So where did I leave off last time? Oh yes, The Rose. I only went to listen to them once when I posted two weeks ago, but then I managed to go a second time last week. Their first busking event was at University Road or 대학로 which is where many of the performance scenes of Shut Up! Flower Boy Band had been recorded if I remember correctly. This performance was recorded and posted on Youtube and I was right in front of the camera. I’m famous haha. I had already missed two or three of their events in my neighbourhood before this, so I could not let this opportunity go even if nobody else was interested. The second event was at Hongdae, and for those who have any idea performances at Hongdae are incredibly close to the performers. I got to practically stand behind Hajoon, helping him with his earphones. I got to talk to all the boys both times I attended, and as far as I know I must be memorable for Woosung, because I talked to him about some of his predebut covers and that too of lesser known American indie bands. Furthermore, all four boys, including Dojoon and Jaehyung are the warmest pieces of energy and they were these balls of excitement that I was genuinely amused to see interact with each other. I walked all the way to Hongdae and back and felt like such a successful young woman of not losing my way. The one thought that continued to come to my head while standing there, listening to them play was how much I had wanted to be at Hongdae someday and listen to some good live rock music. That dream came true and I actually got to listen to quality music which is one huge tick mark on my bucket list. I hope I can someday get to hear them live all over again.
The first day I caught The Rose while busking, I had gone to FNC Wow in the morning because really, nobody’s going to go with you. Better start doing things by yourself. Seeing Jung Yong Hwa in all his glory was great, but didn’t get to meet the real guy so can’t say my day was thoroughly made. All I got was plenty eye candy and these suits the barista insisted was from the You’re So Fine Music Video but I don’t think I was thoroughly sold considering that Kang Min Hyuk and Lee Jung Shin are super tall and these outfits looked like they were made for preteen boys. So not that impressed with this. However, I did get to leave Yong Hwa a small message on a book full of fan messages for our Special Assault Commando. This reminds me, I went there as a sort of mini celebration because all of the allegations against Yong Hwa were lifted a day before. There were no other fans in sight but well, I’m not trying to participate in fandom related activities in Seoul. The actual aims are much more serious with greater stakes.
This brings me to another idea that occurred to me today. I woke up to black clouds rolling in outside my window with the sky growing as dark as the monsoon sky in Lahore. The way thunder struck was so reminiscent of home, which really reminded me of all of the romanticism regarding monsoon or should I say, barsaat in Urdu and Punjabi literature. I may have a love-hate relationship with the physical territory that I may hail from, but somehow being abroad, I feel like the culture flows through me. It’s evident by my face when I see other South Asians stare at me for a good five seconds because they recognize me as one of their own. Borders may have separated us but some bonds go deeper than these superficial lines. What the media has done for almost a century is also a topic for another day. There is more that brings us together internationally simply because of a common heritage if only we saw it as that and tried not to disown it. I literally feel like I represent barsaat and the Mighty Indus. I have the endless history from the Indus Valley all the way up to the present flowing through my veins. I am the valleys of Hunza, the Thar desert, the mountains of the Himalayas and yellow mustard fields of Punjab. I am ancient, and yet I am a product of this globalized world.
When I listen to music from my land, from Bulleh Shah being sung on a Coke Studio rendition or Junoon singing about mitti (sand), strange emotions take over me. It isn’t particularly nostalgia but it’s weird to walk in a huge crowd of people crossing the road and realizing that the weight of all of this cultural heritage is probably lost on all of these people. Korean pop music is good. I love myself some Super Junior and Big Bang but my identity is much richer than that. The depth of philosophical thought occurring in the subcontinent, whether lands are in Pakistan or India, they are ones only we as a group of South Asians can understand. I think these are the very thoughts that continue to keep me moving on in this new uncharted territory I am busy exploring all on my own. With such an awareness about where I come from continuing to have a grounding in the past while moving on in the present is one that would be useful for most people. There are a great many things that will continue to be imperfect back home, but that is our identity and that is our heritage. It defines who we are.