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.


M (tread softly upon) said...

growing old (er) is sometimes considered as turning mature, like wine. I wouldn't fret too much, even if the Sean Connery look evades and Tun Tun prevails. What the hell I know people to be crazy about Tun Tun too!
Thanks for stopping by...

km said...

The "white-man's overbite" is one for keeps, JAP.

I knew I had aged - perhaps too much - when I found myself agreeing whole-heartedly with Mr. Knopfler and his half-mumbled, half-whispered "It takes love over gold, and mind over matter..." Or maybe it was the cheap rum.


Quizman said...

Excellent post. Loved it.

Prufock sagely observed that "I reminded him that Messrs. Sampuran Singh and Madan Mohan had set nostalgia to music far more concisely in Dil dhoondta hai, " and then an ancient sepoy pointed out that it should read "a century ago" by Asad chacha. See the last but one shair.

But then Asad chacha has also written:

गुज़री न ब हर हाल यह मुददत ख़वुश-ओ-ना-ख़वुश
करना था जवां-मरग गुज़ारा कोई दिन और

Didn't this time-interval pass in any case, happily and unhappily?
you who died young should have {gotten through / passed} a few days more

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Parna, Hip Pocket are good, but I prefer to sit in my study with a few good friends. That way, no issues about accepting requests.

M, I don't fret about going old. I muse.

Krishna, another "rum-bhakt"? And half-mumble half-whisper is so right, but he takes me back to Mussoorie in 1989 and I actually feel young again, not old.

Quizman, that was the controversy over Gulzar's Filmfare award for Dil dhoondta hai. The first two lines are the same, there's a couple more borrowed phrases, but it was Sampuran Saab who came up with Jaarhon ki naram dhoop aur aangan mein let kar and the stream of memory that follows. (One of the few songs about which I don't half-suspect that Kishore would have sung it better; Bhupinder's voice is like Talisker on a stormy night!)


Priya said...

Nice post as usual. Hmmm Sheesha Bar...fond memories...Tho' I don't remember listening to such evolved music as Knopfler and Floyd. Thought the place ran more for its hookah, kababs and as a watering hole for the nouveau riche.

Priya said...

Just dropped by again, to tell u chech this out.

Jay said...

I can't believe you did the air guitar. I am horrified. Do you also do -shudder- air drums?

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

tun tun doing air guitar is an image that refuses to leave my brain. THANKS

La Figlia Che Piange said...

Hahaha...tun tun doing the air guitar.ROFL.

Falstaff said...


Though maybe you should wear the bottoms of your trousers rolled.

And please, the true test of the air guitarist is that magnetic opening of 'Money for nothing'.

Oh, and for people who are horrified by air guitars, check out:

If people will do PhDs in it, it must be kosher.

0 said...

it must be as kosher as milk and lamb in one go, but you sound like your rockin it... nice!! Q: Is actually knowing how to play the darn thing a prerequisite to
air guitar play, or do i go back to guitar tags and then pull out my invisible harpie. :)

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Priya, it was tolerable because it had been taken over for a corp party. Some nouveau, few riche.

Jay, not only air-drums but also (Bollywood-ishtyle) air-sax. (Sometimes, in Bollywood style, air-sex?)

Blah-nik, Srin, for a clearer idea you should check the graphic for the feed on GreatBong's page.

Falstaff, when you have time off from your real-estate-psychometry, try air guitaring to "After Midnight".

Spliff, EVERYbody knows how to play air-guitar. Now air-double-bass, I can teach.


km said...

JAPbabu, try air-whatevering to John Cage's 4:33. It is a most sublime experience, and is the only possible answer to the zen koan of one hand clapping.


Heh Heh said...

falstaff: you, of all people, should know that PhD's don't signify anything :)

JAP: "no fight in a public place since 1999". i am impressed. (that you actually fought in a public place in 1999)

Falstaff said...

HWSNBF: Yes, but at least they're cause for sound and fury.

And they do signify something - the stuff that we do PhDs in may be pointless, but it's LEGITIMATELY pointless. It's the (critical) difference between something being a complete waste of time and something being a waste of time you get paid a stipend for.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Krishna, shall try to get it off Win MX. But please - I am NOT a babu. (May Macaulay rot in a dry place with not a drop of Guiness for his raging thirst!)

Fingeek, some day I shall tell you about that. The sad part is that after about two good punches, I start feeling sorry for the other guy.

Falstaff, nothing is a waste of time if you make money out of it.


km said...

Uh-huh...I was being sarcastic-funny, JAPda. John Cage's (in)famous 4:33 is 4 minutes 33 seconds of silence and is followed by the conductor turning over the page. You can download it off thin air, if you wanted to :) And yes, we do want to know about your last fight in public.


Teleute said...

sheesha bar on friday? i was there :D

Teleute said...

no wait... you posted on friday. so you couldn't have been there on friday. then i wasn't there.

Anonymous said...

so we have to hear baout the mysterious 1999 incident now....thik hai, sir?