It was the summer of 2001. I was walking home back from school in the scorching dry Texas heat, cursing Mother Nature for inflicting so much pain on poor car-less students. America was supposed to be nice and cold just like in the movies, not like this furnace I was in. The only saving grace was that the heat caused the babes to shed their clothes and emerge almost nangi-poongi. There I was, an unshaven desi, walking on the footpath, taking my own sweet time oogling at the shiny slithering legs, wondering where my life was going. Engineering wasn't as exciting (in terms of the type of work and the quality of girls) as I had imagined. My MS research was going nowhere. I was dreaming of an alternate career. I wanted to be a singer. I had always prided myself of possessing a brilliant singing talent which no one seemed to appreciate. People around me were jealous of my voice. They tried very hard to put me down. They praised other guys for their singing but never mine. The girls went gaga over one particular punk's voice. I will not disclose his name here (you know who you are). But I kept on. I sang. I sang when I was alone. I sang when I was happy. I sang when I was sad. I sang in bathrooms and I sang while hanging out of trains. I even added my own jhankar beats and pelvic thrusts to make it more palatable. Like dhaak-cheek-dhaak-cheek. I dreamnt of a music producer hearing my songs and signing me up for his next album and then making it big. FYI that didn't happen.
Back to the story. Halfway through my journey home I saw a little flier stuck on a lamp post. It read "ATTENTION SINGERS. WE ARE NOW CONDUCTING AUDITIONS FOR THE BIGGEST MUSICAL EVENT. ANY AGE WELCOME. PRIOR EXPERIENCE NOT NECCESSARY....BLAH BLAH BLAH." Somewhere in this loud notice I missed that it was meant for the Choir. If you dont know what a Choir is check Wikipedia. In short its a bunch of prudes, well-dressed, mainly in a church, who go "OOO AAA EEE" in chorus. See photo. There is no place for dhaak-cheek-dhaak here. Heck , who knew it then.
I checked the date. Oh crap the auditions were happening today! I was excited. I saw this as a chance to revamp my miserable life. I ran like a wild goose towards the audition hall although not once losing sight of the nangi-poongis. My happiness knew no bounds. I reached the advertized location. It was calm and serene there. Many well dressed students were waiting in a line outside a closed door, talking in whispers. All that running had made the chappal-wearing desi sweat like a pig. But what the heck, its my voice they want, not my appearance. My competitors were practising breathing, meditation and were reading from some loose sheets. I was silently ridiculing them; who reads before singing? Losers! I knew this was going to be a dhamaka for the western world, an Indian beating Americans in their own songs. For the audition I decided to present them with "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel. It had my kind of beats and low-class mentality.
The line grew shorter. After about an hour of memorising the lyrics I was confident and ready to kick ass. The door opened. The previous guy walked out; not looking very happy. Ha! I walked in. It was a huge hall, draped with maroon velvety curtains, decked with impressive chandeliers and soft lights. Pin drop silence. At the far end of the hall was a royal looking piano. A blonde lady in her thirties was perched behind it, prim and proper. I walked up to her hoping she doesn't catch the whiff of desi paseena and praying that she be one of those who value inner beauty and talent over sickening body odour. She handed me a bunch of sheets that looked similar to what people were browsing outside. It had those high and low musical symbols on multiple lines across the page. Some chords or shit like that. I was dumbfounded. Looking at my bewilderment she asked whether I knew how to read these musical notes. What do I know, kaalaa akshar bhais barabar. I told her no but I am a good singer and I can also add my own beats while singing. She said this is for the choir and you need to know how to read these notes and they don't need any beats. I said I can master these notes in a few days. No big deal. Tu piano bajaa re, teri maa ki. She asked what do you want to sing. I said Uptown Girl. She hesitatingly agreed, not knowing where this was going to lead. I started to sing....
"Uptown girl, dhaak-cheek-dhaak"
"She's been living in her uptown world, dhaak-dhaak-dhaak,"
"I bet she never had a back street guy"
"I bet her mama never told her why."
and I ended the rendition with an emphatic "DHAAK-CHEEK-DHAAK !"
Bam! This was undoubtedly the best performance of my life. I knew I had clinched the deal. The lady looked up from the piano. She looked confused, shaken up and out of words. I knew I had roused her emotions and left her speechless. She thanked me and told me that they will contact me if anything materializes. Just a formality, I thought. I gave her my email address and headed towards the door. On my way out I saw the poor souls waiting in line not knowing that they had already lost the competition.
But its kinda strange that I didn't hear back from them. Its possible that they lost my contact information. On second thoughts, maybe I should just stick to engineering.