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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Si prega di non lasciare............

“……….Ab na jaa………….”
Palash Sen’s sorrow tinged voice almost slices through my heart. With a serrated edge. I guess I now realize why some people write and sing what they do. Cause today I want to sing that very melody. And weep.

She left yesterday. Not without notice though. We knew this was coming. A month prior to the actual thing. “To come to terms” with it. To ease it out for all. To smoothen the passage. To blunt the serrated edge.

With her, it was never an awful lot of words, that brought me closer to her. It was more often than not action. Being Hitlerian honest, sticking to your principles and being clever enough to convince people into seeing what you want them to see. Ways and means to achieve the ends does not matter. Action was of the ultimate consequence. I had become a part of that. And then she left.

In the yesteryears, I was never able to fathom, why the “thinking” light on her head blinked so often and that too with dangerous, eye and brain damaging intensity. Cause I never really understood the consequence. Though I could see it ( the consequence that is...........) with my own eyes. Until the precipitate of that consequence actually affected me. And now that I can lucidly understand why she trains her mind so hard to tear one thing apart, she is gone.

It’s easy being big and mature and elderly. Probably much more difficult to keep the kid inside you, safe at the same time. It’s easy to talk high brows and keep handing out bucket loads of advice to others. But hardly an easy breathing experience when life dishes out some of the same to you. It’s easy to start running around, searching for a helping hand. Some shoulder to cry on. I saw that kid in her. I heard words that comforted me. I found her hand and wanted to weep on her shoulder. but she has vanished.

It’s easy making friends, riding around on bikes, calling each other when you know everything is good. Easy to feel nice when there are no mistakes happening. But I think it takes some substance to confess before others, to put wrong things right, especially when the wrong is done by your own self and the one’s closest to you. She did that. She taught me , us, how to do that. And now she has left.

I can keep up with this terrible rant all day long. I could keep adding paragraphs and consequently bytes of data to this, crux of the matter not moving. Knowing a person and discovering one is entirely different and can be an amazing journey. Having a person and losing him/her is felt only if you have actually lost someone. Mere words do not make up for that. Saying “don’t worry, I will be there for you.” And actually being there demands a lot. And I know she is still there. Even though I can not see her. And my solitude shall now end with an honest, clean and simple "thank you".

Thursday, September 25, 2008

India Unlimited...............

A mosaic of some heart achingly beautiful pictures. Representing the true spirit and face of India.
Worth a look any day.

A blot on India's conscience. Covering the entire landscape very fast. Worth a thought and action ............everyday.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Long may the Hammer strike!

Check the reviews for Death Magnetic...........ranging from the celebrating to the denouncing!


Blog Critics

Rolling stone

suite 101

Metal Injection



P.S.: Me, i don't care. For me they are Gods and they cannot put a foot wrong. Just a piece of advice here. Sure i put up all these links here, but i have my opinions about everything Death Magnetic has to offer. So please, before being prejudiced, decide for yourself if you want to be or not.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Want to.......Rock on!

Finally I did it! Well did not win the Formula 1 Constructors trophy for the McLaren Team, but something more important in the myopic future. Well, watched Rock On for the second time. First encounter did not start off well, I missed the song “Socha Hai” cause I and my friend were stuck in a traffic jam (these seem to appear in a lot of posts, don’t you think? It is a problem then…..:)…..)

I don’t think I can properly weigh the effect that movie is having on me. First time around, I was with 16 people, a litre of adrenaline in my bloodstream and leading a not so complicated life. Post that first viewing, I think things have changed very rapidly. Makes everything much more interesting and vivid. I know you agree. Then, I only knew it was about a rock band who got a second chance. And with the (frankly speaking, useless…) humour being handed out by the folks accompanying me, the movie was any other Bollywood flick with some very good music in it (hats off to shankar-ehsaan-loy, especially Ehsaan "Rockstar" Noorani for the amazing guitar melodies which make this movie such a joy). I loved the movie when I saw it the first time. And then we sat down on the dinner table to speak about stupid things like Farhan Akhtars diction and acting, Rampals fake guitar playing, Prachi Desai’s dresses, Zehreelay (hehehe)………et al.

All in all a paisa vasool movie one would say. And I would definitely agree. But I wanted to watch that start. In the theater. Might sound awful foolish, but I wanted to.and yesterday had the perfect chance to. Cause the people with me yesterday do not know me very well and when I turned up at the rendezvous point in a Lamb Of god t shirt, they might have given up on me all together. No use talking to this wannabe goth they must have said. Well, that actually worked fine for me. Cause then I could watch the movie in peace.

Reached the theater on time. The chances of those happening nowadays in Pune are close to nil, but the Leave-a-second-later-than-the-last-second organization has vowed not to bow down. Wasn’t crowded. More good news. We settled down and the lights went down. Dark. The reel started spinning.

I am not going to write a review of the movie, cause then it would be the worlds most biased and outrageously one sided review. And I think its gay to review a movie like Rock On. So, no, I wont do it. Integrity preserved.

