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Face the Music

Prateek Josheph from NDTV Audience Cell called me a few days ago asking if I could coordinate ten to fifteen people to participate in the audience in a episode of the NDTV talkshow, Face the Music.
The show was held day before yesterday in Laxmi Studio, FilmCity, Noida. I was only able to get about 9 people though, since the hostlers were either not in Delhi, or those who had joined DU had to attend classes; so Aneesh and Golu went along; Rishabh also came with two cousins; there was also Sid (Ed-Board) and his friend; and Akash Bansal (who's back for the summer from Duke). I forgot to take my camera, so I got those pics of the people who came from the net (for future reference purposes).
Having decided that we would take the bus, Aneesh, Golu and I left at 2:45pm (we were told to reach by 4:30). At the bus stop however, we took an auto instead (don't know what came over us then -- an auto to Noida cost us three times the bus fare for three people!) As a result, we reached Laxmi Studio by 3:30.

With one hour to spare, feeling vella, and nothing to do, the three of us wandered around to nearby APEEJAY Public School.
Aneesh (to the guard): Bhaiya, school dekhna hai aur teachers se milna hai.
Guard: Aap kaun hai?
Aneesh: Hum Passouts hain.
Guard (disbelievingly): Kab pass kiye the?
Me (seeing Aneesh stumble): 2003
Guard: High School yaa Inter?
Me: Class 12
Guard: 4th saturdays ko aayiga; us din Parents Teacher's Interaction hota hai.

...and so on with guards of different buildings like IndianExpress, till we had exhausted our one hour.

Now Laxmi Studios is owned by T-Series. And the owner of T-Series insures that you understand that he is a religious person. When you first enter the Studio, you see a huge (HUGE!!!) bronze statue of the Hindu god Shiva, which is twice as tall as the four-floor studio complex. Next to it there are three large temples of other Hindu gods. And just in case we hadn't got the idea, when we entered the building there were another 6 three-feet tall god statues in one corner; not to mention numerous portraits of gods. I really have nothing against theism, but this is seriously overkill.

'Face the Music' is hosted by the famous newspaper reporter, Vir Sanghvi (that's the guy in black in the above hodgepodge of pictures). The studio consisted of a half-wood-half-glass red-and-silver semicircular stage and black chairs to seat about a hundred people. Silver cage-like tubes ran from the stage to the sealing giving the stage a unique look.
Vir Sanghvi introduced the first guest,

She is to politics, what Vyajanti Mala is to glamour.
And she is to glamour what Chidambharam is to boredom,
Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome, Spokesperson for the congress, Mrs. Jayanti Natrajan.

Clap clap, clap clap, clap (somebody from behind would give us the que to clap by starting the clapping).
And after a ten-minute talk with Mrs. Natrajan (she's the lady in the black-and-white pic above) on how she joined politics, death of Rajiv Gandhi, and so on, there was a short break.

Then came the second celebrity of the day. Lola Kutty (the Channel [V] VJ; Lola Kutty, "beauty on duty"; her real name's Anuradha Menon; she's the one with the flowers on her hair, and yes, she actually came looking like that to the studio). So in comes Kutty and the first thing she does is sing a rap which would put Eminem's Real Slim Shady to shame:

May I harv yorr adinshen, please. May I harv yorr adinshen please! I ahm Lola Kutty, And yes, I ahm the real Kuddy. And you other Lola Kuddies arr jusd eemitatin', So won'd the real Lola Kuddy, Please Stahnd Ub, Please Stahnd Up!

Now, when a new celeb comes, the one already on stage stays put. So now we had two celebs and a host there. Mr. Sanghvi didn't manage to get much out of Ms Kutty, because of the way she would fake her accent (Lola Kutty purposely fakes a comical accent, like the one when she sang The Real Lola Kutty, in all of her Channel [V] shows, and she maintained this accent throughout the program). So after a small talk with Kutty, Mr. Sanghvi invited the third guest of the day, Mrs Zila Khan, a very famous (apparently, I had never heard of her) Sufi Singer (she's the one in the last pic above). And after a talk with Mrs Khan on how she inherited the Sufi tradition of her father, she performed a song on stage. The song was nice, but Mrs. Khan had a tendency to over-express; she would raise her hands clenching a fist when she sung certain parts, and at the end make comments like, "oh, this is the kind of music that inspires the fire in you (clenching fists and grinning) eeeeh" (or something along those lines).

The show ended with the rock band (Adveda was the name, I think), which would drum in the filler music in the show, performed some English song.

After the show, Aneesh, Golu, Rishabh (his cousins left separately), and Akash, walked down to sector-18 Centerstage Mall, where we sat down at McDonalds and I asked Akash some questions about what to take to Duke.
Now since we had come by auto, instead of the bus as planned, and since we had not planned on eating, only 300 bucks remained between Aneesh, Golu and Me.
The facts were simple: either we eat and go back to Delhi by bus, or we go back by auto.
The case too, was an open-and-shut one:
We ate.
We also went back by bus. After waiting for half-an-hour at an overcrowded bus stop,
number 323, Daula Kuan-Noida, arrived. The bus was cramped (understatement) -- no matter how hard you tried to stand separately, you were in constant body contact with at least four people. The height of the bus was also an inch shorter than me, so I had to constantly keep my neck bent an inch. We reached home safetly though, at about nine.

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