I’m also told that some people are boycotting Republic Day to protest the state of the nation. Boycotting Republic Day is easy. All you have to do is not watch Doordarshan, so technically, I’ve been boycotting Republic Day for the last twelve years. I am the Che Guevara of the set-top box world.
But let’s not talk about Republic Day, so we don’t hurt anyone’s sentiments. You can’t hurt sentiments in India these days, there’s too much fallout. Sometimes the fallout is negative, like when Valentine’s Day is under attack. But sometimes it’s positive, like when we don’t have to endure another Kamal Hassan movie. I don’t get how so many Indian communities are sensitive as a collective, when individually, each Indian man in them is the least sensitive thing on Earth. But I digress. Let’s talk about something non-controversial, something that was completely untouched by the vagaries of Indian politics, sentiments and controversy: The Swedish House Mafia concert.
Swedish House Mafia, or SHM (not to be confused with Indian House Mafia, which is DLF) is a trio of DJs that plays a genre of electronic dance music called “House” because it’s important to name a genre after the one place in the world you don’t ever hear it. House is the sort of robust nightclub music that is best enjoyed at a volume of “Barfi Mode Unlocked” dB. SHM was due to play in India last year, but couldn’t because [THIS CONTENT HAS BEEN REMOVED BY THE PALGHAR POLICE DEPARTMENT JUST BECAUSE WE CAN] But at last, they performed for a crowd of almost 20,000 people, 11,000 of which were born after the original concert date.
The show was pretty awesome. I particularly liked the opening act. It was called Traffic, and it started at Marine Drive and it’ll end in Ahmedabad next week. In fact you can still see SUVs in certain parts of the city full of children with a faraway euphoric look in their eyes, convinced that they’re on their way to see “Swidish”. Because that’s what everyone kept asking me in the days leading up to the show. “Bro, you comin’ for Swidish? Swidish is gonna be killa bro, I love Swidish.” The word “Swidish” being pronounced like it is by the man who comes to you with a tray of gulab jamun after an explosive thaali meal.
The second act was less fun, because I’ve already seen it before at other concerts. It involves being given a security check in a manner so thorough that by the end of it, the man at the gate has found my hidden drugs, lighter, and an anomaly in the groin area that I should (in his words) “get a doctor to look at.” After this my friends and I wandered into the concert area, where we were made embarrassingly aware of how much older than most of the crowd we were. I was about to start envying those kids their youth, but then I tripped and fell into the bar area with most excellent alcohol that kids weren’t allowed to have, and suddenly they didn’t matter so much anymore.
But then the Mafia got started, and it was a ton of fun, and they played some of their BEST songs. I know this because every time they put one on, the crowd cheered like they’d found a long lost friend. SHM were also perfect on the “Things To Say and Do To Please The Country You’re In” front. They said:
1. “We love you India” (just like we love Indonesia yesterday and South Africa tomorrow)
2. “We’ve wanted to come here for so long” (“I really thought there’d be more snake-charmers”)
3. “This is the best show we’ve ever done” (today, in India)
And then they all waved Indian flags, which pleased everyone except those boycotting Republic Day. It really was a fantastic show, and I’m really happy that more and more popular, current artists are coming to India, instead of the ones who come here to do shows on the side while they’re secretly here for hip-replacements. I had a great time at the show. I can’t wait to put up the pictures I took, and I will, as soon as I get out of this traffic and get home next week.
Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi