Sunday, January 03, 2010

Adieu 2009 : Reminiscing the roller-coaster ride of the past year - Part 2

Hello everyone…

On yesterday’s post I’d left you all at the point where I’d been talking about our tribute to ABBA shows at the Dhaka and Chittagong Clubs. Of these, the latter stands out quite starkly in my mind.

It was a Thursday…the 25th of June.

The show was the most fun we’ve had in a while. After all, it’s given that there’ll always be an increased level of excitement when performing in any shows outside Dhaka city, that involves any modicum of travelling. The setting, the crowd…it’s all different…all new. We were even accompanied by a guest performer, Sunny...who's one of my friend, Tooki's, bro-in-law :)..that is Sunny's her hubby, Sham's (who's also my friend) younger sibling. He was playing as our second keyboardist.

Laila had toned down her script a little to avoid any faux-pas with the more conservative Chatgaiyyas (n.b. before this statement makes your hackles rise, my hubby is one and I’m just stating a widely known sentiment here…not making any personal attacks, lol) and I remember that while I’d travelled by plane to Chittagong because of my back pain, the rest of the GT gang, along with a couple of friends, had opted to travel by a microbus. They’d started off early morning on the day of the show and all other variables remaining constant, should have arrived in Chittagong by one in the afternoon…max.

Well if only life was a fairytale. Well it isn’t. And there are no fairy godmothers to help out either.

The micro met with a slight miss-hap along the way…near Kachpur bridge…and was declared, on the spot, unfit for further travel.

And so the gang waited in a ramshackle of a tong’er dokan (i.e. roadside tea-stall) for another micro to come all the way from Dhaka. Needless to say, by the time they arrived at the club, all their energy had fizzled out, Shammu Bhai’s nerves were frayed to the point of non-existence, and we had only a couple of hours in our hands to perform a sound check and then get ready for the main show.

As usual, once the show started the adrenaline rush kicked in. The best part was when we all ganged-up on one of our closest friends, Fahim, to play a small, small part in the script during Laila’s rendition of “Does Your Mother Know?”. He was simply fab on stage…all cocky and sure…until Laila, struck with sudden inspiration and as befitting her character in the play, started unbuttoning his shirt…haha! Then he became all flustered and kept re-fastening his buttons as soon as Laila was working them open…:D It was a classic candid-camera moment.

Once the ABBA tribute had been wrapped up, the crowd and our manager-cum-biggest cheerleader Shammu bhai, started clamoring for a usual GrooveTrap “set list” of songs. And so we made the crowd shake their bootie with a few popular tracks, and as is our trademark, ended the set with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.

We then sat down to sample the rather interesting menu...biriyani with red wine. It didn’t matter that Saif and I are teetotalers. We could still sympathize with the rest of the diners, who were thrown into a mild state of confusion over the whole thing. The biriyani was fab though. In fact, everything was fab with the world. The DJ had come on, and high on the feel-good rush at the end of a great gig, we danced till our feet couldn’t take it anymore. Then while I went to bed (the boring girl that I am…well I did have a raging headache!), the whole gang stayed up till nearly 4 AM, playing UNO in one of the bigger rooms.

None of us…nor the rest of the world, I can say…could have predicted what was coming next…

The following morning we all woke up to the terribly shocking news. Michael Jackson had passed away…apparently of cardiac arrest. It’s eerie how one remembers every single detail of a moment in time when faced with a situation that is simply to horrible to grasp. I can describe that day to a tee. And I kept thinking about how we’d been planning to do a tribute to MJ since the beginning of the year…and not just perform his songs but put forth a full-fledged show with his most famous dance sequences. And we’d performed “Thriller” just the night before! And now some nondescript news presenter on television was claiming that he was gone?!? How was that even possible?

The guys were all a bit stunned by the whole episode I’d say. They couldn’t express their feelings quite as easily and the only way they were able to pay their respects to this iconic entertainer was on the road back home. Saif tuned the micro’s radio to the same frequency as his cell phone’s FM transmitter and then proceeded to play MJ’s full discography saved in his playlist, all the way from Dhaka to Chittagong.

I think that is perhaps the most beautiful aspect of MJ’s legacy.

There are many ways one can mourn the loss of someone in their lives. But if you celebrate the very essence…the core principles…that that person stood for, I believe that it is the best way he or she would like to be held in remembrance.

With MJ…it was his music, his love for entertaining and performing, his immense capacity for imagination…that helped him reach out to millions of people all over the world. And so it is by reveling in his songs…be it by listening to them, performing them or even sharing them with future generations…that we show him true respect.

So today I’d like to leave you all with a few lines from one of my favourite MJ songs...

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could’ve been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and make that change!”

Anti-clockwise from top right: The infamous tong'er dokan, Shammu Bhai & his lovely wife Zarah (we'd just landed at Ctg airport), sound check, Laila & moi, singing ABBA!, the performing troupe! - Photo credits my cell phone & Rahul's cam

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