Monday, May 12, 2008

Indian Idol Nation

Indians have always been fond of songs - one of my fondest memories of growing up was standing up front on the scooter while my Dad drove it and sang songs loudly and horribly off-key. India is one big antakshari nation - only you can play all by yourself (see pic).

Now Indians spontaneously breaking out into song is long standing tradition. But of late I've seen a resurgence of this in crowded public places - like packed trains, airports or medical waiting rooms. Perhaps this is the legacy of Indian Idol where every hopeful sings out loud in crowds hoping to chance upon some music composer.

While most people tend to get annoyed, and some even make the loony sign with their fingers and roll their eyes, I tend to enjoy this.

Lately I've been accompanying Dad to doctor's offices on visits. These tend to be fairly torturous - you're normally squashed in tiny places waiting for the hallowed one to show up and see you (and I'm talking about the doctor personally referred to us by a friend).

In such circumstances, the Indian Idol effect is a blessing because its instant entertainment. Thus it was that on a recent medical exploration I found myself startled by a skinny guy in a Mithun mullet who broke out spontaneously into that song from Race (with rap and all) in a crowded urologists' office.

And while everyone looked irritated I smiled broadly. This caused pseudokishore to raise his voice a few decibels. When he finished I encouraged him with my best "kya baat hai" expression. I got some dirty looks from nearby sick people. I ignored them.

I continued to review each song wordlessly in this way. Pretty soon pseudokishore was taking requests from me. "Yaar, jara Chappa Chappa Charkha Chale ga do" I said. And he did - jolting the waiting room with some bad ass high notes. Slightly before this ended, the doctor was ready for us.

To all who share their talent with me selflessly in this way and make my waits easier, I thank you.

Also:

17 comments:

Lin said...

Aspi,

That Harbijan caption is just pure gold. I chuckled for a long time.

Over Rated said...

This post belongs in the hall of fame.

And frankly, I'd rather hear a Indian Idol wannabe sing bad bollywood songs than have the guy sitting next to me talk about the mole on his ass or somethin!! [ughh].

Pitu said...

Hahahahaha!!! Awesome post Aspi, I was giggling so loudly, Hunnybunny came running to see what was happening :-D

anu g said...

Lol Aspi,good to be back.I agree with Overrated(?I think he/she needs some Mindrush effect and ego-boosting) that its better to hear someone sing besura rather than hear a list of all his/her medical ailments...more so if u r a hypochondriac, then u end up thinking u have all those problems too:). Well ur feeling has been caught on screen in the movie 'Bheja Fry'! Dont tell me u havent seen it.

Aspi said...

anu g, welcome back.

Still haven't seen bheja fry. In fact, I can't seem to find the time to go see Jimmy which I know I'll love - having sat through multitudes of bad Mithun movies in my youth.

leera said...

Funny and insightful Aspi.

At least u got to hear some good old bollywood numbers. I have memories of the homeopathic doctor and his little log cabin looking office with 3 generations of the same family all down for a visit. There is a lot of trying to subtly outdo each other in humming rabindra sangeet, which frankly just puts me to sleep.

girlie girl said...

that's hysterical, Aspi!! India's Doctor's offices are a great place for stuff like that...When we had our family doctor in Surat, he would openly yell at his patients for not following his directive. Like if you were to lay off the salt yet you still have very high BP, he'd open up the door and be like "aapne Namak khaya kyun? agar aap namak kahyenge to phir mere pass mat aana!" can you believe that sh*t!!

Aspi said...

rabindra sangeet - I remember that. Can't say I blame you leera.

gg, that sounds like a gaav ka doctor. Ours (in Nargol) used to be much worse. There are so many stories about him, they could fill up a small book.

That's Dr. Rush to you... said...

My diagnosis is that singing is an excellent coping method for stressful long waits.

Dr. Mind Rush said...

BTW, Aspi! Kya kavita hai!

The Javed Akhtar Academy hereby bestows a doctorate in the area of Layman Poetry to Aspi Drift.

Pitu said...

This is why I never go to Indian docs. In fact, the only super-annoying and incompetent doctor I have been to is a desi female here in Chicago :-p Complete quack grrrr.

Aspi said...

Singing might be a stress buster, but when in line I've noted it adds to the stress of others. So does whistling actually.

Worth trying next time the guy behind is looking like he's about to go postal.

Aspi said...

Pitu, depends on the doctor I suppose although most desi doctors make me feel like I'm being taken for granted.

On the other hand, like my specialist friends tell me - going to a general practitioner is like going to a quack. Always pick a specialist and hope for the best.

girlie girl said...

I agree with the whistling! There is a guy at my work who is always whistling...and it annoys the hell out of me and most people in the room. Its total besura whistling too...totally out of sync!

Joules said...

Just got back from Italy and am catching up on your posts, Aspi.

Funny that you write about this - a group of chinese women at the airport in Rome broke out into a song while waiting to be boarded. My husband and I thought it was adorable (including the la-la-la sung as ra-ra-ra) and we were cracking up watching the looks on the faces of the americans.

Anonymous said...

Nice! I confess, I love the impromptu singing - and most of the time, it is a song appropriate to the occasion as well...

Bitterlemons

Cinderella said...

Doctor's clinics are one of the most tiresome and boring places to be.i can understand what the poor guy must have been going thru to explode into his singing that way!!

Doctors should start making some sound proof cabins soon..