December 12, 2010

The Venerable Father, And Grime Riot Disco

It was not just the poster imagery that drew my attention to it on the pavement outside St. Andrew Church, Bandra. That it was overlaid on a flyer announcing Venerable Father Agnel’s Day was one reason, more so since Ven. Fr. Agnel’s Day, Nov. 19, was scheduled for a little over a week after the event that was plastered over it!.

The puff of shy chest hair and the African style suave blue head wrap secured in the front and above the forehead with stylish bobby pins, the millipede styled tuft at the back I’ve no idea of, and proclaiming on a sleeveless tee “I Left My [Love] At Disco”, had enough yellow and maroon, or was it red, to stop church-goers in their tracks barely a stone’s throw away from the horse driven carriage festooned with red and white balloons outside the entrance to St. Andrew's Church.

With Christmas still weeks away, Bandra store-fronts were already beginning to wear a festive look. But what stuck me about the poster, aside from papering over Ven. Fr. Agnel’s Day announcement, was it listed no venue, no announcement of who was performing, nothing. Except for the day, announced prominently. 11.11.10.

To those who knew, the day was enough. To those who didn’t, they didn’t matter for, if they did, they’d know who and where, and most importantly how. So that was that. There was every bit of underground feel to every bit of the announcement - GRIME RIOT DISCO.

It fitted Bombay well. Grime, there’s enough of it if you’d care to look. Riot, there’s been enough of it anyways, of the blood variety that is, unless you’re not prepared to discount local train travel. Disco to forget the grime, and the riot.

The poster on the circuit box screamed – Closed Group. For the moment it still is, if the Facebook page for GRIME RIOT DISCO, only listing Kunal Lodhia, Monica Sharma Dogra, and Anamika Singh, is anything to go by, with only the RSVP for the party put out on Facebook. Partly the lure, I’d assume.

Monica Sharma Dogra of Shaa'ir + Func announced it on Twitter the day before. It turned out that GRIME RIOT DISCO was scheduled at Club Madness in Khar’s Ramee Guestline Hotel, with word getting around via Facebook, and selective promotions at events around the city.

Anamika Singh of FlirtEve, an Event Planning outfit, was tasked with getting the party going, while Kunal Lodhia of WETHEPPL would use it to promote his entity’s artwork, and if his only tweet, “sometimes barbers pretend to snip behind your head so the scissor makes sounds and you feel like you're getting your money's worth.” was anything to go by, the promotional would be side-fare to the music.

With GRIME RIOT DISCO announcing on its Facebook RSVP page: This is the party we’ve been waiting for. Grimey, raw, egoless, ass on the floor, fun. Bombay’s loud. We’re louder. Get into it, it didn’t need a soothsayer to tell you that Ven. Fr. Agnel stood little chance with Bandraites, surely not with the young and the restless, definitely not with a further promise of cheap booze and big sound the organisers threw in for good measure.

However, his faithful, now hopeful of his canonization after the Vatican declared Fr. Agnel, a Catholic priest of Goan origin, Venerable, even if the process of beatification and sainthood is likely to last long with no certainty he’ll ever attain sainthood, have an even bigger battle on their hands than the one with the Vatican – that of ensuring the posters announcing Fr. Agnel’s Day will be read by church goers atleast until the day has passed!

Until then it’s Club Madness ahoy for GRIME RIOT DISCO, or rather was.


Gauri Gharpure said...

Wow!! this post is some thing to go by, something journalists should read and learn from.. amazed how you have picked up a theme and researched it across the net to give it different tangents, the old vs. young, the faithful vs. the fearless and so on. Congratulations for this wonderful post!

Riot Kitty said...

Grime Riot Disco? I had to go back and see if I had read it correctly!

Anil P said...

Gauri Gharpure: Thank you. Always encouraging to learn you liked the post.

For those of us who grew up in Goa, Fr. Agnel was always around so to speak, in one way or the other, least of all in his namessakes at school, college, and elsewhere, and invoked second only to St. Francis Xavier.

Riot Kitty: You did read it correctly.

dr.antony said...

Your usual style Anil.You really go in to details when you write.Seemingly simple topics get noticed by your writing.

Canonization has become something like our party politics.Recently they have been distributing saints to hitherto unlucky nations.To start with,there were only European saints,now African,Indian and what not.It has become something like seat division during elections!In Kerala we got few new saints and some others have been beatified.I don't know whether it really matters to Fr.Agnel.
Few years back the church removed many from the saints list! I don't know what happened to the prayers of those who took their intersessions!

Anil P said...

Dr. Anthony: Happy to learn you liked reading the post.

True, there's been much resentment among Indian Catholics of few Saints from among their own, and I think it's partly the reason the Vatican has relented to an extent.

In Fr. Agnel's case, Goan Catholics are hoping he'll be beatified and eventually granted sainthood.

The Goan Catholic community has forwarded the Vatican an instance of a miracle attributed to Fr. Agnel, apparently about a lady patient whom the hospital treatment failed to cure before Fr. Agnel's invocation by her near and dear ones was said to have done the needful.

If I remember correctly the hospital authorities are apparently reluctant to play ball and admit they couldn't do anything for her and that they gave up on her, the proof necessary to support the miracle.

Long before the canonisation of Fr. Agnel came to played out, the institutions set up in his name by the trust Father Agnel Ashram, specially the one located in Verna, made his name known to a wider audience.

radha said...

While I will not go into the religious bit, I quite admire the poster. It was meant to get attention, even without the details and it seemed to have worked. It even got a special post here!

Anil P said...

Radha: It's likely they did not want every kind of crowd turning up at the venue, assuming they could control to an extent with selective promotions, and canvassed via Facebook. One possible reason why they did not want to list the venue.