Sep 30, 2008

Them Clones - unplugged - part 1

Today afternoon, as I wound up the last rites of my recordings, I remembered that one my favorite bands in India Them Clones are going to be performing on a double-header unplugged gig in town. I was all excited and after informing Vinokur that I had to leave for the gig, I left. Being the poor Mumbaikar that I am, I reached there about 2 hours earlier than the gig to avoid cover charges.

Understandably, I was alone without company without money to enjoy. I looked like a fool. There were hardly any people except those who were having their exorbitant meals. I envied them. To make me feel better, I decided to ring up Vinokur using the international calling card. We had a nice conversation despite the ambient music that was being played. I remembered what comfort meant with air-conditioning, easy music, a wonderful smell, good food and some ambience - something that Vinokur has grown used to, something that I can never get used to without feeling guilty of unaffordable luxury.

I happened to run into a friend of S./E-boil's colleague. But then, it was not that interesting and I spent a lot of time checking mail and blog entries of my blog roll. Soon I was bored again and I had talks with Professor X. and Vinokur. But by the next time, the music was a little louder and I found it difficult to listen to what they were saying. After hanging up with Vinokur for the second time in an hour, I settled into a high stool on a table in the middle to get the best sound possible. I happened to chat up with the vocalist from the band Scribe about jobs in the creative field.

Soon, the band started playing. It was simply super-fantabulastically-unreally-cool! They started with Jeremy (acoustic) which sounded even better than Pearl Jam's own 'unplugged' version excepting the lack of Vedder's vocals. My reason to go there was to listen to Alice In Chains being covered. They did cover three of their classics 'No Excuses', 'Would?' & 'Down in a Hole'. Apart from these they played 'Man who sold the World' by David Bowie/Nirvana, 'Pardon Me' by 'Incubus' etc. They were smart enough to play some of their own originals including the beaautiful Zephyretta twice!

There were inexplicable snags at the sound part of it with guitars going dead. But apart from that, the sound was amazing. The bass guitarist from the band was using a Washburn acoustic bass guitar which was sounding fabulous! Despite my hunger and craving to eat something there, I was able to enjoy the gig. At each and every moment during the set, I felt I belonged in the stage. If only the Xander, E-boi and me band had worked out.

On my way back I talked to Vinokur again on the phone. We were happy to realize that Vinokur sexual prowess was back to normalcy for the first time after the 'stroke' that he had sustained while he was in India. But all fun was spoilt after I came home when Vinokur took an unncessary 3 tylenol tablets for shoulder pain. He was being extremely careless again. Despite me asking him to not take anything other than what was required, he took something which could have been avoided. We hung up soon afterwards.

I am very pissed andy angry at him. I love him far too much to lose him to drugs. Again.

Sep 29, 2008

Random updates

  • Songs: I'm almost done with the five songs! Just a few hours of work and I'll be through! The last two songs are the electric version of 'Freezing Flames' and the re-recording of one of my old songs 'Living Your Dream'. I'm sure at least the latter is worth waiting for!
  • Studies: Obviously, they been affected by the recordings. But it's getting over and I'm glad! Now, I can read almost the entire day except for practice. That should relieve at least a few of the blog readers including my sister.
  • Ray: My (gay/bi) friend Ray was planning to get married to a woman, if you remember. I have consciously not bothered to talk to him about the matter in the last weeks. Seems no further plans have been drawn. Instead, he is kinda looking forward to meeting up with new people for a platonic sexual relationship.
  • May: She is making me proud by already getting one of her research papers published in a medical journal. I still remember that it was one of her dreams to publish as many research papers as she could. I'm so happy for her!
  • Vinokur: He is giving me the scares again by getting oversedated frequently. Twice in the last three days he's been so sedated that he reminded me of the time he was in Mumbai. After a day of heavy scolding coaxing, I have convinced him to talk to his shrink and get his sedatives tapered down.
  • Record Label: It seems that they are going down with Lehmann Brothers, Merryl Lynch etc. Their promised dates of paying us the money were for this month were the 15th and the 24th. I have lost all trust in them! No hopes on ever getting paid! :(

Sep 28, 2008

The green eyed beauty

I'm sorry I didn't do this post earlier. I was too tired and sleepy to do this yesterday itself. For some reason or the other, I woke up very early around 4.30 am. I did my chores and worked on a song a little before having a rehearsal session with Noise Market.

Soon after that, I left for the much awaited GB brunch which costume party was themed Madonna meets Munnabhai. When I came to Mumbai 3 and half years back, a GB Brunch was the first GB event that I had gone to. It was a very liberating experience then as I was ushered into the world of open gay social life. I had gone with a good friend of mine who also happens to be a red-hot-shot surgeon.

This time around, the event was boring. There were hardly 50 men attending. The various events which took place were based on the theme. The music was drab too because of the shabby speaker system. The only fun game was a contest to put the maximum number of condoms on a brinjal held as a dick. Ironically, I and my partner (for the event) won the event with 7 and a half condoms!

The food was delicious. More so because of the mere fact that I have not been eating anything decent for the past 2 months or so. I had lots of chicken & fish and biriyani. That itself made the event worthwhile for the entry charge. But the real treat was this middle aged balding man with green eyes. I was so ogling at him that I wished I could hit on him. Thankfully, one of my other doctor friends was his friend and I was introduced to him. But I couldn't talk to him much. He had to leave and so did I.

