Sheer Melody

A mole's eye-view of the Cosmos

The year 2006 in cinema

The year’s almost over, it’s almost November, and I don’t see too many good movies coming up. So it’s time to introspect on the year gone by and the movies I saw this year…

The year started well, with a rather well-made movie Walk the Line, based on the life and love of Johnny Cash. The wordless opening visuals of Fulsom Prison are sufficiently attention-grabbing to make anyone sit up and take notice. With well-framed shots, which capture the musical genre as well as the times with acute precisions, this movie succeeds on three counts – fantastic music which could well make you a fan of country music, a well-orchestrated chemistry between the lead actors and most importantly, a terrific and sensitive portrayal of a long suffering, mentally tormented character by Joaquin Phoenix.

Another award-winner at the Oscars, Munich is brutal; akin to Schindler’s List, the very anti-thesis of the E.T. and Jurassic Park Spielberg. I can’t make myself like the movie; I can’t make myself hate it either. There is an element of pessimism which starts as a spark in the beginning of the movie and becomes a raging flame by the time the movie ends. In a nutshell, the film turns out to be dark and depressing. Not easy viewing, not by a mile. The authenticity is laudable, and so are the performances. I have heard that the amount of violence in the movie is laughable when compared to the book on which it is based (Vengeance) [which is in-fact responsible for a few critics not accepting the movie with open arms], I am yet to confirm this. In spite of all my grievances, I do confess I enjoyed the movie; it was dark, depressing and deeply moving.

Ice Age 2, the sequel to Ice Age from Pixar, was eagerly awaited, as is the case with any Pixar film. To be fair to the movie, it is reasonably funny (when I say funny, I mean kid-funny) and I am sure it was and still is a great hit with the kids, but it fails to live up to the expectations raised by Ice Age. The humor is really cheesy at times, with its set of farty jokes and impossible situations. Adult viewers would be disappointed.

Scary Movie 4: I know, I know: the four sounds scary. Normally sequels are tough nuts to crack, unless they are Godfather sequels, which of course, change the whole story. Scary Movie 4 is just about OK. The main targets of the mindless parody are Spielberg’s The war of the worlds, Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, James Want’s Saw, and Manoj Night Shyamalan’s The Village. Full of humor of the grossest kind, mindless senseless sexual innuendo, and violence, this movie was just about worth the rental.

The Sentinel. Yet another terrible movie. Based on some author’s book by the same name, this movie is mostly a wild goose chase around the White House, as seen through the concerned eyes of a White House Secret Service Agent (played by Michael Douglas). I should have realized more when Clark Johnsons’ name flashes through the opening credits (remember the disastrous S.W.A.T?). With Douglas’ protecting the first lady and having an affair with her at the same time, the plot really fails to evoke even the least bit of interest in the audience. With little background on the president other than the fact that he is a cuckold, the film leaves you with a lingering headache as the ending credits roll in.

The Da Vinci Code. Well, well, well! What does one say about one of the most awaited movies of the year? Well, the movie failed… Miserably. If you have read the book, the movie feels like a lame actors plodding around a failed storyline, and if you haven’t read the book, you might as well take a nap. The acting is woody, and Tom Hanks at best looks unconcerned and totally out of sorts. Paul Bettany who plays Silas, the albino monk with belief in self-flagellation, irregular Latin verbs, and homicide overdoes everything in his part. Audrey Tautou in the part of Sophie is lackluster and like Hanks, seems to be going through the motions. If you are drunk, you might give this movie an eight on ten.

Superman Returns, was, for many super-hero fans and admirers the most awaited movie of the year. The movie tries its best to be big, entertaining and sentimental at the same time, and that’s probably where it fails. The director fails in bringing the larger-than-life sequences to life, and even the newsroom of the Daily Planet looks drab, dull and totally devoid of the life which was so much a part of it in the earlier movies. Brandon Routh fails to live Superman the way he should have, and though there are some similarities to Christopher Reeve, and the romance between him and Lois Lane (played by Kate Bolsworth) fails to look like the fairytale romance that it’s supposed to be. Laced with arbitrary small-talk, their romance looks hackneyed and horribly clichéd in its representation. Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, tries a little to breathe some life and some dread into his character, but fails to impress in a movie which is so drab as to make you want to leave the theater. All in all, super-hero fanatics would still love the movie, they would still buy a DVD and stock it for posterity, but in the tall stack of superhero flicks, this surely stays at the bottom.

Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead man’s chest, was yet another fiercely awaited movie this year. Depp’s performance in the prequel was reason enough for the wait. However, sequels, as previously said in the post, need to be bigger and better to succeed. Somehow, scriptwriters tend to take this a bit too far… Don’t get me wrong, Dead Man’s Chest, starts with a bang and contains everything in decent proportions, but the moment you see Davy Jones, with the hammer-shaped-head and piano-playing-tentacles, you cringe back: YES, it IS yucky. Depp is good in parts, but expecting the audience to laugh (aloud) at every single antic, is asking way too much. The action sequences are however, top-notch; and the fight-scene on a waterwheel rolling through lush green tropical scenery is rather cool. But that’s just about it.

A rather interesting horror movie, or should I say, exercise in claustrophobia, was The Descent. This story of six women, whose cave-diving expedition goes terribly wrong, is in the league of the old-style horror movies concentrating on primal fear and madness. Neil Marshall does a good job of using penetration motifs all throughout the movie in the form of stalactites and stalagmites, and the usage of darkness as a terrifyingly oppressive element of suspense and dread. Yes, I liked the movie because it was fresh, and devoid the archetypal horror flick cliché.

The end of the world

A lonely traveler sat down in the park
On a bench, a rustic bench,
He felt tired, he wanted a drink,
He saw a tap, it seemed far away
“Was it far away?” he thought
Or was it just a figment
Of a worthless imagination
Torn by strife, mangled beyond repair...

Men passed him by, he looked at none,
He felt hungry, but his mind felt numb…
Is it me, he thought, closing his eyes
Or is it the world?

The world was closing in,
Times were changing, but he…
Like a wandering minstrel
Of times gone by, did not move

Night fell; it was a moonless night,
Vampires abound, he thought
With mirthless glee
Put me out of my misery, he prayed
Hoping he would be heard
Just this one time.

A little magic would do, he felt
A little prick on his finger
Or maybe a whiff of sweet perfume
The lines on his face
Shimmering with strain,
A life spent…

Degraded and deprived
He wanted to tell the others
About his vision, his dream;
His meeting with God, the almighty,
He knew they would ne’er believe
He wanted strength, to cope
To live without fear…

A little girl sat by him,
She was a pauper, a tramp
With little clothes on her battered body
The man looked at her,
Smiled and put an arm on her shoulder
“Would you like my coat honey?”
“Would it help?”
The girl leant on him,
The man felt her frail body, ready to break…
I know her, he thought,
He just couldn’t remember

His eyes were burning,
Grief overwhelmed him
He took the girl into his arms
He suddenly could remember
The eyes, the nose, the innocence…
Of her face, the frailness of her body
He caressed her to sleep

The sky was red, the stars had gone
He didn’t know where to go
I’m losing my mind, he felt
What good is a mind?
In a world at its end?
He gripped his child, his only child
“Here it comes”, he thought,
Crying for relief,
As the world collapsed
Collapsed and folded all around him
Beyond repair,
Beyond any possible repair…

Salil Chowdhury - a composer par excellence

Born on the 19th of November, 1922, Salil Chowdhury was one of India's most underrated yet brilliant composers. A musician par excellence, he was also a poet - a poet pained by social segregation and unsolved political issues. An archetypal non-conformist, he did try to bring about a change in the lyrical style in typical film and non-film music, in the face of strong opposition from the conformists. A master multi-instrumentalist, he was exceptionally good at the flute, piano and the esraaj. In fact it was his musical education - a conglomeration of several genres: Bengali folk, Western Classical and Indian Classical, which resulted in him having a thorough knowledge of arrangement, which by far, is the toughest part of music-composition.

A childhood spent in Assam, where his father was a doctor, exposed the young Salil to a surfeit of folk music - the music of the hills. This exposure shaped his musical thinking as a young boy. However, it was when he graduated from college and lived through the drudgery of the Bengali famine of 40s, that he became acutely aware of his social responsibilities. He joined the IPTA and became a member of the Communist party of India. This was the time when music was required to be sensitive and responsible at the same time; and was the time when he created some of his best, musically-richest, albeit rawest compositions. These songs were typically titled (in Bengali) - Mass songs of consciousness and awakening, and dealt with the rampant weakening of social structure and mass corruption all around. What was interesting in these songs was a change in the general style of musical composition. Up till this point in time, Bengali songs, just like songs in any other Indian language were pretty much accompanied by the obligatory three violins, sometimes a piano, always a harmonium and the mandatory tabla. The percussive effect of the tabla was slowly modified by introducing a strings section, a woodwind section and a bass section in percussive mode, something untried in Indian music up till then. The new music smelt different, it had a different fragrance to it, and people lapped it up. These mass songs became a part of popular thinking in Bengal. Sometime in the 1990s, Salil-da teamed up with Yogesh, and transliterated quite a few of these songs into Hindi, and they became a popular feature in Doordarshan prime-time.

