“Kumbudra saami onnu dhaane, avangala mattum ulla vidraanga?” The Paati standing behind me was losing her cool as she saw the VIP pass holders being let in while us paying ticket holders, a mass of Rahman fans, stood in the mud, desperate to get to our seats. The official reason for the wait was that the organizers were still setting up chairs for our section, but as the wait time grew to an hour, the Paati’s sentiment found more and more support. “Neenga sollunga Paati!” yelled a miffed member of the youth generation. Chants of “Down, down India” erupted, mixed with deeply felt rhetorical questions like “Rahman’a paakarthukku indha naayadi thevaya?” The policemen stuck to their ‘setting up chairs’ line, while disillusioned fans demanded that the organizers show up and explain what was taking them so long to arrange the seating. “Dei, naanga chair podarom, ulla vidunga da!” shouted the guy standing beside me, accurately foreshadowing what was to happen. The shoving force of the pissed off crowd eventually got too much for the policemen to handle, and so they opened the gate just a little. People slammed against each other, curses rained fast and furious, and the guard’s unheeded requests to the crowd to show their so called smartcards before entering added to the tragi-comic nature of the affair as the line snaked painfully through the small opening.
Murphy was probably high-fiving himself in his grave as the rain, which had threatened earlier in the day, made an appearance again. It wasn’t a light drizzle, no, this time it was a full-on shower. Umbrellas rose out of nowhere, collected the rain water and deposited them on the people sitting right behind as the wielders tipped them back every few minutes to get a better look at the dark stage. As we sat, drenched, in the chairs we had picked up from the VIP section and brought back to our own, we were forced to watch on the big screen Jaya TV’s numerous ads, the mind and mood made to suffer most by the oft-repeated ad of a serial where a daughter promises her father that she will never forget him, even after she is sent to live with her husband’s family.
But, in spite of all of this, the crowd waited with a patience specially reserved for that one man and his music. “Our capacity to wait is limitless, and we reach for the stars!” Aaron Sorkin might have yelled had he been part of the audience. But even this patience can wane. Just when it seemed liked the excitement had been dampened, just when it looked like the crowd’s energy was all but extinguished, this earnest voice arose: “Unthan desathin kural, tholai dhoorathil adho, seviyil vizhadha?”
So worth it.