Bombay learnt an interesting lesson this week, i.e. a flash mob does not involve a bunch of angry web designers wreaking havoc through rollover ads. Nope, a flash mob is completely different. It’s a group of people that gathers at a predetermined place, does something bizarre, and leaves in a jiffy. For example, Parliament.
When done right, a flash mob is art, it is randomness and most importantly, it’s a great way to get Youtube hits without being a cat that plays the piano while doing the Hitler salute.
The Mumbai flash mob, performed at CST last Sunday, was all this and more. Two hundred everyday citizens, between the ages of 4 and 60, broke out into a choreographed dance at CST, after which Anil Kapoor scared the hell out of white people by going all Ram Lakhan at the Golden Globes… hang on, I may be a bit confused here.
No, the flashmobbers danced to ‘Rang De Basanti’ (which is Punjabi for ‘Suck on this, you Kolaveri freaks’) much to the surprise of commuters whose idea of local train music so far had been confined to bhajan groups that could make God turn atheist.
Now at this point, let me clarify that I’m not one of those overly happy people. Not while I’m sober anyway. You know the kind I’m talking about – those upbeat dingbats who claim to be high on life, vomiting sunshine and rainbows every time they open their mouths and generally going about their day as if they’d just woken with Sharad Pawar’s bank balance.
Having said that, when I watched the flash mob video, I couldn’t help but grin like those very idiots. Seriously, just look at the people in it. What’s the one thing that you notice? Yep, that’s right – some of the dancers are hotties. No wait, I mean they’re happy. Even if it’s just for five minutes, everybody at the station is happy – the dancers, the commuters, the pickpockets – everybody.
Let’s be honest here. If there’s one thing that Mumbai needs (apart from flyovers, wide roads, a metro network, more AC buses, a drainage system that was designed for more than just four Englishmen and their pets, and politicians who have more brains than the aforementioned pets) it is random bouts of happiness like these.
It takes a special kind of Mumbaikar to look at VT and think, “I want to get 200 of my friends and dance in front of the toilets here.” I applaud that Mumbaikar, Shonan Kothari, and also request her to pass whatever she’s smoking. Of course, as far as stations go, VT was the perfect venue. It has character and history and is an iconic Mumbai location, unlike, say, Dadar which is a station built entirely out of rotting vegetables glued together with sweat.
The video reminded me of the last time I saw Mumbaikars erupt with unabashed joy. This was right after the World Cup victory. The sky was a riot of colours, with people singing, dancing, laughing, getting smashed, making out with strangers – it was like a Punju wedding on steroids. But since we can’t fix, I mean, win a World Cup every time, I’ll take these little substitutes instead.
Of course, not everyone shares my enthusiasm. There are many who’ve been cribbing about the quality, nature and purpose of the flash mob (this was after they managed to spare time from their busy schedule of kicking puppies) Ok no, if you’re one of those people, I wish you could lighten up. If not, may Kolaveri play in your head till your brain explodes.
(Note: This is my HT column dated 4th Dec 2011)