I came back home kinda disappointed that the brunch wasn't as exciting as I had thought it could be. I was so tired and sleepy that I came and sent Vinokur a message stating the obvious and that I was going to sleep. I was hoping to get back up early to catch him before his sleeptime. But that didn't happen. I slept for a cool 13 hours and woke up at around 10 in the morning!

Sep 27, 2008

I need some opinion

Hey people, I guess I am being a little too narci-song-issistic. But still I would like to know what you guys thought of the recording of 'A World Full of Lies'. I uploaded it to MySpace and Last.fm and they don't offer song widgets like SoundClick. The lyrics are given below. For those who can listen, please do and comment.
  • Listen to the song on MySpace.com
  • Listen to the song on Last.fm
A World Full of Lies

I could look at your face and
Tell how long I have hated you
And leave you feeling dazed
But that would be too easy on you

I could wipe the dust of the pane and
Show you what lies inside
But is there a point in all of this
If you are blind to what you have done

But I can't do anything
To wash out the dirt that's inside
And I can't do anything
I am burning, burning from inside

I could list all of the lies you said
And still be short of breath
But why are we wasting time
On something that was so easy for you

I could have seen through the veil
That you were wearing all through out
But is there a point in all of this
If I can't wipe this scar away

As I can't do anything
To wash out the dirt that's inside
And I can't do anything
I'm still burning, burning from inside

Burning inside, Burning inside

As I can't do anything
To wash out the dirt that's inside
And I can't do anything
I'm still burning, burning from inside

Burning inside, Burning inside
I've been busy in the last two days trying to come up with ideas for the last two songs in this recording. I am nearing completion to both of them and you can expect to hear them very soon.

Sep 26, 2008

Of whores and jobs

I have been getting the kindest and warmest comments to many of my rather depressing posts. I must make it clear that I'm grateful to all of you and your comments really help me re-orient myself in taking the best decisions. But more importantly, my sister and my brother in law, to both of who I've been rather critical in this blog, have helped me out with some money. My sister also talked me out of trying to get a job until my exam gets over in late November. So, at this point of time, I'm not job hunting. I'll pursue that after my exams.

I'm sure you people are dying to know what happened during the time that I thought about 'whoring'. I had pinged about 15 or 20 different men in Mumbai in my hunt for Sugar Daddies. In amongst them, I got very interesting responses. First of all, only about 8 or nine replied out of which, 2 have already become my friends as they were very surprised that I was selling out my body. I have met one of these guys on GB meets. There is also this amazingly handome man who gives free massage. I might take this option up in the future to enjoy a massage vice versa.

More importantly though, very funny things took place in the exchange with one of the two who were interested in being a Sugar Daddy. The profile name of the guy (I'm not outing this guy and his name sounds like sodomist23) was itself funny. He replied to my first message saying 'Yes.' We exchanged messages and he expressed his intense desire to meet him. All this happened in the span of the day and by evening he wanted to meet up with me at my place. I said that we needed to know each other before meeting. He asked me for my mobile number. I told him that I don't give phone numbers to strangers unless I get to know a person more. That made him furious and he signed off saying 'you are nt courageous... you r wasting my time... don't evr msg me again... bye'.

One of the other guys who could have been a sugar Daddy for me said that he didn't like my beard and that the moment I got it off, I can approach him again. The third guy who responded with a yes to my 'Are you a SugarDaddy' messages hasn't responded to my detailed reply. Another person turned out to be a kind soul and asked me to not sell myself out and face my situation with courage. He also offered his time to talk over a coffee or something if I felt like it.

What I infer from this experience is pretty clear. People really start judging at the time you start selling your ass. Most people don't even want to talk to you if you start asking for money. They would not be willing to listen to your story. At the same time, the people who are interested in this 'whore-call' are usually those who are superficial that they can't let it evolve gradually. They expect me to be a whore and comply to their demands like a slave.

The job hunt series didn't really go well. I have not gotten responses for the few jobs that I did apply for. I have gotten a billion more options to check out thanks to my readers here on the blog. But I have shelved that option until the next important academic landmark in my life. I'll post later on in the day of some very interesting developments on the music front.

Sep 25, 2008

Ideat Savant

It's time to look ahead. After a lot of depressing posts about how my life sucks in general, this is a welcome change for me too. This recent resurgence of song-writing and positive comments from you guys and Rob have made me rekindle the idea of forming a band featuring such material. I've always had a plan actually. After the relative success of Noise Market and Shoonyas, I feel more confident.

Another striking fact - after spending a lot of time recording my own material in past few days, I have also starting to realize how much easier it's to make music alone. Your can let your own ideas flourish and not be restricted to any other view point. Of course, this can be a bad thing as well. But in my case, at least until now, I think I'm making better stuff out than when I'm with my bands.

The name that I came up with is 'Ideat Savant'. If you are wondering what it means, I would like to clarify that it's not a spelling mistake. It's a spin off the word idiot savant, a condition of people in Asperger's Syndrome. Vinokur is borderline Asperger's and he uses this term quite frequently in the conversation. But that is already taken up by other bands.
idiot savant (noun)
An intellectually disabled person who exhibits extraordinary ability in a highly specialized area, such as mathematics or music.
I wanted something with the same concept. And I searched for words similar to 'idiot' and stumbled upon 'ideat'.
I`de´at (noun)
1.(Metaph.) The actual existence supposed to correspond with an idea; the correlate in real existence to the idea as a thought or existence.

