Cribbing all the way
By Amit Phansalkar
What is it with these marriage bands that people seem to enjoy so much? I mean I'm really puzzled! In these days – when we have exceptionally good music systems, and a wide choice of music to play from – why do people still go for these bands? And, that too early in the morning! Can a day begin in a worse way?
You probably won't empathize with me unless I give you some context. See, I wake up early in the morning today (yes, early for me, of course), hoping to reach my office early (ditto), and get some work done in the fresh morning hours! So, before leaving for work I meditate a little, trying to get that inner calm, or whatever it is. Then, on the horrible Pune roads I keep myself calm, ignoring all those bikers buzzing past me from my left on their pathetic Splendor clones (I know, I know what you Splendor-wallas are going to say, I give a hang), when I know my Yamaha can do a lot better. You don't get into such juvenile stuff, when you want to keep yourself calm for work! I refuse to give in to any such temptations. Consequently, I enter the office early, and no one has turned up there yet (there, there! it really is early by human standards). I switch on my computer, and decide to put some Mozart on, so that I'd have a nice ambience (you need all that for pro-duck-tivity). There, I say to myself, you are – a perfect beginning to a perfect day! And then it starts. The marriage band, I mean.
You see, my office building has two marriage halls in its neighborhood - one of them even shares a compound wall with ours! Right in the middle of one of the best residential as well as commercial areas of Pune, and at the best of the working hours, you have these noisy bands playing something remotely close to music. Why? Because, that is supposed to be a mode of enjoyment for someone. And then there is tradition, of course. How can one marry without a band, after all? Bigger the band’s noise levels, better the marriage, or so some seem to believe.
Okay, back to the context. Once I realized, that there was no way I could get that peaceful ambience that I was dreaming about, I had to keep Mozart aside. I switched to (surprise, surprise) Jimi Hendrix. Yes, early in the morning, against all my principles. What else could I have done? If they can disturb me with noise, let them see what I can do to myself. Ha! They haven't yet seen the stoic, intropunitive me, have they? So what if I end up damaging my ears a little, I would at least salvage my soul! I fiddle with the controls on my WinAmp till all that I could hear is from Hendrix's guitar. God bless Hendrix. But then Hendrix is God! No time for such trivialities, this. We're discussing serious stuff here.
What really troubles me though is, (nobody will take you seriously, unless you link your cribs to some important issue – I’ve learned my lessons the hard way) these same people complain about the microphones in the masjids, and the late night X’mas mass! Isn't a band playing (that's of course what I gathered it was playing) "Didi tera dewar diwana" at 9 o’ clock in the morning at least as annoying? Why don't we hear cribs about such bands then? Only last month, the Sawaai-Gandharva Festival (an annual music festival in Pune, which runs for three consecutive nights, and in which the likes of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and Pt. Jasraj perform routinely), had to be shifted to day timings, because of some Supreme Court directive about open-air concerts at night. Of all things, that directive will end only the musical tradition (Tradition! How can they do it, when so much goes in the name of tradition! No, it doesn’t work that way, dear). Everything else will go on. The Ganesh Festivals will witness unprecedented noise levels, till late in the night, because police will have their haftas. The Dandiyas will go on with third-rate disco music, again till late in the night, again for similar reasons. In Diwali, firecrackers will add to the noise and air pollution, and all the strict timing deadlines will be broken (In last Diwali, for instance, the Pune police department claimed that there were no incidences of violations of rules about fire crackers! No wonder, this Diwali was so peaceful, and so clean! Can it really get any more authentic? It’s a police statement). On Shiv-jayanti (twice a year these days), again, it will be the same case (it's about Shivaji, you idiot! Don’t you have any respect for our noble heroes?). Even those microphones in the masjids will reappear, and so will the late night mass - probably after a change in the government.
What about you and me? I don't know about you. You’re reading this, so maybe you will keep on reading something like this. I will probably vent my frustrations by calling up someone and cribbing endlessly – the helpless and poor me, and the mean mean world! Or better, I'll waste my morning, (remember, the intended-to-be pro-duck-tive morning) writing a crib piece. As an after-crib, there goes my perfect day!
Amit is still ready to trade that illusory perfect day for a nicely written crib piece.