The concerts

For the first time in my life I was at a live concert. I had no idea what to expect as I treaded my way on the grass that led to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in the Millennium Park—heck I wasn’t even sure I could walk on the grass.

But it was the middle of summer, and every night the city of Chicago lit up as people gathered around the iconic open pavilion to enjoy free concerts. And there I was looking around, a lone traveller, stumbling upon a music extravaganza of a lifetime.

Saying it was the greatest show on earth takes an extraneous effort to lie. However, it was a good concert that showed me a new lifestyle altogether.

We don’t have free city-organised concerts where I’m from. Not only was the music new, but so was the idea of gathering people together for such a social evening.

It was unfamiliar, but unlike most unfamiliar experiences, this one didn’t leave an uncomfortable aftertaste in my mouth. Instead, it left me at peace. I felt so calm and relaxed as I listened to the expert player caressing the strings of her violin.

All around me couples and families had set up picnics. They’d brought dinner, candles and wine, beer and snacks, and desert with kombucha. It was as they’d come for a day at the beach. I sensed a hum of satisfaction hovering in the air—as if everyone there knew they’d spent an entire day on hard work, and so deserved the complementary break time the state offered them. They kicked back, laughing away, sipping a glass of their favourite drink, happy.

It was nice being a part of that atmosphere—where nothing was wrong with the world, where utopia was achievable. Of course, when the concert ended and I exited the ground the entire reality of life came down on me, but the calm during the concert was one to always cherish.

I loved Chicago for that.

Although I later understood a lot of western cities have similar public events, Chicago holds a special place in my heart.

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The dependence

Garfield Conservatory, Chicago

Garfield Conservatory, Chicago.

Clinging for dear life

as humans to emotions

creepers too, to poles

The unchanging

Pies and bars were his life. Percentages became everyday parlance. And his tallied spreadsheets set him a class apart. It was picture perfect. He was the ideal high school student: teaches doted on him, classmates frowned upon him, and parents spoilt him for love.

Who needed good friends when you could have great grades?

Pies and bars are his life. Percentages… his wife. With tallied statements stacked in the bank, the picture remains perfect. Raises and praises shower on him, as colleagues thank his genius and bosses appreciate his smartness.

Who needs good friends when you can have great toasts?

Bar scenes

Smiles, introductions

Cheers, cheerful conversations

Nights, gone forgotten

Observations

Towers, homelessness

achievements of shamelessness

city life glamour