Savant (noun)
1. A learned person; a scholar.
2. An idiot savant.
Obviosuly I want your opinion of what you think of this name.

I've just started my own MySpace and Last.fm pages and have uploaded the latest songs as well. I am planning to find some guys or gals who are interested in joining me in this band. I am hoping that this time I'll be succesful. Even if the competition that I'm sending an entry to turns out to be disappointing, I might check these songs out with a record label and pursue this further.

I hope this was some good news after all!

(A mix of my latest recording 'A World Full of Lies is at either of the pages. I'll probably mix it once more before putting it up here.)

Sep 24, 2008

Clarification

Many have commented on my latest post and have expressed their wonder and amusement at my state of affairs. Some think that I was just joking around in an attempt to raise some attention and chatter. There are some facts that I have to clear up.
  • I was NOT kidding. I was and am totally serious.
  • I have applied for part-time jobs online. I'm already on my way to starting some guitar lessons for beginners. I'm also applying for writing in some magazine or newspaper.
  • To have sex with money involved is not a new thing to me. It's not really prostitution. Sugar Daddies are people who like to treat their spouses with some class including monetary support. If I find one to date around, it'll get me some social outings and some money. It's not plain prostitution.
  • Plus, I don't think that prostitution is a shameful thing to do. I have always admired the guts of whores to face the society who look down on them. But think of it, they are earning money doing something what they are good at. Thankfully, it's sex and everyone will have pleasure out of it.
  • The fact is that I'm not having regular meals. That too, for the past 3 months. Usually I just have that 16 rupee dosa plate and something like instant noodles or rice with curd as another meal as 'linner'. I buy some cheap vanilla cake to serve as a snack. I could cook but then, I don't want to end up spending a lot on groceries. And obviously I can't eat at restaurants.
  • I got into this state because of things going wrong. I was supposed to pass my exams in May. I didn't because of many reasons. Vinokur and I were supposed to stay live together. But that also did not happen because many similar reasons. Our record label hasn't paid us since May. That's the single most important reason why things went wrong. I was banking on that.
  • I'm a proud person. I'm usually generous when it comes to lending people money and I expect that from my friends. Not that they haven't helped me. But the initiative to help me has to come from my friends. Just like how I do to them. I'm also in this state because I have lent out more than 40, 000 rupees to my friend S./E-boi. He is also stuck because of the record label thing.
  • Vinokur would have helped had he himself not been in a crazy situation with insurance and bank balances back in NYC. He has always been supportive and is looking up unimaginably complicated ways to send me some money.
I hope this will clear a lot of your doubts. Again, I'm not joking around. I have been getting generous offers from strangers, readers of the blog and some of my friends. I'm very, very thankful to all of you. But I would have to refuse to accept money from you because of the reason that we aren't close enough to do that. Thank you once again.

If this record label things clear up, then I'll be in good stead. That will also kickstart live gigs which will pay me enough to make ends meet. And I won't be needing any help. Thankfully, my sister (I don't know if she read my posts or not) has sent me some money for paying my bills and stuff. I still can't make myself eat anything more than the minimum that I need to satitate the hunger with. That's because I think I might be in a spot sooner if I don't act miserly with the help that I'm getting now.

Sep 23, 2008

Hope It's Over - mix

Yesterday night, I couldn't sleep well. Was worrying a lot about what's going to happen to me. After getting up, I logged on to MonsterIndia.com, created a profile for me there and submitted for a couple of job applications. Side by side, I've also started checking out options for getting Sugar Daddies. If I'm in a mood later on in the day, I'll probably look up jobs in music stores, radio stations, music channels etc. You can keep on giving suggestions so that I can at least have food and internet - I need to have internet to maintain contact with Vinokur.

Since I'm feeling slightly better after a couple of 'Dads' responded to my messages on a personals site, I'll bother to post in the song that I recorded yesterday. It's the second in line of at least four that I'm going to send in for the competition. It's called 'Hope It's Over'. I had posted a shabby acoustic version earlier. It's a full fledged electric version. Once again, I would put in a disclaimer - Don't worry too much about the vocal track. It needs some work. But I don't have better mics and saner mind to do it now. Lyrics are attached below. In a weird way, this song kinda sums up my present state of mind as well.

Hope It's Over

















Hope It's Over (lyrics)

When did I stop being, what I used to be
Where did I start falling, you weren't looking
What did I start chasing, it feels so long
Whom did I leave stranded, I fell so hard, I felt so low

Was it you, was it me, who knows

When did I stop listening, it was deafening
Where did I stop looking, what lies ahead
What did I start wishing, wish I'd be there now
Whom did I try faking, I tried so hard, I felt so lone

Was it you, was it me, who knows
Was it you, was it me, who knows

The hope that is left, is it too heavy to confess
The hope that is left, it's so easy to forget

Was it you, was it me, who knows
Was it you, was it me, is it over?

Is it over? Yes it is.

(PS: This was originally written after a phone conversation with my sister which I've blogged about. She is a silent reader on this blog. When we talked yesterday, she said she liked the 'words' of the Rainbow Song, but not the tune. I hope she likes the tune of this at least.)

