I watched Duran Duran live in concert at the Air Canada Center Tuesday this past week, almost a year to the date of when I'd watched the Spice Girls on their reunion tour at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas. Both events were remarkably surreal.
I have dusty memories of watching Duran Duran with my two much older brothers on our squeaky Beltek TV in Lucknow, India. My world was different in those days. I was five years old, had pigtails and knobbly knees. I used to wear frocks then. I didn't know a lot of difficult words in either Urdu or English then, so I'd asked my brother what 'reflex' meant. I also learned other cool words from Duran Duran like 'clover' and 'Rio'. That made me feel quite smart compared to the other five-year-olds. My grandmother didn't know English but seemed to enjoy my song and dance renditions of the Duran Duran videos I'd gobbled up. She thought I was a riot and a complete genius. I also took it upon myself to expose the poor village girls who used to work in our house in India to Duran Duran's music. My three-feet-tall world was our gali in Lucknow and my parent's house in Muscat, Oman. Watching Simon Le Bon sing his heart out while straddling a yacht, bravely sailing against the wind, his hair ruffled, his white suit flapping about, seemed about as real and reachable as My Little Pony - the most incredible thing I'd ever seen. But like the cartoon, Duran Duran felt like they existed far away somewhere, like some kind of fantasy, like a vague promise of paradise. Fantastic but unreal. Nobody rides yachts like that.
Seeing Simon Le Bon singing in front of my eyes over 20 years later made me feel all sorts of introspective. A lot of thoughts were swirling about my mind, dear Diary. These kind of before-after situations always have that effect on me. Life has hardly been like it was in those innocent Indian summers. My grandmother hasn't been around in over a decade to banish my self-doubt away. The village girls who used to believe everything I said as if I were a miniature empress had long gone, some married, some tired, all older. After climbing the craggy mountain of my life so far, I took a break to look around and see how far I'd come, with all my energy gone. So, dear Diary, in the same way that mountaineers feel renewed by the sight they see once they conquer their peak, I felt renewed seeing Duran Duran live. After reaching the top of my mountain and seeing the dreamy figments of a past life suddenly alive before my very eyes, I realised that nothing is unattainable, that everything can become real. I inhaled sharply, amazed at how far I'd come from the tiny skippy child with impossible sources of inspiration. Then I turned to look ahead. What had felt unreal and unattainable before had become real today. So what about anything that I find unrealistic to achieve today? I am not willing to wait another 20 years to find out I was wrong about that as well.