Thanks to the new reputation Mumbai has developed as a puritan city where all merrymaking must stop at ten in the night, Mumbaikars like myself were forced to be content with the fleeting glimpses of Waters dished out by the television channels reporting the In the Flesh concert.
But the Waters visit did have its benefits for the likes of me. For a generation which grew up on Pink Floyd, Simon & Garfunkel and more, it served to bring back memories of another day, when you didnt weigh down your dreams with the burden of responsibilities and reality. For me, it took me back in time, when we used to rock to Floyd at get-togethers or at school festivals, even agreeing to be ushers at such fests just to get a glimpse of the girls from the participating schools. When Fr Jose, the thirty-something vice principal at the Calcutta school who came in like a breath of fresh air, played Floyd or S&G songs on the public address system during lunch break, after which we wearily returned to our classes for a boring lesson in mathematics or commerce.
And, of course, memories of an anti-war play directed by the young priest, where we literally constructed a wall on stage with The Wall playing in the background, and our drama team walked away with the first prize for the sheer audacity of what it put up at the inter-school competition.
For that generation of Floyd fans, the Waters visit is a kind of culmination of all that they believed in. Much of which may have changed, but still remains etched in memory. The beauty of Pink Floyd was in the relevance of their music and songs. Whether it is the epoch-making Another Brick in the Wall or that classic anti-war song Goodbye, Blue Sky, Floyd never disappointed a generation of rebels searching for a cause.
Songs like the dark Mother, with words which went: Mother should I run for President/Mother should I trust the government, or Money struck an immediate chord with those waiting to break free from the shackles of the drab and mundane.
Whether it was humming lines like Money, its a hit/Dont give me that do goody-good bullshit or thinking of filming a chase sequence in an imaginary film I would make, with On the Run as the background score, fantasies were always woven around Floyd compositions for most of us. There were upcoming singers and bands, but Floyd, with Waters at the forefront, was always in a different genre.
In an age where MTV was still a distant brand name made famous by Dire Straits, one could only get to watch the fabled Floyd live concert or The Wall from pirated cassettes at neighbourhood video libraries.
Today, as that generation begins greying at the temples, the Waters visit does remind one that very little of Floyds world has changed. Many of those songs they sang are still relevant, perhaps even more so, in todays day and age. And what could ring more true than the words: Hey you! Out there in the cold/getting lonely getting old/can you feel me