This was Salil Chowdhury's initial creative phase as a music director. Primarily non-professional, this was a time when he rarely composed for money. The second phase of his musical career was his professional phase, when he shifted to Mumbai, and laid foot in the Hindi film industry. It is imperative that one studies both the phases of his music, for then it's easy to see the transition in thoughts, the change in musical styles, and the imbibing of blues and jazz into his musical thought. His objective in Bollywood was to compose for the film Do Bigha Zameen, which was incidentally based on his own story Rickshawallah. With unforgettable numbers like "Dharti kahe pukaar ke," this movie and its music was a massive hit all over the country.

Salil-da (as he was popularly known in the musical fraternity) believed that an Indian song should have a melody which is essentially Indian in color. At the same time he also believed in colorful orchestration of the non-conformist kind. An acute understanding of Western classical music and the symphonic style gave him the freedom to create arrangements for songs in multipart voicing with three-part harmonies as early as 1945. And this is what finally came to define his unique style: A rich melody, which always sounds deceptively simple, with closely-knit orchestration. For him, the prelude and interludes of the song were as important as the song itself. The interludes are so interwoven into the composition that the transition from the musical voicing to the actual song has a fluidity which is tough to achieve in real life.

Commercial success however seemingly evaded him. The only filmfare award he received was for the film Madhumati, directed by Bimal Roy. Not that the filmfare awards were any just judge of musical talent or ability. It's a point in passing. After a few commercial successes in Hindi films, he turned his attention to regional music, and composed music for his first Malayalam film, Chemmeen in 1970. This film went on to win the National Award, and made him a revered music director in Kerala. He went on to direct music for over twenty-five Malayalam feature films.

Salil Chowdhury gave us some immortal compositions over the years. I am tempted to list a lot of them, and why I like them, but somehow I feel that could be the topic of another post. A few songs which immediately come to mind is the jovial "Woh mere peechhe haath dhoke pada hai" from Half-Ticket, the folksy "Chhota-sa ghar hoga" from Naukri, the melodious "Dil Tadap Tadap" from Madhumati, the rollicking "Woh sone ke dilwala" from Maya, the sadly optimistic "Zindagi Kaisi hai paheli" from Anand, the Chopin-esque "Raaton ke Saaye" from Annadaata, the beautifully-picturised "Jaaneman Jaaneman" from Chhoti-si Baat, and of course the incomparable "Koi hota jisko apna" from Mere Apne. (A tid-bit: "Koi Hota Jisko Apna" is the melody which the saxophone plays in the last frames of Anand.)

These are just a few examples of his musical offering, just a few gems which give a momentary glimpse of a departed genius. It's a pity the rest of India never got a taste of literary skills. Deeply revered in Bengal as the "thinking-man's" composer, Salil-da always wrote his own songs. The lyrics were his, the melody was (almost always) his, and the orchestration was always his. He wrote the background, the prelude and the interlude and was considered a master arranger in higher musical circles. Adept in both Indian and western notation, he was universally loved and respected by the musicians who used to play for him. Most importantly, his songs, unlike those of his contemporary lyricists, were not about the moon, the stars and deeply ensconced romanticism. His songs were about the end of romance, stark reality, broken dreams and social upliftment. At the same time, he also wrote songs about optimism, an array of new hopes and dreams.

Studying and understanding Salil Chowdhury's music over the years has been a deeply fulfilling and satisfying experience. It's a pity he was so underrated in his time, but today, when I analyze his music, I realize, with a little bit of pity and a lot of wonder, that he was far, far ahead of his times. Behind every song, was a colorful imagination at work, an imagination which was not bounded by a gharana or a raga, an imagination which was never conformist, and most importantly, an imagination which was innately honest and caring.

Back in Bangalore

I am back from Kolkata. Kolkata was hot, humid, and sultry; everything that Bangalore isn’t. Thanks to the massive changes in climate, I have caught a bad cold… I would have loved to blame the cold on the AC coach which I traveled by, but the fact remains that my tendency to drown myself in cold water after a hot day is plainly responsible for it.

