She pranced around, flailed the arms about, threw kisses at the drop of a hat,
and even sang sometimes to woo a select 'section of the crowd to her right'. The
said group - all stag, all teen - in the heat of what probably was the first female
attention of the day, retuned it all back - vociferously. But really, for these
guys it really would not have made any difference if she had stood quietly there
and done nothing - they would have cheered their heart out all the same.
But Raageshwari, or Rags if you please, was the least of our problems as Country Club International invited the city-dwellers to faraway Medchal for its Valentine's Day bash. The party was supposed to start at 8:30pm, the wise never got there till an hour later, and we the experienced reached at 10:30pm, just as the show got underway. And then, too, we had almost given up finding any signs of civilization ever again, when we suddenly came upon CCI, tucked into the wilderness.
The show began innocently enough, with a show by Javed and his troupe, but soon the Miss CCI pageant, another well-tried-out gimmick, started, and so did our problems. With stuttering contestants, who miraculously escaped tripping over their beautiful gowns, it was not a surprise that even the organizers refrained from calling it a 'beauty' pageant.
Among the judges for the contest were luminaries like Prema Kariappa, the mayor of the city, Rajiv Reddy, chairman of the Amrutha group, Manjula Reddy and others. The only sound accompanying the contest, apart from the music, was probably the chattering of teeth of the audience, who were chilled to the bone in the cold night air of the outskirts, after venturing out in their summer clothes.
And even as the pageant and the Rags' show went on punctuating each other, the audience was bounced between absolute boredom and near lunacy. Thankfully, there were enough food stalls around to cater to the bored crowd, and that at least guaranteed that some people retuned satisfied.
But all credits to Raageshwari who, along with spectacular pyro-wizardry and not-so-spectacular jokes, did manage to do a encore, too. But then the in-demand number was not one of her productions, but rather a rehashed medley of R D Burman's compositions. One wonders just for how longer the poor man must stand in for every wannabe singer of the nation.
Somewhere in between, a dancing troupe from Pune called Expressions performed, but their performance did little to heat up the crowd, or what was left of it, and that too because most were frozen stiff with cold by then.
The night's saga ended with declaration of the results of the pageant. Ritu Pakiza ended with top honors, along with the Miss Catwalk crown, and Deepika & Neelam finished 1st and 2nd runners-up respectively. The reigning queen Soniya did the honors, but all this we could figure out from what Sohail (the compeer for the evening) was announcing. For, all the audience got to see of the crowning of the queens were the backsides of a bandwagon of photographers, who, astonishingly, were allowed on-stage during the complete ceremony, by the organizers.
But the ordeal was far from over for the crowd, who now had to make their way back to the city, which was as mean a task as any in those wee hours. And borrowing from the lyrics of one of Rag's compositions "Maine Dekhe Hai Sare Rang Dunia Ke…", the color of this night was positively blue.