We are stuck in meanwhile between what we thought would happen and what in reality is really going to happen.
It’s pitch dark. The only thing barely succumbing to your senses is the noise. The babel of human hum spearing the pounding silence inside your head.
They are chanting a drone.
So you hold the mic stand and calm your nerves. You grip the mic wire around your wrist and do a soft mic -test. The reverb kicks in. You hear the guitars tuning in, the wires connecting to the GT8. The Peavey Amp’s near your feet, the Stage Marshall Amps rounding the stage arc.
The lights come on….and you see a sea of people. Jostling. Slumbering. Tired. Excited. The Stadium lights are on and you see the entire crowd. The stage lights keep burning into your eyes.
And you are talking. Softly. Giving the guys the time to set their gear. The sound guy at the console is checking the meters. The Guitar tech is checking the distortion riffs.
And you know it’s time.
The arpeggio just gives you the entry you need to slip in the tune as the intro chords rhyme in and your vocals make their first attempt to rise above the babel. The Keys come in adding a support layer and you hear the piano tunes punctuating your notes.
And then you hear the snare flaring in with the rhythmic bass pedal. And the bass locks in. The bassist and the drummer lock in the groove and you are on..
The stadium lights drop out, It’s pitch darkness once again and the only light is on you. But by now you are forgetting. The mic is off its stand and in your hand and you are now raising the chorus…
The drum snare and double bass power in, the distortion riff is tight, the treble is high on the mid tones as you belt the words.
This is the moment of retribution. For all those who questioned you. For neighbours who thought you had lost your mind to walk out of management school. for family who loved you but was so scared that they just became distant. For friends who walked away.
Your music sensibilities mothered by Dylan, fathered by Zeppelin, tutored by Nirvana take over and you run amok on stage. The veins of your neck straining with every high pitched shriek.
Bending over the stage Marshal amps you see the Crowd now singing with you, the lighters lighting the stadium darkness. The energy is pulsating, the delay on the guitar reverberating on the stack speakers.
Now you own them.
And you love this moment. Because you are as close to heaven as you can ever be. The words soak in and run through your veins, the sweat trickles down your temples and you are your own Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam.
And now you know you will nail it. The calm knowledge of knowing something can be mistaken as arrogance but then you don’t care. You never cared.
As you feel every guitar note, every 16 beat progression on the snare drums and cymbal crash, through the piano notes and bass groves, you can now see the song in front of your eyes, the words floating , the music pulsating through every fibre of your being as you get transported higher and higher blending from one number to the other.
The strobe lights blind your eyes but you are beyond redemption, your body shivering to each beat as you now prepare to launch into the crowd, threading your way through a sea of unknown people who unstintedly egg you on.
They don’t judge you. For them you are just the entertainer. And empty and lonely as you are, the ability to make the entire stadium erupt in happiness, in one sync, in one song by creating something beautiful, crafting every timbre, every oeuvre, every melody makes you feel good about yourself.
Because this is honest. Your only pitch, your only product is what you can create right in front of them and their response is only to that creation.
No drug, no alcohol. no award , reward can take you this high. Because by now you have seen the power of uniting a crowd. The police guards letting those without tickets inside, breaking boundaries, as strangers sway in to the groove and a deafening roar fills the night air.
In the end they are gone. Empty chairs adorning rows of silence, while you pack your gear and survey the damage. By now you have lost your voice and its bleeding and its hurting as hell. But you don’t care.
In the darkness you pick up the gear and walk out of the arena. Your shadows lengthening on the stage floor with every step you take away.
Until the next time.
I stumble through people who are nomads, geniuses, communicators, ninjas, creatives, travelers, closet musicians, coders, hackers, mind readers, caped crusaders, all rolled into one, juxtaposed into 140 characters of a profile descriptor.
Mind numbing logical impossibility.
And yet so possible if you consider the human side of it all. So inherent is our constant need to be counted, recognized, noted for all those wonderful pieces that make us who we are.
We all desperately, sickly, miserably, crave attention. Guilty and sentenced to sin.
And yep. It’s normal.
“No one learned from your mistakes/ we let our profits go to waste/ all that’s left in any case/ is advertising space”
Amen Robbie Williams!
Ask yourself honestly, who do you wanna be and what are you willing to do to become that person?
Just don’t be so safe that you never end up doing anything, because you were busy all the time framing the defenses behind which you could hide, lest it went wrong.
If you used the time you spent strategising to be safe behind paper work, scope of work and other kind of safety nets, in actually shipping work, you would be far more safer.
Only this time it would matter more. Much more.
Here’s the thing. If you want to win, start putting yourself out there. Have a plan. Heck have a back-up as well, but put yourself out there. Not your surrogate.
If you have to lose you will. Just don’t lose before that. Just don’t lose everyday.
It’s hard to find it. It’s even harder to watch it slipping by. Every day. Just like that. Inching away, slipping out of your grasp.
While you were busy hustling, running the lines, outthinking, outguessing, out maneuvering, it was slowly outliving you.
And now it’s gone. And you are wondering why you cannot do any of those things which you were naturally good at. Why the paint brush don’t stroke no more. Why the lines don’t rhyme no more. Why the words don’t stitch no more.
Why….and you look around you and you recollect.
Long back, you had nothing. And you had nothing to lose.The nothingness gave you freedom. Freedom to take risks. It also gave you hunger. Coupled with the uncertainty of tomorrow it gave you an unbearable lightness of being.
Deep in the abyss of a societal failure you turned inside you to find the strength to respond to the mockery and inspiration found you. The words flowed. The lines rhymed. The chords went chromatic. Cubism was easy to replicate.
When you have nothing to lose it’s easy to say no. It’s easy to romance in the possibility of what may be possible. It’s easy to call out stupid , incompetency to its face.
Back then you were selling your dreams. These days you are just selling lies. Somewhere down the road the dreams and lies colluded, made a pact, signed a deal and sold you to yourself.
Now you are the buyer of your aspiration. And it’s expensive. And the Oligarchs are smiling.
Standing at the crossroads of Darwin and Adam Nash you collide, collude, compromise and start feeling tired, only to pop in a pill, focus and keep going.
Tarry a while. Check in your scrapbook. Feel the sunshine on your skin. Seek a simple word called happiness.
And inspiration will come back.
She’s there lurking in the shadows of your reality and subconscious, smoking a cigarette, letting you be, chuckling softly at the choices you make.
And as she reads this line she doubles up in mirthful laughter.
Hypocrite …she says softly,before vanishing into the shadows once again.