Kolkata doesn’t seem to have changed much, other than more malls coming up and people talking in Yankee-ish slang a little more. There are some swanky offices coming up in the New Town area of the city, one of them is expectedly named Technopolis. The IBM building next to our complex looks quite cool and laid-back.

I always loved train-journeys. But I doubt if I shall ever travel to Kolkata by train again; for one – the journey is tiring; and staying cooped up in one coach for more than a day can be a big drag on your patience. Something which I never had plenty of. No more train journeys for me. I have just had enough of it.

More later, have just reached office; got a little of one-hundred-and-fifty mails to check. Bah!!!


I have been mostly commuting on my bike for the last few months. In all the preparations leading up to my shows, I realized that I had missed out on one of the simpler pleasures in life. Isn’t it absolutely wonderful to just sit back in an auto and watch the world trundle its way to work, and all the while all you can think about is going home, finally. The auto happens to be one of the simpler pleasures in life, a pleasure which I got overplenty of in Mumbai, but have been bereft of here in Bangalore.

Auto-drivers are a varied lot, and it’s interesting to observe the change in demeanor, attitude and the general business sense in different parts of the country.

Let’s start with Mumbai. The Mumbai auto-drivers are a professional lot. They have fixed rates and they rarely stop running. Every auto-driver (other than the ones which wanted long-distance passengers at the exit gates of SEEPZ) never takes more than the prescribed fare unless it’s a rather complex and unprecedented situation. Some of the Mumbai auto-drivers are garrulous, a trait which frequently translates to the taxi-drivers too. Most of them prefer cigarettes to bidis, which was something which surprised me the first time I saw one of their lot smoking. Their taste in music is universally ubiquitous, sometimes outrageous. They are universally fans of Salmaan Khan and Nana Patekar. They know the entrances and exits of practically all the dance-bars in their area like the back of their hand, and frequently are closely associated with one bar or the other. They become overtly greedy when taking passengers to their homes from the airport, invariably demanding well over double the actual fare. However, in general, they are a helpful lot and normally never try to mislead or misguide you, which in fact, is the general trait in the whole of the city. Most of the rickshaw drivers at one point of time were Marathis, but with the gradual influx of people from the states of Bihar and UP, there is a pretty good chance you will run into one of the BIMARU gang in the auto-drivers.

Move north from Mumbai and you reach the town of Delhi. Delhi doesn’t have two many auto-rickshaws; most people usually have at least one personal four-wheeler for the family. However, autos do brisk business ferrying people over short distances, distances which are too small to actually justify bringing out the car, and too great to actually walk it. Delhi has both extreme summers and extreme winters, and the mood of the rickshaw-drivers changes with the season. Summer is a time when they charge exorbitantly because it’s hot, and in winters, the charge does not go down, the reason changes. They are universally rude, and sometimes the tone in which they refuse to take you takes a sufficiently loud and ridiculously rude angle, to actually make you wonder if you asked him for a ride or his wife. People of Delhi are much ruder than people of Mumbai, and somehow the arrogance of the common man (which mostly is completely unfounded) also shows in the attitude of the auto-drivers. Street-fights are a regular feature in Delhi and adjoining suburban areas, mostly instigated by auto-drivers and their gentry, most of the time against irate and rash bus-drivers. Delhi sometimes strikes me as a totally strange and rather unbecoming place. There are places which have struck me as strange and a little dark in the beginning (like Mumbai), but as time passed, things changed and I grew to love those cities. For Delhi, my first impressions were those of disgust and disturbed nonchalance; my views on the city unfortunately haven’t changed.
Kolkata auto-drivers are communists by nature and by deed. They love to go on strike at the drop of hat, sometimes even without someone dropping his/her hat. Every auto-driver in Kolkata is a member of some trade union or the other, which is usually affiliated to one of the major political parties in the region. Kolkata auto-drivers have shrewd business sense, and they never start their rickshaws until its well past holding capacity. Six people in an auto is the norm in most of the densely populated regions of the city. Fares are normally extremely nominal, sometimes laughable, and the people are happy. They can be extremely rude in times of bandh and moments of emotional strife, and they always drive like lunatics just out of a long-drawn stint at an asylum. They talk a lot, mostly with one of the passengers to whom he has taken a fancy. Lady travelers are usually treated with respect, and the snooty smart-ass kinds usually get the piercing sideward glance.

