My 17-year old goddaughter, Ayesha, and her two friends crept into the house after school, went into her room and banged the door shut. What followed then was the most horrendous noise I’d ever heard. A set of innocent drums were being murdered, some hapless cymbals were being battered to death and a guitar was begging for mercy. I couldn’t take it anymore and barged into Ayesha’s room. There they were, three rocker girls, my goddaughter holding my old guitar plugged into an amp, the second teenager posing behind a drum set and the third, with a microphone in her dainty hand.
“What’s the story here?” I asked. “We are Bombay’s first all girl band. We plan to make musical history. But we’re not like most silly teenyboppers. We are serious musicians. Think of us like the Bob Dylans of our generation. Not Justin Beiber. We write songs of protest, of politics, of propaganda, and of peace. We want to take on the system. We strive to make a difference.” “Does your group have a name?” “You kidding, dude? Of course, we have named ourselves, Ayaaish. A combo of our three names, Ayesha, Ananya and Aishwarya. Plus the name Ayaaish rhymes with Pragaash, which is like our tribute to our Kashmiri sisters who were banned.”
“Clearly you have some songs lined up?” “Several potential winners. Come sit down and let us run some of them by you. Let us know your views, since we just appointed you our manager.” I sat down amidst a menagerie of record albums and rock jewellery. Ayesha began, “Our opening track is called, ‘Oh, My Dhoble’. The lyrics — ‘Oh, my Dhoble, Oh, my Dhoble, Oh, my Dhoble, what to do, you are lost and gone forever. Oh, my Dhoble what to do?”
My heart was sinking, as were my eardrums. “We have several similar potential hit singles based on subjects like religious and creative intolerance, rape, road rage, right wing politics. We need you to line up stuff for us all over the country. Live shows, TV gigs, radio sessions, record contracts, film soundtracks. Do you think you can handle that? Be a dynamic manager. Like Brian Epstein was for the Beatles?”
I took a deep breath. “Okay girls, I have some bad news for you. There is a fatwa out for you to stop.”My goddaughter looked at me, fire in her eyes, “Which religious cleric would want to ban us, which political leader would want us to quit. Who, dear godfather, who has issued this fatwa? Tell us.” “Me,” I said simply. “Now off you three girls go and study. Your ICSE prelims start in a month.”
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.