My world is caving in

I'm in a very bad mood. Things have gone from worse to some undefined state which is worser than that. What incited me is that my credit card has become defunct now. I went out to shop for groceries and I couldn't pay for them. And I had to dish out 150 Rs. from my pocket for them. That leaves me with just about 500 Rs. for the entire month.

For those who have wondered why I should be penniless - I was a resident doctor until about a few months back. Now, I don't work at a hospital. I have clear my exams before I can work again. The money promised by the record label hasn't come in yet. I don't know if it will ever. I've been helped by friends, my sister and my parents in the past and I can't hope to ask them for more.

I face internet, mobile and other blackouts starting in a few days. The number of meals that I have in a day have to be cut from 2 to one or none. I just had breakfast today. And I don't know what to do. The only hope is to sell my body out and make some money with sex. Or else, I could opt for a job but that will deprive me of my time of studies.

I'm so pissed at myself that I am not even going to talk about the new song that I recorded today. I think my poverty is going to be a reason to spoil whatever good things that I have left in my life. For those who feel like commenting, please suggest some jobs that I could do. I'm a medical graduate and I don't have any other 'mainstream' qualification.

Sep 22, 2008

Chocolate Rain

I am kinda slow, you know. Vinokur is slow too, but just a little faster. He caught up with this raging internet phenomenon of 'Chocolate Rain' yesterday. Originally published in early 2007 as a song written and performed by 'Tay Zonday' in a YouTube video, it shot to fame in 2007 thereby earning a celecbrity status to Tay. I, someone who does similar stuff of posting my own songs on the internet, got to know about that today. It's weird! Watch it!

This song's gotten 29 million views on you tube. It's the single most popular song played on the planet!

Sep 21, 2008

The Uncanny X-man in me

I've had a rough day. And that too, despite having a good practice session with Noise Market and an amazing GB Parents meet. I don't know why I'm kinda pissed at myself and the rest of the world. The reason is quite obvious - the lack of money and the fact that I'll probably be devoid of internet and mobile phone services the next month if no money comes in.

Even in this state, the only thing that could really cheer me up is a couple of episodes in the X-men animated series in which I was pleasantly surprised by the amazing depth of the plot. And after watching Magneto doing one of the coolest things that anyone could imagine doing - dying and falling to Earth from space and getting your life back because of Earth's Magnetic Field and then fighting off 198 Nuclear missiles headed at earth - I'm feeling happy again.

I remembered that I needed to blog. And that I needed to blog about X-men. And that I needed to convince more people that I'm a mutant as I claimed yesterday. So, here's photographic evidence to prove that I'm related to Storm as well. First is a picture of me. Second, of Storm. I urge you all to find your mutation as soon as possible and come out on your blogs!

Me (Kris)
Storm

For all the people who suddenly felt the need for 'knowing' me better after reading this, don't get your hopes up too high. I don't have any of Storm's weather controlling powers and thereby, I can't avert the floods in Bihar, Nasik, Orissa etc. For those who are curious as what my mutant powers are, check my last post out!

(PS: For those dimwits who thought that the title is weird and is out of topic, please note that 'Uncanny X-men' is the flagship comic series for the X-men franchise as Wiki says here!)

(PS2: For these, now enlightened people, and to those fans of X-men who admire my amazing powers to make titles up - all of you can now bow to my superior skills to form blog titles.)

Sep 20, 2008

Rainbow Song - updated

Shit happens in real life. It happens a lot in my life. I played the Rainbow Song kinda loud yesterday night for my bandmate and friend E-boi & S. He, I must tell you, is a kinda harsh guy. He insults other people to make himself feel good. He's always been a person who despite respecting me as a friend/musician, has put me down in more ways than one rather regularly. He had stopped by my apartment on his way back from the office to listen to my song. Usually, such things go really bad. He would say nothing positive. Not even pretend for heaven's sake. I tried to dissuade him. But he insisted and I made him listen to it. Voila! He actually liked this song! He was sort dancing/rocking to the song from the time it started.

Normally such things, make people feel satisfied. But, I being weird, thought boy if this song is that good it could get even better. Feeling all bloated in the head, I stepped out to catch some fresh air and I left the song on repeat mode and left. Outside, I saw a lot weird stuff. People laying unconscious on the road, dogs running amok, rats convulsing etc. Because I'm weird, I decided to ignore and go to the shopping mall to get some groceries. On my way back, I saw the entire scene again. Feeling rather eerie, I decided to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

I realized that more weird stuff were happening as I got closer and closer to the apartment. I could hear my wailing (on the song) as I opened my apartment's door. Then, it struck me! Gosh, my song was the reason for the catastrophe. Apparently, the brazen wailing had sent shock waves through all living kind. I was scared and went and immediately paused Winamp on which the song was playing. Then, I went to the window to confirm that my hypothesis indeed was correct. Almost miraculously, all the people/dogs/some of the rats were getting back to normalcy - coming around - panting to catch breath, post-convulsive coma respectively.

Eureka! I realized that I was a mutant. Or rather, I am a mutant. I had the amazing power of knocking people over while singing. Then, I looked up Wikipedia and found that I was a distant cousin of Ruckus (who has the ability to absorb the sound waves around him and send them back with concussive force by screaming) and that's how I had got my mutancy! I hope to go to Muir Island to get myself treated/trained to control my powers. But then I don't have money. Besides, I don't like the UK anyway.

