28-08-2012. One of the most awaited days by the youth of Kolkata.And of course- with a valid reason..the awesome Finnish band was going to perform live in the city for the first time!With almost all tickets booked within the first two days of the announcement, Kolkata was full of buzz and excitement and had people waiting desperately for 4 pm when the gates would open. Nazrul Manch. Well, I had never the opportunity to visit this place earlier and imagined that the auditorium to host this event would be a decent one,with proper security and organization,on the likes of Kala Mandir maybe.
3.45 pm when I reach. And lo behold!I see a HUGE crowd infront of the gates, eventually forming a large snake like queue for a few feet!I looked around.I could see all sort of people trying to find a place in the crowd, some jumping over the grills to avoid standing in the queue,some dressed exclusively for the Rock Show,some blabbering nonsensically.My sister pulled me into the crowd and after that point, I swear, I never once had to move myself. I was just being pushed by the crowd towards the gate,with people pressing on each other from all sides,screaming,stamping on each other’s feet..AArgh!!The scene was similar to that of the Indian Idol auditions (or any of those reality shows on TV) when you see THOUSANDS of people lining up for the ENTIRE day,waiting for their golden opportunity . Initially, I was holding onto patience but after a while I was being suffocated and pushed from all sides. I could not breath. I just wanted to get back home , but drifting through the entire crowd again seemed like a Herculean task. I thanked God that my claustrophobic Mom was not there with me in the crowd.Infact, if anyone from my family had actually seen the plight of the crowd there, they would have just asked us to get back immediately!Ofcourse we know that Bengalis have a taste for Rock..but couldn’t there be proper management and organization??After battling with the crowd for an hour, I finally got the opportunity to enter and breathed a sigh of relief.
I looked for the washrooms and as soon as I stepped in, I screamed and stepped out!STINKING TO THE BRIM! Didn’t they get this cleaned today?Even though they knew thousands of people would be here??I asked the female security. She just smiled and replied saying that it had been cleaned in the morning. IMPOSSIBLE. I tried entering the washrooms many a times but was on the verge of puking everytime I did so. I took in some fresh air outside and my sister encouraged me to just hold my breath and go in. I honestly think we deserve a medal for that. By the time we went to take our seats, two gates were already full and they asked us to take the third one. We were getting seats at the back, and there were barricades to prevent people from moving forward. Noo, my sister groaned. We must take seats infront. Suddenly, I saw her jumping over the chairs and going ahead.I wasn’t ready to do it. You can say that I like good organization and discipline, and had seen the same over the years in my school or college. However, there was no other go. My sister and her friend had jumped over the chairs and had ran ahead to get some good seats, EVEN though we were not entitled to. After falling twice and bruising herself, she managed to sit somewhere quite close to the stage and waved at me to come infront. I personally am not a big risk taker and was all this while holding onto seats somewhere relatively away from the stage, just incase they checked passes and asked her to leave. Aha!That did not have any effect..and ultimately I moved ahead and sat next to her.
Another hour went by with people trying to settle in. I turned to look at the Hall. The huge stadium/auditorium(whatever you want to call it) was jam packed!!I am not sure of the number but to me it looked like close to ten thousand of them! Bengal has always loved Art,Music,culture and this was no shock.
The pass said that three other local bands were due performing. I was hoping for POTF to be the first ones so that we could just leave in time!My parents were worried about the crowd and a possible stampede and did not want us to be there till late in the night. Fortunately,the much awaited band came just after 6.30 pm and the audience’s joy knew no bounds!!!POTF wre truly charismatic!The girl infront of me stood up on her chair to watch them, and as a matter of habit, I attempted to request her to sit down.Just then, my sister screamed out to me and I saw her and the entire crowd standing on their chairs, trying to get a clear picture of the amazing band!!!I smiled to myself. Yahaan sab chalta hai. I stood up on my chair and continued screaming and singing for the next two hours! It was an amazing experience to watch them perform live. Marko has an unbelievable personality.His body language,his spinning around with the mic,wrapping himself around it other times, and their elecrifying performance just took my breath away!It was a wonderful feeling to see thousands of people singing in unison, flashing their cell phone lights while forming an ‘Ocean of Love’.
At the end, I was just glad to have been there and despite all the difficulties we waded through to get there, it was all worth it!
P.S: After I got back home, I got to know that they will be performing in Germany in November. Maybe I get to see them for a second time:P