A. R. Rahman Live – Part I of III

A. R. Rahman, the genius, performing live in Bangalore… I had to be there. Vikram went to Ahmedabad, so it was me with some friends — six of us in all. We ended up purchasing the lowest-priced ones, we’d have to stand for the whole show. My repeated arguments for at least a lowest-priced seated place all went in vain. Yeah, not all can afford the costly tickets — after all, it’s only the software guys that get paid decently.

The show is to start at 7PM on Saturday, 8th October 2005, but we go in at 5:30. We learnt the gates were going to be opened at 4:30, and to get at least a good place with a decent view, we figured we’ll have to do this.

We had two bright sunny days just before Saturday, but Saturday afternoon onwards we realized it won’t be a dry day today. Chances of rains being very high, that didn’t dampen our spirits in the least.

We reach the Palace Grounds at 5:30, the rains have held off well, we’ll at least get a good show, we think.

Surprisingly, not many eateries near the venue. Bangalore hawkers don’t seem very enterprising. Had this been Pune, there wouldn’t have been space for the audience, hawkers would’ve been everywhere. However, there were some people selling packaged food, popcorn and nuts around inside the arena. The ones with the least-priced ticket weren’t lucky enough. These food stalls were farther ahead, only accessible to the people next row onwards.

6:30, and the drizzle starts. We’re hoping it doesn’t last much. At least, not enough or not strong enough to wash off the show. The compere, who sounded like Darais from Radio City, says “the show will start on time, no matter what.” Encouranging.

7, and we’ve had 3 drizzles by now. The compere comes back, mentions there’ll be a slight delay but we’ll start “in a while”. Five minutes later, we’re lashed by heavy rains. We hold our ground. Not everyday do we get to watch the maestro live in action.

It’s raining like crazy by 15 minutes past 7. The people who’ve paid more for the seats are now holding up the chairs to protect themselves by the rain. We’re amused. Pay more to hold up the chairs. Nice.

7:30, rains are abating. But we’re all soaked, and there are strong winds blowing. Everyone is shivering. “I love you Bangalore! You are the best crowd! These are God’s blessings. In this holy month of Ramadan, he’s washing away our sins. Hang on, give us one hour to get the setup working.” We all cheer. We’re not moving. No amount of rains can wash our enthusiasm away.

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