Enrique got me in the news recently.
It was quite unexpected. I’ve been avoiding him ever since he said he was coming to Mumbai. And all along, I’ve been stonily indifferent to his breathless entreaties, ‘I can be your hero baby’…
So I was a tad uncomfortable queuing up for passes for his show at the music store. Working in close proximity to a music store and having friends who are besotted with Enrique can be doubly disadvantageous. Still, I am the obliging sorts.
As I waited, I spotted an odd couple. The girl wore a lavender shirt and black trousers. Ditto for the guy. Peculiar dress code, I thought. At that moment they turned. Lavender Boy was gripping a video camera and Lavender Girl, a boom mike. And they were making a bee line for me…
Lavender Girl: I’m from Aaj Tak. Are you buying passes for the Enrique concert?
Surprised Lee: But these are for a friend, not me.
Lavender Girl: That’s ok. We just need footage.”
I’ve been called ‘background’ and ‘extra’ before. ‘Footage’ was a new insult.
I was about to protest again when the latent wicked streak began bubbling. The idea of ‘acting’ like a smitten groupie appealed. I once had a bit part in a winning play in College. And the arclights hadn’t dimmed ever since.
Ok, I will be Footage, I told Lavender Girl.
Out went the I-wish-I-was-elsewhere look. Replaced by an ‘Enrique-you’re-my-hero-baby melting-eyes tremulous-mouth’ look. Lavender Boy swung the camera this way and that to capture each nuance.
The guy in front of me bought 13 tickets worth Rs.1200 each. I hoped the camera didn’t catch that momentary flicker in my lovelorn gaze. The counter staff was saying, “Everyone’s buying the Rs. 1200 passes. We’ve only sold 9 booklets of Rs. 800 as compared to 20 of Rs. 1200." Wow, Enrique sure doesn’t miss ME.
It was my turn. The staff handed over the passes with a flourish. I accepted them with a flourish.
The boom mike was thrust under my nose. A small knot of people had gathered to watch. I patted my unruly curls in place.
Lavender Girl: Aap ye concert mein kyon jaana chahte hai?
ULP! I belatedly remembered it was Aaj Tak. I would have to speak in Hindi. My Hindi is a trifle rusty, corrupted by Bambaiyya and susceptible to gender bloopers when nervous. But seasoned performers aren’t fazed by trifling issues like these.
Hammy Lee (in Hindi): Um… I’m a big fan of Enrique. I love his songs. I love his music videos.
Lavender Girl: Most of Enrique’s fans are teenagers and teenyboppers. So what makes you such a fan?
Indignation momentarily nudged out nervousness and lovelorn-ness.
Indignant Lee: Lady, THOSE are laugh lines. And these glasses give me a severe look. So just what are you trying to insinuate?
But Indignant Lee only sputters and fumes in silence.
Hammy Lee: Erm… I’m a big fan of Enrique. I love his songs. I love his music videos.
Lavender Girl: “Have you been for other concerts before?”
Having almost got attacked by crazed fans at a UB40 concert some years ago, I didn’t care to repeat that experience. But while we’re acting here…
Hammy Lee: Yes, I’ve been for UB40… and Bryan Adams.
A belated, unsuccessful attempt to sound cool.
Lavender Girl gestures to Lavender Boy to stop filming. Whew, I thought, about time. The act was beginning to wear thin.
Lavender Girl: Could you please say on camera that you liked these concerts and you’re sure that Enrique will be even better?
Indignant Lee: What?! You’re asking me to lie? On national television? Is this HOW you gather news?
Lavender Girl: Rolling…
Hammy Lee: Yes I loved Bryan Adams and UB40 and I’m sure Enrique isse bhi better rahega.
Note to viewers: If you’re catching the news on Aaj Tak on the pre-Enrique concert hype and spot one respondent from Mumbai with red cheeks and a very very long nose… that’s me.