Friday, August 05, 2005
On the outside, looking in ...
Knopfler as we walked in, followed by Floyd. 'Shine on you crazy diamond', no less. A perfect vodka with bitters, a surprisingly decent hookah, good company.
As the evening wore on, the hipsters and linen shirts flocked to the dance floor. The music faded, to be replaced by random noise of the 'Woh lamhe' variety. (I must place on record, though, that I do like 'Kajra re'. I like anything that's associated with the Man).
A few of us sat around the hookah, sipped our second and third drinks, dug the host in his ribs and asked him to play some real music.
I wondered whether the yongsters were enjoying themselves.
The girl in the pink spaghetti straps and the white pants had walked in with us. Alone among the PYTs, she kept her handbag under her arm as she danced in determined fashion in the thick of the crowd. But was she dancing WITH anybody?
(How was it any business of mine anyway? Voyeur!)
A copy-writer waxed eloquent about Jagjit Singh and Kaagaz ki kashti. I reminded him that Messrs. Sampuran Singh and Madan Mohan had set nostalgia to music far more concisely in Dil dhoondta hai, three decades ago. He looked abashed.
I grow old.
A boy with a goatee - he's worked on our account - did the 'white man's overbite' as he two-stepped onto the floor. A nubile presence draped a braceletted arm round his waist; he patted her cheek and passed on. I applauded silently and wished I'd had half his panache at his age. (Come to think of it, he must be 25; perhaps I did.)
An unbuttoned blue shirt with a white bead necklace and sunken cheeks cut loose, threw half his drink at a loud girl. Three large silent young men converged on him and escorted him to the door. As he passed me, he jerked the glass he was still carrying. Some kind of alcohol splashed on my chinos before I could step away.
Briefly, I considered the option of rubbing his face on my (now wet) shoe, then decided against it. I haven't been in a fight in a public place since 1999. No good reason to spoil my record now.
Then at long last they played "Walk of Life". And of course we had to do the air guitar thing. It's a given.
If they play Knopfler and you don't know whether they'll play another, you play air guitar even though you'd rather do it to "Sultans of Swing" or "Telegraph Road".
Through it all, I was aware that I wasn't really part of this. The people on the dance floor are a different species from me. I don't dress that way, I don't drink what they're drinking, I listen to music that does not have the "F" word.
One on one, I very much like their company. En masse, they are a herd of beautiful young savages with a different genome story.
I grow old. Verily, I grow old.