I’m finally at that point where I can look back at events from 10 years ago, and although it is ten whole years ago, I can remember details without feeling like I’m fishing into a distant memory. I can look in the rear-view mirror, a decade ago, and still feel like it just happened. Because 10 years ago I was starting to be an adult. I was a gawky, dorky almost-adult and too busy discovering things to realise that maybe I should slow down. And perhaps, today I’m just a couple of notches better than where I was back then, which is why it feels like it was only yesterday.
Nothing makes this feeling hit home than doing something you last did only when you were 18. It squishes the time gone by into a mini capsule, you gulp it, wash it down quickly with a rum and coke, and you resume. Which is exactly what happened on Saturday night, when a bunch of us drove down to Palolem (yes, I went there again) for the party I missed last time around.
So yes, still very fresh in my mind is the memory of going to a headphone party in Palolem, back when I was 18. With a bunch of friends from high-school. Back then, the headphone party wasn’t even a legitimate, organised thing, like it is now. It was one of those things we assumed was clandestine, because we had to covertly ask a few ominous questions to find out the exact location, and then when the clock struck 11 pm, we traipsed down to an otherwise unknown location, climbing over rocks and down towards the beach, where we entered a tented area, feeling almost like we were being given entry onto The Beach, like Leonardo Di Caprio. Everything minus the trippy soundtrack.
This past Saturday, everything was almost the same, except that Silent Noise, is now an official weekly thing, with posters all around. Every shack happily gives you directions, and when the time comes you realise you’re not the only losers waiting for the clock to strike 11.30, so you can find your way down the rocks to the headphone party. The very idea of which has always fascinated me. Imagine going to a silent party, walking into an open field with not one, but three DJs doing their thing, and not a sound to be heard. With a few hundred people bobbing up and down in front of them. In silence.
As we walked in, the same feelings from 10 years ago rushed back. The excitement, the energy and enthusiasm. As the beefy foreigner stamped my wrist with the blue star, handed me my headphones and let me in, dramatic as it sounds, it was a bit like stepping into a whole new world. From the moment you choose your channel — red for trance and electronic, blue for dubstep and house or green for hiphop — and forget about everything else, it is just you, your headphones and the music within. It suddenly didn’t matter that there are petite foreigners all around (actually I noticed that the Indians were far outnumbered by the amount of white skin I saw around), women who really had the sexiest moves I’ve seen in a long time, men who were busy trying to get fresh with those that would happily allow it, a friend who decided to take a power nap in a corner (headphones on and all) and that I probably looked completely idiotic in a dress, a borrowed oversized sweatshirt (because it got really friggin cold past midnight) and dancing like I had an epileptic fit. It didn’t matter. Because for the next 4 hours, I was kind of stuck in the zone. The red-channel zone.
There is also this inexplicable feeling associated with going to a hole-and-corner party in the wilderness 80 kms away from home, as opposed to the local night club. To a party where you know nobody, and you try (but fail) to stick with your three other friends, as opposed to invariably bumping into someone you know. A party that’s as nocturnal as it gets, because when we stumbled out closer to 4 am, it was still going strong. And when its all done you have not one, or two but three options of what to do next. Options included sleeping on the beach under the stars, crashing in the car, or driving home. The husband, who had smartly ditched the party and got himself a room made it easy for me to choose. With throbbing feet, I made my way back, and as I curled up in bed, I felt like I had more than made up for missing my run that evening. The rest of the gang headed home.
I woke up the next morning pretty sure I’d have a mother of a headache, but I didn’t. I thought my feet would be killing me, but they didn’t. In fact I didn’t suspect I’d be up in time for breakfast, but my eyes opened bright and early (enough) and we had ourselves a hearty breakfast before we drove back home.
It was like the decade passed had collapsed into a tiny space of time, and nothing had really changed. Maybe, despite all the years gone by, 18 wasn’t so long ago after all.