This event, S./Eboi's visit and a few messages from you guys - especially MyHeadTrip and Unsungpsalm made me realize that I needed to do the vocals again. With some brainstorming and some internet tutorials on voice recording, I set to redo the entire vocal track. Of course, I couldn't have been all that better in a day. But still, I did do better. With a help of a voice recording software, I was able to smoothen as much a possible. The side effect - I sound a bit like Cher! But hell what, it's better than knocking people out.

Hear it! And send in comments!

[Changes - I have some modifications in the song and in the mix. Acoustic guitar has been processed differently. I have added a few backing vocal parts as well.]

RAINBOW SONG



















(For those who believed in my story, I was just kiddi... hell, who am I kidding!)

Sep 19, 2008

The Rainbow Song - electric mix

As you all know, I've been getting a lot of blogging awards lately. The one's very relevant and comforting is the 'Certified Honest Award'. Both Reema and Nita gave me this award in the last few days. I have always thought that I was honest. But I think I'm creating new honesty records on this blog by posting the recorded version of 'The Rainbow song'.

I'm posting this song despite severe (I mean it!) problems in the vocal takes. It's one very hard song for me to sing. That, along with my rather amateurish singing skills could amount upto danger. So, I'm warning you all. It's probably going to sound weird.

Having said that, I love the rest of the stuff that I did for the song with the kind of amenities that I have. And I also have a belief that the tune and the song structure are catchy for you guys to enjoy. It has a lot of electric overdriven guitar and loud drums. So, beware! This, unlike my other songs, is not a tone-down acoustic version. The lyrics are given below. Hoping to hear a lot of comments!

Just a quick reminder to those who might be visiting from the GB mailing list - this is a song that I originally wrote thinking about LGBT rights. I hope you guys enjoy it.
The Rainbow Song

It was a dream to walk like this
To feel so sure, to shy no more
It was a dream to talk like this
To be so pure, to cry no more

It was a dream to love like this
To feel it more than ever before
It was a dream to fight like this
Let's dream no more, Let's fly some more

Allow me be, just another being
I'm just a shade in the rainbow
Allow me be, what I truly am
A brilliant shade in the rainbow

It was a dream to be free, in justice
To fake no more, to fear no more
It was a dream to claim what's ours
To be just like every one else

It was a dream to be so loved
To be a friend, be to everyone
It was a dream to feel like this
Let's dream no more, Let's fly some more

Allow me be, just another being
I'm just a shade in the rainbow
Allow me be, what I truly am
A brilliant shade in the rainbow

UPDATE! at 7.15 pm Saturday, 20th September!

Due to many reasons as stated here, I have done a little tweaking. Hope it's better to listen now.

[Changes - I have some modifications in the song and in the mix. Acoustic guitar has been processed differently. I have added a few backing vocal parts as well.]

RAINBOW SONG



















For those not interested in electric/heavier versions, I might record an acoustic version soon. I'll publish it when I do!

Sep 18, 2008

Re-strung!

I don't know why I don't seem to have any problems in finding the title for my posts. Today for example, I have a couple of dozen things to write on and technically, I should have found it rather difficult to think about the right title. What do I do? Take a look around, find the first thing you see and think about it. I saw my classy looking red 'n glitzy electric guitar, something that I have not played for a couple of years or so and the title came flowing to me. Of course, I changed its strings and I'm all ready for recordings some parts for the Rainbow Song.

It's curious that this title also applies to two other things which were the subjects of interest of the last post - the song's status and the thymic status. Today morning, I got up and checked my e-mails and I saw a lot of nice things. First of all, I read a lot of nice things about the lyric from my friends in GB. They liked it so much that they are requesting me to perform in front of them soon. More importantly though, I got responses from Rob, someone who really respect/admire/look upto in terms of music (despite he being a decade younger than me). He wrote that he and Jodi think that it's my best song yet. Of course, I had sent them the demo version (the one that I was unahappy about) and they loved it. I had sent it in for some suggestions from Rob. He thought that the song is perfect just the way it was.

I was very moved by all this. And I decided to work to improving with more vigour. I have done the entire vocal take once more. And it does sound much better. But I'm not stopping there. I'm getting in electric guitars and programmed drums in there. I've already all set for recording electric guitar parts. By tomorrow, I will have the software for making drum beats from S. I'm really excited about the entire thing. And I really hope to make you guys enjoy listening to this.

The turn-around with the song did help me with my thymic status as well. What really did make me feel good is a phone conversation with Mom. It had been a few days since we spoke and I hadn't returned a couple of missed calls yesterday because of my rather depressed state. I'm ruing that now after I heard what she said. Apparently, in the last couple of days or so, a few of my relatives had rang them up to tell them about what they thought of Noise Market. One of my cousins had spread the word and a few of them have listened to our MySpace tracks.

One of them, an elder cousin of my father, is professional singer. He used to recite Carnatic concerts which can still be heard on the AIR. He was totally overjoyed to know that I had taken up music seriously. He and his family are the only people left in my family who still pursue music and they were apparently impressed by what they heard. He asked my parents to support me in whichever way they can. He said that I will do them proud one day with my music. Now, that comment, coming from a professional musician in my family, the same people who I never really bothered to connect with, is special. I'm truly happy!

Finally, my family is proud of me being a musician! Despite all the 'distance' between myself and them, they have always been proud of my academics and the doctor thing. But they were never really bothered about what really mattered to me. I hope this is a step forward in slowly welcoming me, the true self, back.

