that event. We’d considered it because it is also something we’d appreciate. But then we realised that our first love is this sort of music and I’m glad we made that choice and stayed true to ourselves. At one point both kids were dancing to the music and were down in the mosh pit when I started laughing. They’ve started way earlier than I did and I love it. Just as much as I don’t appreciate little kids doing the pelvic thrust to Bollywood numbers at parties. I guess we’re all frauds deep down!

The music was fantastic and I have never seen the Raghu Dixit project live before. They were better than I’d imagined. You must hear Hey bhagwan if you haven’t already.  And then Gudgudiya sedi nodo – a Kannada song that an all North Indian crowd soaked in and enjoyed to the hilt. The kids were fascinated and calmed down when Mrigya came on. They’re simply fantastic.

I was hoping they wouldn’t get bored and they didn’t. It was partly the live music, partly the excitement you could feel in the air, partly the venue and partly the fact that they were just instinctively at home. A fact that tickled me no end. By the end of it, the Brat lay down on my outstretched legs and the Bean fell asleep in my arms while I sat there holding on to both with super human effort. Having had a good feed of biryani and without troubling to go to the loo they curled into me without a word and closed their eyes. And thats the other part of being a parent. No matter how tired you are, or how uncomfortable you are, you can still stretch yourself to make your child comfortable and I think the beauty of it is that they never know uncomfortable you are with half your ass hanging off a bench, your arms aching with their weight and your neck twisted into an odd angle to support them.  Finally the OA lifted the Brat off me into his own arms, I shifted into some semblance of ease with the Bean in my arms and Oye Pancho relaxed over a well deserved beer! Just three adults (who in their head were at that moment back to being 18!) enjoying a beautiful evening.

I think OP needed the beer after the nth person looked at him in shock and stuttered, “When did you have kids? And not one, but two?!” There are those who worked out a neat sign system too. A shocked raised eyebrow, two fingers up in the air… After two comments on how like him they looked he began to promptly introduce them as nephew and niece before anyone had time to react! It’s amazing how people will find similarities if they imagine you are related!! The OA, fortunately, was rather amused. To me its just nice to see someone love two children so much that he wasted pretty much an entire evening of music just caring for them, entertaining them and preventing them from sliding down rocks and killing themselves.

Sitting there, holding two sleepy, exhausted content babies in my arms, my butt soldered to the floor, my knee stiff, the breeze nippy, the crowd swaying, I was suddenly mommy, rocker chick and girlfriend all at the same time.

I felt this deep sense of satisfaction at having shared something that is important to me, with the little people who are important to me. People often talk of passing on their culture to their kids. I wonder what that means because most often nothing of what they talk about rings a bell with me. And yet as I sat there, watching the little brother and sister gambol around literally, the music in the background becoming a sort of soundtrack to their lives I realised this is what I am passing on to them. Waking up to country music and hymns. Hindi music and classic rock through the day. And jazz in the evenings while they chow down their dinner, whining away in time to it.  I am passing on to them my love for music of every kind. It made me feel grown up all of a sudden. I had something to pass on?!

Sometimes you can go through days and months and years feeling unfufilled and incomplete. And then something small happens and you get locked into that little circle, that little bubble where everything that ever mattered to you is in one place and you realise that sometimes it does take others to complete you and its not always from within yourself alone.

Some pictures from the evening. The slope on which I sat, and the stage up ahead.


The brats hanging off their father.Well they couldn’t entirely give him a break, could they?!


Because you guys keep asking for pictures of me. Well – I was there. With the red band on my wrist. OP got the kids bands too because they were so darn excited!


23 thoughts on “You’re never too old to rock

  1. Sounds like everyone had fun.
    So did this make the OP want to have kids of his own or has he sworn off kids forever 🙂

    I want to come hang out with you guys. You do such fun stuff.

    Me: I think he’s one of those guys who look hard as nails but deep down want kids of their own and know it. You should see his collection of stray puppies.

  2. 1st off, you write brilliantly. This para just made me reread it 4 times.
    “Sometimes you can go through days and months and years feeling unfufilled and incomplete. And then something small happens and you get locked into that little circle, that little bubble where everything that ever mattered to you is in one place and you realise that sometimes it does take others to complete you and its not always from within yourself alone.”

    Also, sounds like an absolute blast. 😀 Must go for more of these type of events.

    Me: 🙂 thank you.

