Atithi Devo Bhava. India and its unfeigned treatment for guests, we tell you. And if the guest hails from a first world country, then move out of your extent to gladden them; literally! Since last few days, updates of Justin Bieber’s India tour have been appending quite a lot of fun to my otherwise hectic life.
Initially, Bieber’s demands for a private Rolls Royce, washing machine of a specific brand, sumptuous living arrangements that fancy those milky white curtains and vanilla room freshener, were all sounding rather bizarrely funny.
Further, I came to know how all our accomplished designers are on their toes to send out their precious creations as ‘tributes’. Designer Varun Bahl has curated Indian instruments of symphony, embedded with beautiful silk with floral works on it, and metallic gold. Rohit Bal, on the other hand, has created a biker jacket of velvet, with hand-crafted sequins all over it. Going a step further, Riddhima Kapoor Sahani (who also happens to be Ranbir Kapoor’s elder sister) has come up with a lavish gift for Bieber’s mother. She will be gifting a wreath-shaped necklace made of exquisite rubies and diamonds planted on 18k gold and platinum. Another renowned designer Anamika Khanna is not ready to be left behind as well. She has designed a gorgeous long jacket for Bieber’s mother. Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan will be gifting him with an autographed sarod. I am sure I am missing out on more extravagant gifts that the teen sensation will be showered with. I regret!
Tickets of the concert were selling for as much as Rs 76,000. Salman Khan’s bodyguard Shera, who the superstar ‘vouches’ on, has been hired for his security. As the affluent Mumbaikars head for Bieber’s live concert this night, I am tormented with the image of a devastated, horrified Sanjay Leela Bhansali with his hair messed and his eyes flickering with fear; gravely trying to sort things out, amid the broken sets of ‘Padmavati’. There are numorous instances when our own artistes fell victims of enraged laymen, pretentious politicians and orthodox notions. Wish the same amount of love for ‘art’ was showcased! The same country which sends in hundreds of policemen to maintain right measures of security at an international pop star’s concert, has flagrantly failed to protect its own artistes and how!
All the craze, for music’s sake? Hell no. It is also because, we are forever in awe of the first world. Anyone with a foreign smell and an unfamiliar aristocracy never fails to amuse us. So, the Indian media comfortably takes a leave from an event where AR Rahman is performing live, and rushes to catch glimpse of the teen pop star. Of course, the Oscar winning composer’s performance was worth being abandoned.
A functioning journalist has no escape from news. I pressed my forehead as I looked at the photos of Bieber landing at Mumbai airport. More than the star himself, the space congested with reporters and photographers catches my eyes. I refresh my browser feeds. Every second publication is going elated with his presence. ‘Justin Bieber arrives’, my mailbox flashed. No, I won’t stress myself by trying to recall whether the same happens when the National awardees return home with the honour.
Tonight will be a glittery one. The city will pour all its love; and love will probably conceal itself behind grandeur. Long after the concern is over, the loud cheerings will wander around the night’s resting air, thinking how to hold on to all the affection.
And tomorrow, one more set will be burnt. We will pelt stones on one, burn effigy of another.
Because they’re our own. They can be let to go.