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Of 'VIP' nuisance and public functions

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All celebrities are very important persons. But all VIPs are not celebrities.

All celebrities are very important persons. But all VIPs are not celebrities. At any sundry celebrations or occasions there will always be VIPs, and special chairs earmarked for them. At times quite a few of such chairs or sofas may be seen lying vacant during the entire length of the programme.

But the ordinary mortals are not allowed to occupy them.

Recently my husband, daughter and I attended a music recital by Pandit M. Venkatesh Kumar on the occasion of an exalted saint's 348th anniversary celebrations.

The platform for the recital had been erected at the space in front of the temple, but due to sudden rains, a forced decision was taken and the venue was shifted to inside the portals of the temple, at a hall behind the sanctum sanctorum.

It was a humongous task to transport all the chairs inside, including the yes, earmarked ones.

Time was slipping by and the maestro had a night train to board. So, the audience were asked to adjust themselves on the bare floor of the inner hall, which they sportingly did, whilst a few carried their own chairs to the new venue.

But VIPs are, well, very important persons, and needed the chairs, but to be carried by others. Somehow a few chairs were arranged for them but lo, the chairs got placed next to the stage facing the audience, as the floor was occupied end to end by enthusiastic music lovers, right up to the step to the podium where the maestro and his team were seated.

The crowd, consisting of toddlers to seniors, housewives to working professionals, could not be asked to move back as the hall was jam packed. The VIPs entered through a side door near the stage.

There were ladies amongst them who instantly engaged the attention of the crowd - the maestro and his team were as yet tuning their instruments - as they took some time in settling down.

But this happens to be the case with most, as people tend to touch the folds of the saree/pant/shirt, their pate, bag, pocket, etc to check if everything is in place, before and just after parking themselves at any space.

One or two may even let out a loud sneeze or a belch, or even blow a nose furiously into a hand towel, as did a gentleman amongst the side door entrants.

The only difference here was that the VIPs seemed to have forgotten they were facing the audience and had become the cynosure of all eyes.

But once the recital began, I noticed that these very people sat through it, showing no flicker of emotion, perhaps suddenly conscious of the crowd facing them.

In contrast the nameless crowd went into raptures each time a high note was reached by the 'vidwan'. They clapped, hummed along, indulged in "oohs and wa-wahs", and many a time even entreated for an encore.

At that moment I was glad I was not a VIP, and went on to enjoy the recital immensely, lost in the crowd.

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