As anyone who has ever attended a gig in Bombay will tell you, we are the number one destination for international musical artistes who have been classified by other countries as “clinically dead”. For example, at one point, you didn’t know if Bryan Adams was coming to India to perform or to reincarnate.

The latest on the coffin tour is the ‘90s electro-pop sensation Vengaboys, who will be performing in Mumbai, Goa and Chennai in May. The shows are expected to go off smoothly, mainly because their name is Vengaboys and not Jerry Seinfeld. But on the flipside, the Mumbai venue is – and I kid you not – a mall in Kurla. Yup, a band that was one of the most popular acts on the planet at one point is going to be playing venues that even DJ Suketu would spit at.

It’s so sad that we live in a place with 25 percent entertainment tax, 14 percent service tax, a licensing regime that is basically The Hunger Games but less compassionate, and yet, Kurla is the worst thing that could happen to you. Ah well, I suppose it could be worse. The government could ask the organisers to squeeze in a Lezim-and-Musical-Chairs act in the middle of the show.

The Vengaboys have performed in India before, back in 2001, when their fans hadn’t yet been afflicted with conditions like Male Pattern Baldness, or Babies. They had a spot of bad luck back then too, when their Guwahati show had to be cancelled so as to keep “in tune with local sentiments”, which is just another way of saying that some angry people thought their music would inspire copious amounts of sexytime. That’s ridiculous because in the 90s, there were way more people who hooked up after whacking dandiyas to ‘Pari Hoon Main’ (thereby completely ignoring all the lyrics).

But it’s not difficult to see why the moral brigade would have a problem with some of their songs. I mean one of their biggest hits is named after Thailand’s number one export. It’s weird to think about now, but I remember kids, including me, listening to Boom Boom Boom, completely oblivious of the sexuality blasting out of those old truck-sized “hi-fi” speakers. This is what those deep, metaphorical lyrics went like:

Boom boom boom boom

I want you in my room

Let’s spend the night together

From now until forever

Boom boom boom boom

I wanna double boom

The good thing about those days was that nobody overthought this kind of stuff. Or if they did, we didn’t have to hear about it. We danced, enjoyed and got over all of this without having to read grave op-eds about how Boom Boom Boom is either:

a) A misogynistic song that promotes objectification and patriarchy, and is the worst thing to happen to women since stilettos


b) A feminist anthem where a woman fearlessly expresses her desires, while deliberately keeping the identity of the lover non-specific, so as to encompass all races, sexualities and body types.

But now, I imagine the Vengaboys would end up having to justify themselves to everyone with a smidgen of authority and/or access to the internet. I’m not sure what they’ll say, but the following culturally-approved explanation might help:

Boom boom boom boom

(Sound of dholak beats for cultural reasons)

I want you in my room

(Because good boys and girls don’t go outside at night…)

Let’s spend the night together

(… and also because you missed the last local, so sleep over, but on separate mattresses)

From now until forever

(Signifying commitment, because flings are for white people)

Boom boom boom boom

(More dholak to drive away impure thoughts)

I wanna double boom

(I want two kids.)

Dear Vengaboys, if you’re reading this, first up, thanks for teaching me that you can make an entire song with just one word i.e. BRA-ZEEEEEEL. And secondly, feel free to use the culturally-approved subtext above. I ask for nothing in return. I mean I would’ve asked for a free pass to the gig, but um, it’s in Kurla.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 12th Nov 2015.)


  1. I love everything you write, but I wish you would make fun of politics in India – it feels like there is so much happening there that you can mock such as the beef ban, the shiv sena, the RSS, the VHP, every right wing group, section 66A , etc and do a public service at the same time.

  2. Mr Shakya long ago in one of your articles you had targeted old men for laughing at women’s attempt to gain equality.In this article you yourself have done that.By pointing out the dirt there are many people helping to clean it up but when people like us sprays perfumes on it trying to deny its existence we manage to alienate all men from this whole movement of equality,remember patriarchy affects men too.You didn’t like jokes on Black people coz your argument was they are human beings so pls think the same about women that they are human beings.

  3. *column dated 12th November, 2014.

    Hilarious post! And performing in a mall? I hope the ladies take a break from shopping just out of respect for their now elusive fame! 😛

  4. Sir(Like the one they use for jadeja(YES!! be Elated)), i am a huge fan(98 kgs) of your blog not because I come to your website every week or buy the HT just to read your article but only because once i somehow in my not so sober moment subscribed to your blog.

    Just wondering if you’ve run out of subjects to be sarcastic about , in a funny way ofcourse.

    I know you are the next favourite to to Ashish Nehra as per my extensive research using google
    Inline image 1

    So Please Publish one more article, We need a good laugh. I’d pay you to entertain me but then i don’t have money, but i can make you maagi in 3 mins because the 2 mins thing is so uncooked.

    Once more please

  5. Being a vengaboys fan,I used to listen to ‘boom boom boom boom’ song driving my moped with almost max volume on my headphones (yeah. I know i could have died on the road. I was a badass back then.) when I had to attend my chemistry class early in the morning (4.30 a.m) back when I was in 12th standard. It was only fun time I had.(the journey from my home to tuition) it really used to wake up my brain and telling it to stop sending yawning signals and getting ahead of stray dogs chasing. Don’t know why But I took it to the next level. I kept it as my alarm signal and fucked up only good thing I had.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s