Large crowds. They were never my thing.
And yet here I was, standing amongst a crowd of five thousand people, questioning my own sanity for willingly agreeing to be a part of it.
I stood on my tiptoes and took a look at the huge number of people that had gathered, for the fiftieth time that evening. Only a row of people ahead of me was a dimly lit but magnificently huge stage.
When I looked up, I was greeted by a purple sky trying to fade into black. There was no concrete ceiling. I could already see ghosts of stars that would soon emerge as bright and prominent.
The entire crowd was facing the stage, in anticipation of how and when something would happen.
But my glance kept flicking from the stage to the girls next to me to the people behind me to the exit doors to the giant speakers and back to the stage. I was nervous.
Of course I was nervous. Who the hell comes to a concert all alone, Maya?
I snuck another glance at the green neon “EXIT” sign, contemplating detaching myself from the crowd and making a run for home. But then it hit me that home was nothing but a cold room on the second floor of a university hostel. In other words, it wasn’t really home.
All of a sudden, neon lights of purple rained down on the stage and the audience roared when a silhouette of a man and his guitar walked up to the centre. He stood there, motionless, with technicolor light illuminating his outline. And just like that, my nervousness multiplied.
Noah Roy. He was the reason for the thousands of people. He was the reason for their craze.
The girl standing next to me, along with the rest of the audience, was jumping and screaming, close to tears. The sight reminded me of Reia. Oh, how she would have acted the same way if she were here. But she wasn't. I tightened my hold on the extra abandoned useless concert ticket crumpled in my hand.
Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined attending a concert alone. That too a Noah Roy concert. Noah Roy. A world famous pop-singer whom I neither liked nor listened to.
Reia, though, loved Noah. Reia and I, friends since childhood, had done everything together. And she always said that if she got the opportunity to see Noah live, she would drag me with her, even if I refused. According to her, it was her dream, and what’s the point of living your dream if your best friend isn’t with you?
But here I was, alone in a Noah Roy concert. Living my best friend's dream, without my best friend. All I had in her name was an expensive piece of paper that held no value anymore.
Noah played a chord on his guitar, only to follow it up with more silence. The audience screamed and I returned to reality.
It was a wonder how I got here because I had decided not to attend the concert. What the hell got into me? I didn’t know anything about the guy Noah. I knew just a few of his songs, and that too only because Reia always sang them.
Every atom in the giant stadium screamed that Maya did not belong there.
For days, the concert tickets had been lying on my desk, staring at me. I wanted to burn them, to tear them into a million pieces, to throw them away. And I almost did. Almost.
It was rare for a global pop-star to play a concert in Mumbai. That too, only one hour away from my university. So I did the craziest thing I had ever done.
It had taken every ounce of craziness I had in me to step out of my room, get in a taxi, arrive at the venue, wait for hours in line to get in, and now stand in a crowd of utter chaos. All by myself.
So when Noah finally started to sing, I didn’t know what to feel. Surrounded by five thousand strangers, I felt the loneliest I had ever felt. But I was here. I was alive. Noah was alive. The five thousand people were alive. And maybe it was the music or maybe it was a miracle, but I had no choice but to enjoy the show. And live. At least for a night.
And little did I know then that after this night, barely anything would remain the same.