Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Callisto Debacle

First of all, I was on a forced hiatus for two months because of this post and my recalcitrant scanner. But i think you'll agree it needed the pictures.
Speaking of the artwork, it's by my fabulous friend Inam, (I.M. in the comic), who draws divinely, and has a flair for pinning down expressions. In a crazy moment of masochism, we made her draw it up for the school magazine. Luckily no one really believed it. Any scanning defects are mine...the original drawings are much better. (What do you think?)
Out of the 'Powerbluff Girls' (give us a break, we were young) mentioned, AC is me (Anasua Chatterjee), SC is Sreerupa my partner-in-crimes-in-which-we-get-caught and I don't think I should tell you about anyone else.

So here it is. The one incident I should never have mentioned to anyone, ever, is now coming out.
I blame my younger years for this. Ever since I was in fifth grade, I think, I've been sent off to fests and competitions all over the place. Fests no one went to, fests everyone went to, fests no one in their right mind would send me of all people to. I won some, lost most, but what i really lost was the ability to say no. I also lost any prudence i might have once had.

So, when the school rep bulldozed me and my friends (each one as suprememly crazy as I was) into-hold your breath-SINGING on stage for the Callisto Western Music event, we didn't think much of it. After all, we'd had a band in middle school, and even sang for Teacher's Day once.Of course, we conveniently forgot the carefully blank faces and strained smiles the teachers had had as we'd serenaded them.
We sang a few lines or so for practice over the next five days. (Whyever did stars need practice, anyway.) Most of the time we talked over how cool we'd look on stage, and what we'd wear for the cover picture of our first album. And we quite forgot that we didn't have a single instrument. None of us played ANYthing except D, who played the synthesiser.Intermittently.

This could be a public-interest ad about the evils of overconfidenceYou get the picture.As D-Daycame closer (D stands for disaster here), we panicked a bit. D (here, the keyboard-playing friend, not disaster) had no time to learn to play the tunes-so we figured out a brilliant solution.She didn't need to play any tune, she could just turn the knob to 'bass drum' and bang on it in time! We'd get along just fine.SO that was settled.Next were the songs. We chose them two days or so before the fest. They were..
1.Winds of change by the Scorpions. No, we weren't crazy, we actually thought we could pull it off on stage.The song that nobody should try to sing except in a bathroom, we, ninth graders, decided to perform, whistling and all.
2.At the beginning, OST Anastasia(the animated movie). It was a nice song, and we were kids, and we thought it would be cute. Yeah, except it wasn't.
3.If You Wanna Be My Lover by the Spice Girls. Concession to age-and besides, we wanted to dance on stage. At first no one realised it was us, so they cheered the school like crazy. And slunk away later after the debacle.
I think the point at which we realised the massacre that was going to happen was when we heard a girl from another school, pratt memorial i think, sing 'la bamba' in this fabulous, throaty, christina aguilera voice. And then we were on stage.
You bet something's wrong. This was AN's solo, the song from Pocahontas.
There were masses of ready-to-heckle teenagers everywhere. We took the mikes off the stands and moved forward. And then we sang. it took them a full five minutes before they realised it wasn't comic relief, these girls were actually participating. but before they could get to throwing anything, something else happened.

The music-if you call banging on a synthesizer music-stopped as if someone had mercifully yanked the cord out. As it happens, it had fallen out. We gamely started again.
Now the audience rebelled.
They screamed at the massacre we made of 'Winds of Change'. They groaned through 'At the Beginning'. And when we got to 'If You Wanna Be My Lover' they shrieked 'NO!' every time. They stood on chairs and roared fiercely in tandem. They tried to storm the stage. But you can't see anything from the stage because of the spotlights on you, so we sang and danced happily on, in oblivion.
My contacts always itch when i'm nervous, and the others had left their glasses backstage.
Sreerupa tripping over her laces, cannoning into me.

When the song ended, we did our 'signature' finger-waggling-at-the-audience move and jumped off the stage.
And then offstage, when we realised the enormity of the disaster, I don't think we've ever been more crushed in all our years of onstage humiliation.
The rep let us down, too. And she'd pushed us into this in the first place.A joke, indeed! Of course, it was one...

Running for our lives.
We had envisaged being snuck out the back door because of people wanting to get to us; but to get autographs, not to cause us bodily harm. Lugging the huge synthesizer between us, we ran for cover. And swore we'd never do that again.
Now if this were a college essay, i'd conclude by saying that from this episode, i learnt a hard lesson, namely stick within your limits; and learnt it well. But this is not a college essay, and so I feel free to disclose that we were on stage only months later. Doing what? Yes, singing. 'Phir Dhoom' this time, but with the same reactions from the audience.
But then that's another story.