Let me tell you what happened today. But, before we begin, you need to know something – I am the villain in this story.
It was a Tuesday, and I was at the open mic I run. I was waiting to go up; I was last. There were about four comics left before the end of the show, and the host was doing a brilliant job. This was happening in Nanganallur AKA boot camp Mylapore. Not much happens in Nanganallur, which why Nanganallur doesn’t rhyme with fun.
During the open mic, there was an elderly man and a young lady who stayed for the first half, and they enjoyed themselves despite the occasional fucks being flung around. They left a while later. Not because they weren’t having fun, but because they had a life. A little later, a family of four walked in. Father, mother, son, and daughter-in-law. They left soon after, because they didn’t realize the open mic was happening, and had come to the restaurant to talk family matters. Yes, they were so progressive, they got dressed up to go to the nearest youth hangout spot to talk about personal stuff. My deductive skills told me they were probably a nuclear family sharing the house with every other surviving relative who was really old, but just didn’t know when to die.
Then, four fresh-out-of-school kids walked in. Two boys, two girls. I give you this detail so you know that our nation’s sex ratio is progressing, even if the economy isn’t. They sat down at a table just next to the performance area. The girls sat huddled together (because traditional values dictated so), one guy sat indecisively facing the comic at a 45° angle. He was trying to be cool with one elbow propped on the table, and trying to lean back while also awkwardly making sure his legs weren’t spread out too wide (because traditional values dictated so). The fourth thought he would sit with his back to the performer as a display of dominance. He was definitely the prepubescent alpha male of the group. He had a gym bag on, which he refused to take off. My deductive skills told me he was trying to build muscles to overcompensate for the one tiny mass of muscle that wasn’t as endowed as he would’ve liked it to be. Whenever the host would try to talk to him, he would just stretch his neck up, and talk out of a lopsided mouth like a rejected extra from a Japanese horror flick.
The host spoke to each one of them, explained what was happening, and went on to introduce the next performer. With each passing minute, the kids kept getting louder. The performers were trying to be nice by talking to whoever else was listening. But, let me tell you from experience, when kids want to be loud, there’s nothing you can do to drown it out. Well, you could drown them, but that depends on whether you really want to put so much effort into killing a bunch of educated retards you’ve just met by coincidence. They got busy with their phones, clicking selfies and trying to pass snide remarks about the performer, fully aware that everyone could hear them. The alpha male, with his back to the performers the entire time, was trying to be funny to his group of friends. If there’s one thing a comedian hates, it’s another comedian without a mic.
Finally, it was my turn. I was the last performer, and I was going to close the show. What happened next was not something I planned. I tried my best to tune these loudmouths out and power through my set. But, you can’t always have what you want. There was another snide remark that was passed, and I lost my shit.
I addressed these attention whores, and asked them if they understood what was going on. The indecisive little shit responded with a “Should we?” and that just made it worse. I spoke to them for a few seconds, just long enough to make it awkward for everyone. The room went silent. I had singlehandedly brought the energy down. It was not a great show, but I made it worse. There was no coming back from that. The kids left right after that, and I went back to finish my set like nothing happened. I was still shaking, and I knew I had done something terrible. I tried to save the show by talking to a couple of guys who had walked in, just in time to witness the verbal homicide of the evening. I got a few laughs, apologized, and closed the show. I also apologized to the venue owners, who were sweet enough to not yell at me.
It was my fault. It was the most unprofessional thing I could’ve done. If we lose this venue, it will be on me. I vowed to be nicer next time. I was clearly in the wrong.
But, here’s what really annoyed me – “They’re just kids. They don’t know.” The saving grace was nobody said “It’s not their fault.” But, they’re just kids? Really?
When we started the open mic, there was this lady with her child. They were accompanied by who looked to be the granddad of the kid. The mother ordered a burger with fries, and sat at a table with the cute and cuddly little one plonked on the table in front of her. The kid tried to grab at one of the French fries with her stubby little teeny weeny fingers, but just couldn’t manage it. The mother picked up a piece, and handed it to this little innocent creature. The baby then proceeded to munch-munch-munch on the fry like a baby squirrel who has no clue about the evil world out there with the kill or be killed, survival of the fittest mentality. THAT IS A KID. THAT KID DOESN’T KNOW. If that kid had interrupted the open mic, there is nothing I could’ve done. I’d have probably lifted her up, sat her on my shoulder and taken her on a tour of the wonderful place that is Nanganallur. The child was on mute throughout, and I don’t think that’s owing to a disability.
I wasn’t angry because I had a few unruly audience members. I’m angry that these were a bunch of assholes who’d seemingly learnt nothing despite being through thirteen consecutive years in the Indian education system. They’re old enough to drive, but not old enough to be decent? Explain that to me, please. I would like to know exactly at what point in human evolution did manners become an optional gene. I refuse to believe that a seventeen year old is still a kid. Just because they were born later, doesn’t make them kids for life.
Yes, I could’ve been nice. I could’ve said, “Please shut the fuck up.” But, I chose not to please them. I chose to demonstrate cause and effect. I took it upon myself to show them that actions have consequences, even if you are just a kid.
I do not need anyone’s approval. I’m not looking for “It’s not your fault, dude. It had to be done.” because it will not make me feel better about it. I feel really bad about what I did. But, what I don’t feel bad about, is there’s little decency left in kids these days, and someone has to keep them in check once in a while. Today, was that once-in-a-while.
I will try to be nicer next time (if there ever is a next time). But, I also promise to not take shit from kids who know nothing.