"Do you go to concerts?" a patient asked me in the office, who I knew, also is a promoter of Indian concerts in the Washington DC metro area.
"Yeah, I do. On occasion," I replied.
"Well, there's a concert coming up next weekend, and I have a couple of Super Elite tickets, if you are interested," he said.
"Oh... I am busy next weekend. And what is a 'Super Elite' ticket anyway?" I asked.
"Well, it's a long story," he replied, with rueful smile. "In the good old days, about a decade ago, we just had regular tickets and a couple of rows up front for VIPs."
"Then what happened?" I asked.
"Then the Indian population in our area exploded. Everyone here wants to reinforce and prove to their peers that they have 'arrived'! The regular tickets were not an option anymore. So then we added the VVIP rows, in front of the VIP rows."
"And what came next?" I asked.
"More people from our part of the world came to our area, and most of them were successful. The incomes grew, and egos grew even bigger. Every group thought they were special, and everybody else was..... well... not that special. The VVIP tag did not satisfy the inflated sense of self-worth anymore, so the 'Elite" section came about."
"I think I know where this is going," I said with a smile.
"Let me finish now, Doc," he smiled back. "Since the last few years, some folks have a misguided notion that having 'connections' upgrades your social status. Nobody wants tickets through the Box office anymore. So I get calls from almost everybody and they want to know where the other people are sitting, before buying their own tickets. Some of them wanted to sit in front of the 'Elite' rows, and that's how the 'Super Elite' section was born."
"How many rows of regular tickets do you have on the floor?" I was laughing now.
"Just a couple in the back. And I really don't know what comes after 'Super Elite'," he said.
"Maybe 'Heavenly' ?" I said, in jest.
"That's not a bad idea, Doc.... The 'Heavenly' section... and it sounds expensive too!"
So don't be surprised, if there is a section for 'Heavenly' seats, on your next e-mail featuring a Bollywood superstar!
Every summer, Bollywood concerts flood the major Metro areas in the United States, including the DC area. Most of the concerts are fun, and people have a great time. But as my friend above mentioned, there are some story lines that run in parallel, which makes life interesting! When you get to the event site, there is always somebody sitting in your seat. Seat numbers, apparently, have no relevance in most desi concerts. Eventually, you get your seat and exactly 90 seconds later, there is a collective urge to head out for a drink! And of course, who is sitting with whom, and who is sitting where, does come into play for some, where ego is bigger than the moment. And in between all this, a few minor skirmishes will break out, followed by giant 'panjabi' bear hugs to make the truce. After all is said and done, it's about 3 hours of confusion, being loud, drinking, arguing, showing off, eating... or as one would summarize - a typical "Panjabi Party".
"At every party, there are two kinds of people -- those who want to go home, and those who don't. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other!" ~ Ann Landers