For Paul Van Syne, My Dear
I know it’s late, but… Happy New Year to one and all. Hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve. This was my first New Year outside the country, and this New Year’s Eve, I wanted to do something really special, something I’ve never done before. Specifically, I wanted to sleep right through it. But no. I resolved to shake my lazy, unambitious, sleepy self and kick myself out on the last day of 2010. This way, I would be able to join tradition; be part of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world as they go out on the street, hand in hand, enthusiastically yelling with undying hope – “Taxi!“… usually without result.
Traffic tends to be high around this time, and the taxi driver has the upper hand. In Bangalore, I presumed the auto drivers would have basically demanded up to 10-20 times the legal fare, in contrast with their usual hike of 2-3 times. But from alert blogger Silverine, I hear about radical changes in auto driver attitudes which I am yet to believe… as if they were just waiting for me to get out of Bangalore to mend their ways. Maybe, just maybe… there is hope for 2011.
The most popular tradition for New Year has always been to make New Year resolutions… And it goes hand in hand with the second most popular tradition, which is to break New Year resolutions. Most of these resolutions tend to be the same resolutions that were made and broken in the previous years… If your New Year’s resolution is to recycle more, try to pick up on the irony.
But I said to myself – “None of that, man“, “No way, Jose“, and seven other assorted cliches from the 60’s. My New Year resolution was plain and simple – “I will NOT make New Year resolutions” – A defiant resolution that Hamish Joy will not participate in this useless tradition. It was meant to be plain & simple, but after looking at it in written form, I have to say it’s very confusing. Does this count as a resolution? If it does, then I have already broken my resolution to not make resolutions. But on the other hand, if this does NOT count as a resolution, then it leaves me free to make resolutions for the New Year, thereby making the statement frivolous. And if I AM indeed free to make resolutions, I still don’t have any other resolution to make, other than to repeat my commitment to not make resolutions. And that doesn’t ease the confusion one bit. It’s a self-destructive resolution the more I think about it. But none of that, man!! I hereby resolve not to think too much about resolutions. So there! Aww, crap. That one’s broken as well.
Not as broken as my ear-drums, though. On December 31st, 2010, after kicking myself out of the house, I decided to immerse myself in a Paul Van Dyk concert in the Dubai World Trade Center. Paul Van Dyk, for those who are not keeping up with what is hip – you know who I’m talking about – is one of the biggest names in trance music, a Grammy winning DJ who went so far as to remix The Dark Knight soundtrack, “Poor Choice of Words”. In the words of his die-hard fans, he is the brilliantest musician ever.
The word ‘trance’ brings to mind a state of calm serenity, a sleep-like stage of sorts. So I wouldn’t blame you if you expect soothing electronic lullabies on a full moon night at a Paul Van Dyk concert. But of course, you would be wrong. After wading through myriad traffic, we had reached the Dubai World Trade Center exhausted and worn out. A soothing melody would have been just what the doctor ordered. But a trance concert, for your information, is not a soothing melody. Especially if you stand close to the stage. My friends and I did the novice mistake of doing just that. We were directly at the focal point of around two dozen concert speakers. Paul is good. But he’s also loud. Very loud. In due time, our brains got mashed to the consistency of Jello. Even in our diminished mental capacity, we were able to understand that we needed to immediately move to a safer location, like Pakistan.
But it was worth it. It was a memorable concert. And just to make sure we don’t forget it, we also got a wristband as a souvenir. This wristband was attached securely to our wrists upon entry, so that we could walk in and out of the hall as we felt like it…They were our passes. The people with wristbands walking away from the club were universally recognized as someone leaving the Paul Van Dyk show quarter-way through. And outside the club, the wristband wearing crowd could be seen quickly surrounded by young, hip college students who, unable to contain their excitement, ask “Hey, can I take your band so I can sneak in to the show?“.
Me, give up my souvenir? The one thing I have to remind myself where I lost my hearing and half my brain cells? Hell, no. And I told them off harshly, saying they should buy their own tickets if they want to get in. At least, that’s what I intended to say. But with my brain still reeling from the Paul Van Dyk volume, my vocal cords were bypassing the brain entirely. Which is why I ended up saying “My wristband? Sure, why not? Yank it right off.”
We only spent one hour with Paul, but we spent close to two hours outside the hall running from one side of the road to the other… Apparently, taxis in Dubai tend to be supremely elusive at two in the morning. In time, the crowd started growing in size and irateness. Whenever a taxi zoomed by, occupied or not, people broke into a sprint like they were being scouted for the Olympics. An hour later, not a soul was left who wouldn’t have traded in an Olympic trophy to get into a cab. If you want to see a truly unruly crowd, try stranding people outside a Paul Van Dyk show trying to catch a cab at two in the morning. It got to the point where normally rational people started rethinking their policy on kicking and shoving women out of the way in order to steal a cab. Ok, maybe that was just me.
In the end, we finally did manage to get a cab, marking a very tiresome, grueling, but notable beginning to a brand new year. Never mind that we paid 200 AEDs for the ride home (on rough conversion that translates to approximately OUCH amount in any currency), never mind that the college students snuck into the show for free using my wristband, never mind that all the restaurants were closed by then, never mind that my brain is still ringing and I tend to repeat myself again and again, never mind that my brain is still ringing and I tend to repeat myself again and again, I did have a nice time. But once is enough. Next time onwards, all rights to killing my brain cells are strictly reserved for rock and heavy metal concerts. In fact, I’m going to make that my new year reso… Hmm… this New Year Resolution thing is getting more and more complicated. It has to stop. And it ends right now! I hereby resolve that all my New Resolutions are invalid…
Damn. I did it again, didn’t I?