There was this boy, who grew up in Virugambakkam – a suburb which isnt quite driving distance from Dublin, Ireland – home to 4 punks, who will end up entertaining him like nobody or nothing else.
Cut to the early 90s and the boy catches this music video, where the 4 punks are playing on top of a building, in the middle of a crowded street. That kinda does it. Boy pciks up ‘Joshua Tree’, swears that is the best album ever, pledges life-time allegience to the band and includes their concert into his ‘bucket list’. Like most things on that list, he never really expects it to happen (though he fancied his chances on “No:4 – sleeping with cindy crawford”).
Cut to the later 90s and the band comes up with ‘Zooropa’ and ‘Pop’, arguably two of the worst albums of the time and definitely their crappiest pieces of work (I mean, ‘discotheque’? really???). A ‘duh’ feeling creeps in and suddenly the boy doesnt think much of the band anymore.
Out of the fuckin blue, in year 2000, band comes up with a supernatural album called ‘All that you can’t leave behind’ and (in Bono’s words) ‘re-applies for the job of the best band in the World’. And how! They go straight back to his bucket list and right on top! (the encumbent no:1 is ‘checked’ when Roger waters decides to visit Bengaluru)
Years later, one fine day in July 2009, he decides to blow away his entire bank balance on a trip to Paris. No points for guessing who is playing there at that time! All plans are made and he is waiting with bated breath. 48 hours before take off, in a manner only he is capable of, he damages his passport. That ugly ‘blue and gold’ booklet that has seen him around the globe for more than 9 years has decided to call it a day. Just like that!
Cut to the next week and he finds himself in the middle of a human ocean on the day of the concert. Only, its not the “Stade de France”, but something similar nevertheless – Shastri Bhavan on Haddows road. The place where thousands of fans come together annually, to impress Mr. Mohammed – the chief passport officer, who holds the key to their international future. This is the “Great Indian Passport Trick”, which includes:
- Getting about a 1000 people to sweat profusely in the summer heat outside
- Packing them into a 20X20 room with no ventilation
- Ignoring the stinking latrnine without a door nearby
- Maintaining your place in a queue that gets shuffled every nano second
- Putting up a ‘sorry sir, I wont do it again’ face while facing the officer in charge and most importantly,
- Keeping your forms dry through all this.
Why is our man here? He finds out that his band is playing again, in a few days in Amsterdam. Now if he applies that day, he could get his new passport soon (provided he kisses a few asses (well!) and scores with the ‘wont do it again’ face), get his visa stamped sooner, take a cheap flight to Paris, take a REALLY expensive train to amsterdam, make it on time and hope that the hotel guys have kept his ticket safely. Phew!
Did it happen? Not quite the same way, but yes! Was it worth it? fuck yeah!
Ladies & gentlemen, U2!
No: 1 – See a U2 concert before kicking the bucket. Check!