Bangalore auto-drivers have zero sense of business. They invariably want ONLY long-distance passengers. If they don’t get any, they sit put until they find one. They frequently wait expectantly for hours; sometimes I wonder why none of them have any sense at all. Most of the auto-drivers, though not rude, are extremely greedy, and the sense of their land being usurped by outsiders is extremely high in them. Frequently you will be refused by a rickshaw-driver just because you asked him in Hindi. The saving grace is most of the auto-drivers are able to use just a splattering of English, so it’s mercifully never very tough to get your point across. They become greedier as night falls, and the practice of one-and-a-half-times the actual fare starts at eight for some, nine for others. But you can rest assured that if you take an auto anytime later than nine, you will end up coughing up several rupees more than the actual fare. And if your destination is one of those places where not too many people go, woe betide you. As the disparity between the haves and the have-nots increases in the IT city, life becomes tougher, just a little tougher for the auto-drivers and sometimes, I find it tough to blame them for their rudeness. It is generally true and noticed that people from the northern regions of the country have a sense of inordinate pride, and instances of extremely rude behavior by a customer with an auto-driver are passé. Which sometimes makes me wonder – they are like this for a reason.

Chennai is probably the saddest place with regard to auto-drivers. They are mean, they don’t know any other language than Tamil (something which they proudly call Tamizh); and will try their level best to ensure that you are ripped off of a large amount of cash. Most of the rickshaw-drivers know much more than a splattering of English, but refuse to talk to you in any language other than Tamil. This trait is not just of the auto-drivers but mostly with a large section of the populace. The autos are often spotlessly clean, and it won’t be long before you find one with a life-size caricature of Rajnikant on the back-seat. Voluptuous south-Indian actresses, with bare midriffs showing are frequently present on the walls of the back-seat, illustrating the fact that most of them are avid film buffs. In fact there have been incidents in which the entire screen of the theatre was burnt down, just because one of the scenes in the movie starring Rajnikant did not go down too well with the audience, mostly consisting of the labor class. Shops and shopkeepers in Chennai share similar views as regards non-Tamil speaking people, and will try their best to be as rude and unhelpful as possible. It’s always better not to depend on directions given by people on the street, since most of the time, it turns out to be wrong, or just plain inaccurate. And of course, it’s always better to carry a map around, because if you are new to Chennai, and have a worthless specimen of the auto-driver-clan driving you to your destination, there’s a good chance that you will reach your place one hour late, and will get to see the same building twice on the way.

This is more or less about the major cities in the country. The other major cities I have been too have too few auto-drivers to actually help me or suggest a universal comment for them; hence I have left it for later…

I am going home tonight; so here’s a self-induced sabbatical from blogging and posting…

A puzzle

You are more complicated than a puzzle, and somehow a little more obvious than hunger. Don’t feel like working; pain fills my mind. You are a dream which clings onto me every other second. Maybe that’s why I tell you, it’s just always better to hate me…

Some song has a hundred words, but is still a waste of time. And you draw your pictures all day, colors matted and unfinished. Grief is infinitely better than happiness, which is why I tell you, it’s just always better to hate me…

Today I am wise, an effervescent lover; but you do know me, you know the real me. If you know the real me, why do you still care; I wish I could tell you again, it’s always better to hate me…

Courtesy: Mohiner Ghoraguli

Successes galore!!!

Durga Puja got over and with it the set of four shows which we “Backbenchers” were due to perform in four different pujas in the city of Bangalore, soon to be christened Bengaluru. I shall try to make this attempted factual account as interesting is possible, but in case you are not, please do not stop reading and please read till the end, since these are the first few shows ever since I left college, and it feels good to be back on the musical path.

The first show was in the Puja at Brookefields, close to the ITPL, which incidentally is full of software professionals, some of them carrying laptops. This puja started a few years back so we never really expected a packed house in this pandal. We reached around six in the evening and at that time, the hall was packed with people who were waiting to see some kids dance and some older kids make a mess of the stage with a flurry of unsynchronized movement. Some voice at the back of my mind seemed to say – Don’t count your chickens, these people don’t look very expectant at all. Needless to say, it was tough keeping those voices to myself and not affecting the team morale. Ultimately we did get on stage, but it was getting late and people were getting restless. To top it all, we had some minor issues with sound in the beginning because of which the start to the show wasn’t as impressive as we would have expected it to be. The sound systems did get rectified but I guess the people’s patience had run out and most of the IT guys could see their managers’ faces at the back of their minds. The crowds started thinning out till only a few scattered groups were left listening to our songs. It was a dampener for sure, but we did play our selected set of songs, and were well-appreciated by the select few who had braved the late hours. After the show, there was a sense of disappointment, which to some extent was quelled after a terribly prepared Chicken roll from one of the food stalls. I had no break between songs and I finally realized that the next three days with continuous shows was going to be a tiring affair indeed.

