The workday is up, classes are finally over. Walking out, you call your friends up as you head to your room to get ready; they’re just as excited as you are. You agree to meet outside the venue at 6:30. Now in your room, picking an outfit is a hard decision to make. Do you wear something comfortable or something stylish? Maybe both? Maybe a dress? You’ve tried on 10 shirts now, finding an outfit seems impossible. Inspiration strikes, and you rummage through your closet for your favourite outfit. It’s overused but nothing beats it. You enter the shower, telling yourself you’ll get out in 10 minutes. 20 minutes later, and you’re still in the shower singing along to Queen. Your friends send you a text―they’re already there. Hop on to the shoe struggle bus. Do you wear comfy sneakers or something more aesthetic? It’s a grass field. You choose the sneakers.
You finally leave your room for the venue, the air is warm and humid but the excitement in your periphery is palpable. You’re walking briskly, don’t want to be late. Thank God for friends that show up early, and help you jump long lines.
The sky takes on a darker shade as you reach the ground―the colours of dusk in full force. You see the patches of grass that cover almost the entire field, feel the gusts of wind slapping your face in close succession, smell the cool air after a day of surviving the blistering sun, listen to the stage organizers setting up the mics and testing them―you’re finally here.
There were already a lot of people here, some of them indulging in a selfie or two, few lost in the taste of something they brought along with them from the food stall, and yet others who decided to take a look at the stage up close before the crowd makes it hard to even stand straight. Your friends decide to do the latter and off you go walking to the other side of the ground, towards the stage―a gigantic and complex arrangement of metal and lights and confetti boxes just waiting to burst open.
As you frame a mental picture of it in your head, music fills your surroundings. People are starting to groove to it―lips moving to the lyrics of the song, some of them on point and others not so much, the classic head movement paired with the carefully coordinated choreography of the arms and legs. Slowly, you find yourself doing the same.
The entrance still has a steady stream of people coming through, all of them sporting the signature wristband. The darkness is settling in and promptly the lights go on all over. The energy of the crowd is building up, but still remains conservative―the crescendo is for later. You head over to the stalls and choose the drink with the most outrageous colour. It’s a little too sweet but the coldness of it is satisfying. After gulping it down, you wipe the sweat off your forehead―the air had turned humid.
Before you can ask anything, the hosts announce their arrival and the crowd goes wild. The field is now filled to burst. The music grows louder and louder, and the beat makes your heart pound.
You’re as ready as you can be.
As the first note resounds throughout the crowd, you are hit with a wave of insurmountable energy. Blood rushes to every cell in your body and instantly the air around you is lighter, sweeter. You sway to the rhythm of the song and tap your feet to the beat. You’re shouting the lyrics to all your favourite songs till your throat is hoarse but you can’t feel it at all. As you reach the chorus, the entire crowd is singing in unison and you feel like you are part of something larger than yourself. You feel so alive that you forget everything around you and for a few brief seconds, it’s just you and the performers on stage. You lose yourself to the beats, let the frenzy consume you, and throw your hands up in the air in exhilaration. It really is bliss and you feel a greater sense of belonging than usual, a feeling which you welcome with open arms and revel in.
Midway through the concert, you realise your body should be absolutely knackered, but you don’t feel the burn. You keep dancing and grooving without a care in the world. This is your night; your chance to let every inch of your body feel the passion and euphoria pulsating through the electric atmosphere. Your thirst and fatigue are also very conveniently forgotten and you feel a high that’s quite unparalleled to others. You already know that it’s going to take a long while to subdue. The crowd is singing along in unison, causing goosebumps to appear. The bright lights and confetti blind your vision, but for the first time, you feel as though you’re in a space where absolutely no one can bring you down. Elated to a whole other level, and in that moment, there is nowhere else you’d rather be.
A steady stream of perspiration runs down your forehead. Your hair is plastered to your neck and your legs have lost all feeling. All you see is hands, shadows interrupting the strobe lights that peek through the dusty air. You know it’s almost over, but you’re so lost in the music, it’s the last thing on your mind. A voice cuts through the rhythmic base, an announcement. The night is coming to a close, this is the last song. The diminishing energy is suddenly replenished as the crowd unites for one last stand. The beginning notes wash over you, and suddenly the previously depleting adrenaline reaches an all new high.
The track goes by in a blur of coloured lights and euphoria. As the song comes to an end, hands fill the sky one last time. The guitarist lets it rip and the crowd goes crazy; a mess of applause and cheering drowns out the music. And you feel it; the sea of strangers around you feels like an army, battling through a life that seemed so insignificant until that moment. The drummer plays his last beat and the artist gives a final bow. It’s over, but the denial in you keeps the energy going, not wanting to miss a single moment.
Hands go down as you transcend back to your senses. You turn around to look at your friends, only to see the same look of flushed disbelief. Hours have passed by without you realizing. The ground isn’t shaking anymore, the silence feels foreign to your ears, but soothing nonetheless. The crowd starts to disperse, but you don’t want to leave just yet. You find yourself a comfortable spot at the edge of the ground, and lie down for a while before heading back to your room.
You close your eyes for a second, taking in everything that’s happened over the past three hours. You’re struggling to put together words to describe what you’ve just experienced, swimming in the sea of emotions you’ve felt this day. Just for a bit, you were invincible, part of something bigger than yourself. You’re not lost in the crowd anymore. You’re alive, renewed and ready for anything. On the grass, laughing, drenched in sweat, surrounded by the people you love, you’re finally breathing again.
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”—Plato
~ Written by Salekha Reddy, Melvin Jacob, Shuba Murthy, Nidhi Rao, and Sushanth Reddy for MTTN
~ Images by Akshat Chourasia and Sarthak Cheema