(PS: Noise Market met up without the workbound S. and worked on a new tune. It is shaping up nicely. And yeah, we might have a gig later on ths month at Khalsa college. I'll confirm that soon.)

Sep 17, 2008

Frustrating times

I think I'm starting to be rather greedy of this inspiration drive. I tried to record 'Rainbow Song' today. All's gone well except for the fact that I sang horribly. That's a new low considering that I always kinda suck at singing. To realize that I'm this bad even after a lot of years of efforts is rather scary.

All that's really fine if the other good things in life were a little kinder. I wish I could go out and hang out with some friends or watch a movie or something. But then, you have to have some money I suppose that you can use here, which is what I lack. And just when you think that you can have one of those romantic conversations with Vinokur - the internet connection fucks up.

I have taken a shower. I feel much better. I wish I had a studio to record my ideas for the Rainbow Song. Aha, how cool will it sound with actual drums! But that will have to wait until the next life time. Talking about frustration, I stumbled on an old lyric of mine written about some friend of mine. This was when I was totally frustrated! It's called 'A World Full of Lies' and I already have a totally grunge tune for it.
A world full of lies

I could look at your face and
Tell how long I have hated you
And leave you feeling dazed
But that would be too easy on you

I could wipe the dust of the pane and
Show you what lies inside
But is there a point in all of this
If you are blind to what you have done

But I can't do anything
To wash out the dirt that's inside
And I can't do anything
I am burning, burning from inside

I could list all of the lies you said
And still be short of breath
But why are we wasting time
On something that was so easy for you

I could have seen through the veil
That you were wearing all through out
But is there a point in all of this
If I can't wipe this scar away

As I can't do anything
To wash out the dirt that's inside
And I can't do anything
I'm still burning, burning from inside

Buring inside, Burning inside
(PS: Freezing Flames is #7 on one of the charts at SoundClick. That's out of about 10,000 songs!)

As the earth shook

Seriously, I didn't think that I had ESPs until tonite. Just seconds before the earthquake hit Mumbai, I had a headache and I was awakened from sleep. I woke up and made sure that I was not dreaming. The bed was shaking and I got up from the bed and it shook for another second or so. Since, then I have not been able to sleep. And I still have the headache.

The good point though is that I have managed to write something else inspired by X-men and LGBT rights. And just to remember that the earthquake did it. So some natural calamities need to be acknowledged. And who knows, I might be a mutant who can judge earthquakes seconds before they hit! ;) Here's the lyric - it's called the Rainbow Song.
Rainbow Song

It was a dream to walk like this
To feel so sure, to shy no more
It was a dream to talk like this
To be so pure, to cry no more

It was a dream to love like this
To feel it more than ever before
It was a dream to fight like this
Let's dream no more, Let's fly some more

Allow me be, just another being
I'm just a shade in the rainbow
Allow me be, what I truly am
A brilliant shade in the rainbow

It was a dream to be free, in justice
To fake no more, to fear no more
It was a dream to claim what's ours
To be just like every one else

It was a dream to be so loved
To be a friend, be to everyone
It was a dream to feel like this
Let's dream no more, Let's fly some more

Allow me be, just another being
I'm just a shade in the rainbow
Allow me be, what I truly am
A brilliant shade in the rainbow

Sep 16, 2008

Freezing Flames - the song

Creativity thrives on adversity. Take it from me. This is true. I had an extremely bad day with shades of depression due to same old reasons. I tried doing many different things to make me feel better. But none helped. Those who tried to help me didn't. In fact, I was actually pissed with Vinokur for some reason and decided to hang up at around 11 in the night. And I decided to record 'Freezing Flames'. All the frustration gave way into it!

It took about 3 hours to track and another 2 hours to mix and put effects and stuff. I can't beleive that this entire thing was recorded on a 140 Rs. desktop microphone for voice chatting! The result I think sounds quite incredible. Of course, don't mind my untrained vocals too much. And the mixing is amateurish as I did everything on some regular headphones (not studio quality ones). Try looking at the bigger picture; to see if I managed to give justification to the lyric. I had just guitars, and vocals to do this track. With keys/strings/percussion - I don't know how it will sound.

And please comment. I'm planning to record three more songs and send it to a contest to try and see if I get really lucky! Lyrics are given below.

















Freezing Flames (the lyrics from the earlier version had to be edited a little.)

I look into her eyes, I see
The blaze that was bequeathed
The power that emanates
It's hard to even breathe

I reach forward, it feels so near
Is she the same, the one I love?
I believe I can belie my fear
In a moment of fury, she rises

She rises tall over all else
The savior of all that exists
Inside me, I feel so decrepit
Yet I feel so much at ease as

The darkness rages on engulfing even the brightest of stars
The flames of deceit, freeze even the warmest of hearts

The beauty which lies within
Oh it is so transcendent
The fire that rages on within
The beauty which lies within
Enlightens even the most decadent
The fire that rages on within

Deep inside, I wonder
Could it have been any different, or
Is it me, as I floundered,
I'm blinded by the smoke

Are you holding back, father?
the lead was too thin
I'm sure, couldn't have reached
Don't know even why and when

She rises tall over all else
The savior of all that exists
Allow me, I feel so decrepit
I feel I can help you to peace as