  3. tch tch – you *must* have been ill – no nailpolish? 😀 😀

    M (g, d, r)

    Me: hey! I buffed them till they shone like silver. humph :p

  4. The thought of taking kids of a live concert in an amphetheatre itself is so scary. And you did manage it. Or the OP did 🙂 Introducing kids of this kinda music can be hazardous too. Don’t they grow up too soon as it is? 😉
    All said, but its good to hear that the babies enjoyed it as much as you did and didn’t even trouble you guys.
    Hugs! 🙂

    Me: OP did 😉 And I guess introducing kids to any kind of music other than nursery rhymes and classical music would then be hazardous, no? Even film songs etc speak of stuff that is too mature for them. Yet many homes play them all day and let them watch TV soaps. I guess theres no easy way out unless you put your life on hold and live a sanitised existence for them… in which case I cant help but feel they’d be missing out on something 😦

  5. Jackets? Jackets??? Now I’m totally jealous.
    I’ve been going on and on about cultural memory lately, and that’s what you’re passing on. 🙂 Knock on wood, those two are troopers!

    Me: so come na? its been a while. bring your jacket. and yes I know you’ve been talking abt cultural memory – i commented on it 🙂

  6. Funny u used that title coz i took my one year old to a jethro tull show – his first of what i hope will be many. But the guy just slept through it. Thankfully, he didnt have a hearing problem when i got worried and checked :p

  7. Hey I too have seen Raghu Dixit perform live. We had their performance for our college fest. Not many had heard of him earlier.
    His colourful lungi, gejje (anklets i think – am not sure what’s it callen exactly in English) and his mesmerising voice made us his huge fans. He also jammed with one of our college guys on the tabla.
    Have you heard his other songs – Mysore se aayi woh , Soorutihudu Maneya malige ?
    He is also a music composer for kannada movies, do listen to the film songs of “Psycho” some great numbers.

  8. Totally off topic…the brown cargo pant seems to be OA’s favourite…have seen the same in a couple of snaps in the previous posts…not sure of they are the same but they look to me 😉

    My older one has his first concert this month end (of course not a solo…junior choir not doing solos here 😦 ) Have to see how the younger fellow will take to 2 hrs of sitting in an auditorium listening to the music of 60s and 70s…

    Me: 🙂 now that you mention it – he DOES seem to have too many brown cargo pants. And he loves them. very useful around kids to tuck in your wallet and phone and tissues and sticky lollipops. all the best to your little one for his concert and congratulations proud mamma 🙂

  9. We’re actually considering Himalayan options. But might fly through Chandigarh instead of Delhi, depending on where we’re going. 😦 I’ve always wanted to do a Delhi winter!

  10. Sounds like a fun evening, and I am sure Brat and Bean will have very fond memories of their first rock concert (how cool is that?) with their folks. Some of my earliest memories include music my parents listened to in a big big way- Dylan, Rolling Stones and Beatles used to put us to bed, plus all the music my mother played when she drove us to school. Rock is a great trait to be passing on if you ask me, while my peers thought Britney was best music out there, thanks to my folks I was listening to The Doors and Floyd.

  11. Wow…I can just imagine the fun you all had. I have been to just 2 but acc to my hubby they are biggies 🙂 1st was Paul McCartney and the next was Bon Jovi *drool* Came back with huge smiles and a sore throat. Totally worth it!

  12. Wow,your hands give away your artistic bent-they are lovely.
    I’m still a rocker at heart,in my ripe old 40’s and envy you completely….:)Yay,for Bnb attending their first live concert.

  13. I think its nice that the kids had a good time and you guys had a blast. Considering this as your first ever outing to a concert with the kids, it would have been disheartening if you didn’t enjoy. Lucky you !
    Had taken my girl to a classical music concert when she was about 4 and much to my amusement, she behaved rather well. The concert was for about 3 hrs of which 2.5 hrs were spent with no tantrums and actual music listening. Not bad at all I thought !

  14. we heard raghu dixit live last week.. there was a concert in bangalore.. and man, he is awesome!! 🙂

    i loved hey bhagwan too! 🙂

  15. Beautifully said, MM, as always! Looks like the kids had a great time – some part of them is sure to remember the experience, if not the numbers…

    Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood, Javed Akhtar, Indeevar, T.M Soundararajan, Kannadasan, D.K pattammal, K.B.Sundarambal, and M.S Subbulakshmi are all in my life now thanks to my parents… and possibly will be in my kids’ life even if I do nothing except have their ringing voices fill my house as always.

    Kids’ll always pick up the more contemporary stuff, but, the classics, ah, that would be my treat!

    Me: 🙂 I know what you mean. Although by the time my kids grow up, this will be to them what Rafi etc were to you – music from your parents’ youth…

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