It is hard as I already have said, to define what that movie has done to my mind set. Being (a sort of) musician and being a part of band, I could just feel every character and emotion. Be it the poet inside the investment banker, the guitarist who could own the world with his guitar but couldn’t own anything else, the mad drummer who had sadly sobered down (not the dying Rob. I am yet to be in that position and god knows I don’t want to be.) . Magik had their second chance. Even though it was short lived. But it released its members from their demons. They came together. They were bound together.

Ten years down the line I don’t know if I will be playing drums. Ten years back I wanted to be an Air Force pilot. Times change. Priorities change. Needs change. People change. But what that movie manages to tell you in the 2 hour span is, even if this is the case, you could redeem yourself if you are true to yourself. Right now , we , in Skepsis share an amazing chemistry. Right now I cannot dream of parting with those guys. Cause if we blow this , I am not really sure if I will come back to it. Would we go the Brute Force way, playing metal for a living. In a bollywood obsessed country. Those guys are doing awesome. I want the same for my band. But also know very well that it would be very difficult if I have to lead a “normal” life. Just some questions. Why doesn’t life let me do what I want to? Why do I always have to fight destiny and snatch it from the clutches of fate?

Maybe I am being too immature, naïve and even foolish as many of you might rightly point out. And I would be inclined to agree on rational grounds that I am. But what is the basis of that rationalism. I do not have to trust you cause you too at some point of time have given up your dreams and gone on to do what you were compelled to. For whatever reasons. That makes you a frustrated prick. That makes me not want to take any opinions from you. At least not on this.

A friend asked me after the movie , if I was a tad downbeat after watching the movie. Well yes and no. yes for the above reasons and no for some reason I could not find. As I said, hard to explain. But one thing for sure. Upto now, whatever I took meekly what life had handed out. Like a prisoner in a penitentiary. Well, now I want to make sure that dreams come true and in a way I want to. And if I have to fight for it, I will.

Hard to make any sense out of all of this. I know. Trying to do that . If someone understands it, please let me know.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

That Thing we did!


“Mother of fucking God!”

If words were food, these would be the staple Diet for me .On the 2nd of September 2008, though i was having a eat(swear)-all-you-can feast. It was pouring cats , dogs, zebras and what not . for 2 effing hours. And I was stuck in a leaky ass photo studio near Juna bazaar for 2 hours. As if being drenched was not enough, I was given a lesson in drip irrigation by the ill made roof of that shop. No electricity. All I could do was have my Diet (:D) and think about what went wrong when all seemed to be going right.

We had practiced our hearts out on this one. After 3 failures we had to earn some respect out there. Skepsis had to have some recognition. We jammed , we fought, we pondered. Everything , every action that goes into the process of creating and playing some music (ok, we did not create any originals…..so only played) , we went through it all. A whole truck load of emotion. The night before we were going to supposedly set the stage on fire, everything seemed to be working fine. All seemed to be in order. I left for my flat thinking on the theatrics I would dish out on stage. Reached home. Went to sleep.

Next day, bright sunshine. Good day, I thought, for a performance. Strapped the guitar to my back (I don’t play guitar, just carry my friends guitar to show off…….:D) and went to work. Every eagle eyed chap at the office noticed the guitar. Why not. Half of them had just seen it on the tube or in their dreams. Lolz. Left my desk at 4:30pm, well before time. All seemed perfect till this point of time. Until I reached Shivaji Nagar, where all hell broke loose. It was raining like no tomorrow.Diet. Managed to reach that God forsaken photo studio before the rains became too heavy and I became to worried to carry on. You cannot destroy a beautiful Samick Greg Benett (sunburst orange surrounded by cherry red ) guitar by exposing it to the elements as such. And it would also be a 10k kick up my backside. No sir, thank you very much.

So , back to the photo studio. 2 hours. I was completely drenched. But still waited for the rains to slow down. In the hope that I would perform the songs for which I had busted my ass in practice. In the hope of the lime light, the applause. but not to be. The rain did slow down. At about 7:10pm. And so did the traffic. In fact the vehicles were not moving at all. Monumental traffic jam. Diet again. Had to happen now? Diet. Diet. Got my bike , of the stand, punched the starter and entered the moving labyrinth. Diet.

The maze was moving, and then as always , I did not know the directions to the venue. So I had to ask some punk on a bike, where the BJ medical college grounds were. And he pointed to some direction he was not looking at. And I did not care to confirm it. Took that direction , I did. And then kept moving in circles for the next hundred trillion gazillion years. That’s what a traffic jam can do to the engine and your head. One look at the watch. 7:45 pm. Diet. We were on at 8 pm. And I still did not know where the medical grounds were. Did not bother to reason out that such competitions are not held on open grounds cause it is the rainy fucking season. Did not bother that I had kicked 2 people in the process of getting ahead. Did not bother that I reached Nucleus mall when the place I wanted to reach was the other way round. I just wanted to get out of the traffic. So I left the bike at the mall, guitar on back and my drum kit bag in hand, started running. Took my cell phone out. A hundred million missed calls. And could not reach anyone cause all the networks were congested. Diet. I kept running.