The next show was at Mahalaxmi Layout, way north in Bangalore, close to the ISCKON temple, which is a major landmark for that part of the city. I had office in the morning, and the entire afternoon along with the evening was spent in completing some long-pending assignments, and attending to mundane calls on inane, soon-to-be-worthwhile topics. I had an easy enough time finding out the place, and this place had small surprises in store for us. Although the Puja was really small, and quite unimposing, there was a good crowd, and somehow I had the feeling the fashion sense in this crowd was a little different, a little more sophisticated, a little extra desire to be more ethnic. However, it’s quite possible that this was just a perception. This show was scheduled to start at eight-thirty, but after the few shows performed by even smaller children, we realized that some people wanted to sing. We didn’t know how well they would sing, but we had to be the good band and allow them to go on stage before us. If we had known that they would sing close to twenty tuneless, soulless, and mirthless songs, we might have given more thought to our decision. Anyway, as luck would have it, most of the people got bored, some got annoyed and some stayed back out of sheer politeness, or lazyness. Obviously, the band got quite bored as well… there were no enlightening substances either… We finally did get the stage at around nine-fifteen; and it was in a flurry of activity that we proceeded to get the entire gamut of instruments replete with keyboard, guitars and the bass set up in the minimum possible time. People had started leaving; but very thankfully I saw a few young groups enter the auditorium when they saw us setting our instruments up. Even more thankfully, a set of older people came in and took the seats right next to the stage. I had a feeling that it was not too bad after all, if only all the people who were having cigarettes and cupfuls of tea outside came inside, the audience would not be that bad after all… And quite amazingly, I felt my hopes coming true. This show was a grand success, on the lines which we had not really expected. We were forced, rather goaded on to sing “Shadher Lau” twice, and after that, we played a shockingly fast version of one of our originals “Shurjo”, which the crowd lapped up. It was truly a most satisfying experience to actually watch people listen to and appreciate something that you have composed after years of toil. It was satisfying; if only we did not have to drive close to forty kilometers on the way back, it would have been the perfect end to a lousy day…

The third show was the biggest, and at Ulsoor, the puja organized by the Bengalee Association of Bangalore. It was no doubt lavish, but the rains had played a bit of a dampener before the show; the grounds got muddy, parking became a nightmare and to top it all, I got drenched and had to go back home to change into a drier pair of trousers. This show also was delayed in the grand old Bengali tradition of stretchable time, and we finally got on stage around half-past-nine. It was quite obvious that we would not be able to sing all the songs which we had planned, so we decided to do just the best of the fourteen. The crowd seemed a mix of young, old and native (which was a little worrying, since I didn’t want them to go back disappointed); but quite clearly, a lot of them appreciated music, some of them had a hard time understanding the songs, and a healthy mix of young men and few girls came to the front and danced. The sound wasn’t that great on stage, and it was only after the show that I realized that one of the monitors wasn’t even working throughout the show. It was quite disappointing from a performer’s perspective because we did not get the sound which we had wanted, and the sound guy had a tough time understanding the fact that he was a brainless nincompoop and would not be able to do justice by arranging the sound, with the net result that our sound engineer wasn’t allowed to touch the controls and ended up with a somewhat black mood…

Then came the show at Koramangala, which incidentally we were performing free of charge. It was on the occasion of Navami, which is the ninth day of the Puja. The crowd was boisterous in Koramangala and though we managed to get on stage only around ten, we realized that this was a crowd which loved its music and we were on the road to success. The makeshift auditorium was packed to capacity; there were even people standing outside craning their heads to see a bit of the action. We had initially decided on singing just ten-eleven songs and get it over with. But once we started after a rather perfunctory sound check, we realized that this was gonna be the show of our lives. The people were mesmerized, each of the band members played like a professional, it was an exemplary, mind-blowingly amazing performance. Something which neither we nor the audience had expected. People sang along, they danced, they jived along like never before… and for the first time in my life I got a chance to do an encore… and it wasn’t just one encore, it was two, then three, and finally we ended up playing till eleven thirty; and the crowd was just wanting more… it was an amazing sight, watching hundreds of heads banging, pretty girls sitting in the front row, mesmerized and happily awestruck; it was a lovely, enjoyable and educative experience. And I realized how much I had been missing the stage, the lights and the captive audience. It was homecoming for me, and I simply enjoyed every moment of it…

So that was an account of what I did this Pujas. Boring, right?! I had thought so…