The darkness rages on engulfing even the brightest of stars
The flames of deceit, freeze even the warmest of hearts

The beauty which lies within
Oh it is so transcendent
The fire that rages on within
The beauty which lies within
Enlightens even the most decadent
The fire that rages on within
For those who missed out on a chance to guess what the song is about - an anonymous entity who I would like to refer to as 'Wolvie' did guess it right. Here's what he had to say.
Wolvie: Re your poem, it appears to me that you are describing (and was inspired by) the character "Phoenix" and in some way you see certain of your own actions/thoughts as resembling what she embodies - a being of tremendous power and potential, yet confused... but well-meaning. I might've gone out on a a limb in my interpretion, but bear in mind that I don't know you personally and you are an X-Men fan. :)
It is totally true. The poem is based on the X-men. The poem is from the POV of Cyclops (Scott Summer) when he goes through the phases of seeing Jean Grey become Phoenix. This happens on a mission to avert some catastrophe to the galaxy. Professor X - or Charles Xavier (The Father in the poem) - can't tell the X-men why they should do this and Cyclops thinks that he his holding something back. You can read about Jean Grey and Phoenix here.

Sep 15, 2008

Liberty and Justice

I saw this image at Café Philos: an internet café blog. He got it from his friend at the Decrepit Old Fool. And as always, like aritsts all over the world, I was asking myself 'Why didn't I think of this?'. The answer is not clear. But I'm glad someone else did.


Don't you think that LGBTians can use this on their T-shirts and banners and stuff?

Sep 14, 2008

The darker side of me

This is shocking. I didn't expect such a response from you guys. I knew that the poem was a little too much to comprehend. But still, I expected a few guesses at least. Just one out of my 15.34 readers per week have tried to guess. What about the 14 others? I'll give you another day to get back to me about this. If I don't see any responses until then, I think I should stop writing poetry altogether.

Talking about the poem, I managed to compose a melody for it. It was one extremely difficult task to write something for it because I find the lines too hard to fit into one melodic scheme. The final result is as weird as the poem itself. The recording went okay as urges to kill myself after hearing myself sing the verses were quickly driven under. Okay, okay. I sing bad. I know. But I still try. Why must all the Olympians, and just them, get away with glory for trying?

Talking about trying, I tried to be a serious academician writer and wrote my first ever post for Mutiny.in. When I re-read it back after a series of edits by my editor (Professor X), I myself was surprised at the result. It looked so serious and unlike my regular rants that I now know for sure there is an evil spirit in my body. You can check out the post here and give your comments there or here.

Talking about comments, Vinokur was shocked to read the article. He says that the Kris that he knows has vanished and was replaced by another one of those zillion academicians out there. But it was heartening to know that he still loved me despite hearing me sing this new song. There is still a lot of hope left in this world after all!

Sep 13, 2008

Sources of inspiration

If you thought that I'm going to write a long philosophical post about the various sources that you can get inspired by, I'm sorry. I'm very frustrated to write such a piece. This, despite being inspired by a very curious source which would not be revealed until after you guys have tried guessing it.

To demystify - After getting motivated by the HRC gig and the disussion about 'cover' songs versus original songs, I had a sudden rush of blood to the head yesterday evening. I wanted to write a song for 'Shoonyas'. Something rather dark, which would fit into being a metal/rock song. I wrote a poem in about an hour. The title of the song is from one of our fellow blogger's blog. She was also part of my inspirations but she is not the subject of the poem.

I want you guys to go through the poem and comment about what you thought of it and what you think is my inspiration. If you want clues, you can check out my recent marvelous posts and I'm sure there are hints scattered everywhere. The three people who I have already cross-checked the poem with were practically clueless until I explained it to them.

Okay, okay! But why should I be frustrated? Because I have not been able to write a melody for it yet. I have many ideas, but none seem to fit in with the mood. I'm still trying and I'm hoping to make a breakthrough fairly soon. Until then, you guys can try your luck!
'Freezing Flames'

As I look into her eyes, I see
The blaze that was bequeathed
The power that emanates, I feel
It is hard to even breathe

I reach forward, it feels so near
Is she the same, the one I loved?
I believe I can belie my fear
But In a moment of fury, she rises

She rises tall over all else
The savior of all that exists
Inside me, I feel so decrepit
Yet I feel so much at ease as

The darkness rages on engulfing even the brightest of stars
The flames of deceit, freeze even the warmest of hearts (but)

The beauty which lies within
Oh it is so transcendent
The fire that rages on within
Enlightens even the most decadent

I dig deep inside, and I ponder
Could it have been any different, or
Is it me? I think, as I floundered (staggered)
I can hardly see through the smoke

Are you holding back, father?
I remember, the lead was too thin
I'm sure, couldn't have reached any farther
I can't, even I don't know why and when

She rises tall over all else
The savior of all that exists
Allow me, I feel so decrepit
I feel I can help you to peace as

The darkness rages on engulfing even the brightest of stars
The flames of deceit, freeze even the warmest of hearts (but)

The beauty which lies within
Oh it is so transcendent
The fire that rages on within
Enlightens even the most decadent

The double tag post

Chandni was kind enough to pass on this ‘Blogging Friends forever’ award last week. And my responsibility is to pass it on to a few bloggers who have grown to become friends of me. I don’t have actual contact (telephone, real-life) contact with none but one of these bloggers. But I still think that they influence my life in a very important way, shaping my thinking. Hence, they are influential and they are my friends.

