The Bhailogs in the muhalla had finally come and the crowd was already there. Presiding over the meeting was the most respected of them all, Raghubhai. He wore a gold chain that would have weighed no less than half a kg, “50 tola” as he so liked to call it, and a big ‘teeka’ embellished his big forehead. He quite looked like Sanjay Dutt in ‘Vaastav’ only he was a real deal. Raghubhai had grown up in those surroundings, the very surroundings that he now owned and so he knew the life people in the area have to live. Cutting down their expenses, rationing their food to make it last longer and living each day at a time. For them, entertainment was an aspiration and fun was to be earned. Raghu wanted to change all that, at least for one night. And so he had called this meeting to set up a full on tadka night for all of his people.
But who should they call to perform? Everyone was pitching in their own ideas. Naatu suggested calling Madhuri and Shibani but he was written off for suggesting only females. “Katrina and Ranbir”, an ingénue called in. Similar suggestions poured in from all sides but none could interest Raghu. Finally, Naatu’s wife came close to Raghubhai’s ear and said “How about we call Kumar and Alka . He is my favourite singer and I like Alka Didi’s voice the most.”
It struck a chord with Raghubhai. He remembered how he danced to all of Kumar’s songs in all the weddings he went to. “Those were the days”, he wondered. And so it was done. The ‘jugaad’ people were contacted and arrangements were made. The date was fixed and the invites were sent. There was an uproar around the muhalla how over-the-top ‘desilicious’ the concert was going to be.
And so the date came. From the morning itself, everyone was busy fixing themselves the perfect dress for the perfect evening. Women would trade matching ornaments to go with their dresses and children would ask their fathers to buy them matching goggles. The whole muhalla had come to life it seemed.
At about 7, when the stars of the evening arrived, they were greeted with a thunderous uproar from the crowd. Raghubhai’s mother welcomed them and put a ‘teeka’ on their foreheads. With the gear and orchestra set and coordinated, the music kicked in as the crowd watched their favorite stars in utter awe. “Had they even dreamt of it, ever?” they wondered. Alka threw in some sultry numbers mixed with a few classic songs. But once her song ‘Ek Do Teen’ hit the stage, Naatu couldn’t hold himself back as he jumped to the stage to dance with her. Being a pro that she is, Alka complied. The crowd, having witnessed this went ecstatic.
Next came Kumar’s ravishing numbers to set the stage on fire. “Look at the character sing, like a popat parrot”, laughed out Raghu to his wife Sonu. As he turned to see her, Raghu found Sonu mesmerized by Kumar’s epic voice and presence. Raghu felt jealous but just then Sonu turned to Raghu, taking his hand in hers and taking him to the floor. She started dancing alongside him and soon Raghubhai also got into the rhythm. Seeing the man who had given them all this joy dance to those tunes, all people, barring none, joined them in a display of sheer joy and gratitude.
As the proceeding got settled, Raghu sat with Sonu on the roof and looked at how all the lights in all neighborhood were still on even though it was 1 at night. He felt like with this small gesture, he had given a tinge of light in his people’s dark, dark lives. Sonu knew how he felt and nodded her head without him saying anything as she hugged him close.