Met Ketan on the way. He was as confused as I was. And in all this chaos he kept shouting at me, “dude where is Sasoon hospital?”. I wanted to kick his ass, but I did not have the time. The cell phone buzzed to life. It was Chirayu. And he had an Airtel connection. I think that should say enough about the voice quality. All I managed to decipher out of the noise and shouting was “venue, Sasoon hospital Audito….”. Diet. Diet. How can they change the venue? No I wasn’t thinking then. Picked up an old man on the footpath, asked him where sasoon was, grabbed Ketans collar and ran. Hell I was possessed. Another look at the watch..................8:00pm.

My heart skipped a beat. And then a searing bolt of pain shot up my left foot. Diet diet. A desperate biker had climbed the footpath , lost control of the throttle and straight onto my foot. I let out such an anguished cry , that I think he peed in his pants. Diet. Swore at him. No wait . I did not. I was running as soon as I managed to extricate my foot from under the bikes wheel. Kept running. Like a demon. No I cant be late. Cant. Just cant.

Have to perform. Where? Where are we?Kept looking left right. Where was Sasoon? And then suddenly, with the bus departing , I stood still for a second. I was right in front of its gate. And between the gate and the me was an iron fence. Hell, whats that when I have come so far. Leapt over it. Even though I knew i couldn’t. Ripped my track pants. Wet track pants. Cant wait. Have to run. Akshay was standing at the gate. I had arrived. Handed him the drum kit sack, still running, we rushed straight to the auditorium. Managed to bump into a couple of girls . but did not do it on purpose. They were pretty though. Not now Manan, not now.

When I showed up on the door of that changing room, the people were looking at me as though they had seen a ghost. And then they were up shouting. 8:07pm. I threw the guitar towards Chirayu, who held it perfectly (surprise!) and ripped open my sack to get my drum sticks. And went directly on stage. To face a booing, jeering crowd.

I smiled. Times had not changed. Kalyani. Same crowd. Same setting. Only today I was in no mood to give up. I was hungry. I was wet. I was angry. I was desperate. For something. No not this time. This time we will break you up. A couple of paper balls hit Aldon. Some more hit Shrikant. But we were busy. Tuning guitars and adjusting the toms and the cymbals. And then Chirayu looked at me. It all stopped.

“manya, are you ready?”

Diet. I was. And I nodded.

Then those first notes, those legendary notes for the intro to Nothing else matters. Shrikants finger moved the guitar volume over the useless crowd. And the crowd shut the eff up. Yeah yeah baby, that’s it. And crash! It started. The storm was rising. Shankar screamed.......“..........And I know…………………”. I was drumming with my eyes closed till then. Till then. And when Chirayu raged into the final solo, it had come to fruition. The storm was rising. No quelling. No stopping now.


And when I stopped hitting whatever I was hitting, there was a thunderous applause. Kids clapping, bowing down. I felt like Lars Ulrich. Proud. Angry. Happy. Energetic. But now was not the time to rejoice. I had to be Guy Patterson now. And then all of sudden, one look at Shankar and one wink later, I blasted off. Elysium. Fast and heavy . groovy. As soon as people heard the first words of that song, their feet started moving, tapping. Hell , I wanted to dance. “You…….doing that thing you do……… breaking my heart into a million pieces……………..”

Hell broke loose after that song. People just wouldn’t have enough of clapping. There was this heavenly glow on everyones face. Even though we were wet, miserable and tired. And then Rahul took the microphone and announced in his simple mammas boy, slightly marathi accented voice, “ the next song is Khamaj.....by Fuzon”

And there was utter silence. Diet.

People were biting their nails. How can this dude pull off such a difficult song? How?

And sure enough when it came time for Rahul to weave his magic, he messed up cause of too much feedback from the amplifiers. But he was quick to check it and back on. And we dished out a silent killer of a track! No doubts! People were on their feet even before we finished playing. And they were flooding back to the dressing rooms to congratulate us .

“you going to win man. Amazing!”

“God dam it guys! awesome”

“Dude.bhaari. wed khech la tumhi!”

I could not believe I was hearing anything like this. Sort of used to the ridicule or at the most the formal claps after a mediocre performance. Not that night. We had set the stage on fire. Completely.

And when the prizes were announced, we stood third, cause we lacked stage act. Period. Diet. But the silver lining was that Chirayu was crowned the best axe slinger and rahul was the new vocal legend. We could hardly contain it.

We had done it. Time to go out and celebrate. Wet times, Good times! Oops me hungry man! All of us were.

Oh yeah, we did have chaos again that night, when Ketan forgot where he had parked his bike and we ran another bike dry trying to find his. But all that was quelled at 1:30 in the night when Vinay s name beeped on my cell phone. “Bike sapadli!” . Diet. That was it. Perfect end to it all. And I drifted off to never never land. With a smile.