  • Swats: She’s the closest to me in terms of geography and her very candid, rather diabolic takes on the social issues are always an interesting read. She’s by far the furthest from me in terms of views and hence provides the alternative view points that I look forward to.
  • Chandni: Her posts have been endearing to me always. And she also claims to scream the loudest when one of my bands performs in Delhi. Hence, she has automatically qualified.
  • Ramby: This guy simply continues to rule the blogging world with his funny posts. His posts ties with GreatBong’s posts in terms of my excitement to read and to laugh hysterically. But underneath that humor and sarcasm lies a kind, lovable soul I’m sure. And that’s why he becomes my blogging friend forever!
  • Flygye12: He’s caustic and he hates me for some of the things that I do and decide to do. He’s almost like my unwanted parent. But still, he does provide me with an advisory.
  • Firebolt: Somewhere, because of her musical interests and her passion to become a musician, I find solace as an understanding soul. She’s also spunky and cool, somebody that I look forward to being friends with.

Of course I could go on an on. But that’s pointless. Besides, I have a tagging act to perform. Here it is.

The Dark Knight has tagged me in this post. I’m not an expert in this and I’ll try to be as cool as I can.
  • RULE #1 People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blogs and replace any question that they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.
  • RULE #2 Tag 5 people to do this quiz and those who cannot refuse. These people must state who they were tagged by and cannot tag the person whom they were tagged by continue this game by sending it to other people.
  1. If your lover betrayed you, what will your reaction be?
    Easy – I’ll be angry, depressed and hurt. But, I realize that everyone can commit mistakes and I believe in forgiving. I would rise to the occasion and talk to my lover and welcome him back into my life.
  2. If you can have a dream to come true, what would it be?
    Many facets in this – to be successful in life - as a person, a lover, a spouse, a parent, a musician, a doctor, a friend and so on.
  3. Whose butt would you like to kick?
    Generically, all assholes! But more specifically people like the Thackerays!
  4. What would you do with a billion dollars?
    I would chase all of my dreams!
  5. Will you u fall in love with your best friend?
    Yes. You lover could become your best friend as well.
  6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?
    They are equal. But the real pleasure is to have both together, each competing against each other.
  7. How long do you intend to wait for someone you really love?
    Forever!
  8. If the person you secretly like is already attached, what would you do?
    I would be confident enough to indicate my desire and would take it from there.
  9. If you like to act with someone, who will it be? your gf/bf or an actress/actor?
    Vinokur and me in a biography of our lives!
  10. What takes you down the fastest?
    Low self-esteem
  11. How would you see yourself in ten years time?
    Happily with Vinokur with a couple of kids!
  12. What’s your fear?
    Losing my love!
  13. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
    Someone who has a taste of off-beat things.
  14. Would you rather be single and rich or married but poor?
    I’d just say – in a beautiful relationship and be poor.
  15. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
    Wonder why I slept so long.
  16. Would you give all in a relationship?
    Yes.
  17. If you fall in love with two people simultaneously, who would you pick?
    The person who is cuter!
  18. Would you forgive and forget no matter how horrible a thing the someone has done?
    Yes, I guess.
  19. Do you prefer being single or having a relationship?
    The latter.
  20. List 6 people to tag
    Unsungpsalm, Prash, I (heart) Mumbai and Boston, Blogging Knight, Random Ruminations, MirrorCracked.

Sep 12, 2008

Queerly queer research

Due to some obscure reason, I’ve been getting a lot more blog-traffic than previously. The traffic on my blog has leapfrogged from a nonexistent 0.17 readers per week to a giant 15.32 readers per week in the last month. And for mostly inexplicable reasons I have been getting tagged and receiving awards from the weirdest of sources. Sometimes I feel this is all not true and during one such instance, in the past week, I did a google search on ‘Engayging Life’.

In the results, I found a few links to a few fellow bloggers who have blogrolled me and a couple of the blogging sites that gave me awards and stuff. But the most staggering result of them all was this entry. Right at the middle of this screenshot titled ‘Queer Blogging in Indian Digital Diasporas’. If you notice further, that this link leads to a scientific research publication by a couple of researchers - Queer Blogging in Indian Digital Diasporas: A Dialogic Encounter by Mitra and Gajjala Journal of Communication Inquiry.2008; 0: 0196859908321003v1. Crazy stuff!


Since curiosity has imposed itself on me several times causing upswings in my feline mortality, and because I couldn’t access the publication as it was not available for free download, I decided to write to these authors asking if I could get a copy of it. I was surprised to see a prompt reply by one of them expressing their happiness to provide me with the publication.

It was a internet research paper about how the internet has influenced the Indian gay community. I went through it and found this rather ‘cute’ entry about my blog right up at the first part of the publication. Apparently the Talking Closets blog mentioned my blog in this entry back in 2005. This is what is said in that entry.
This one is actually going to be about gay blogging, and not just me spewing out crap about my erratic and erotic escapades (though some would say, that's what I do best.). Indian gay blogging, to be precise. I've always wanted to find out some guys in India who blog about their homosexuality, whether openly or from within a closet, and I found a couple of them, the other day.

My favourite is Kris', to which I've added a link on the right hand side. Kris is a gay doctor somewhere in Bombay, who saves lives by day and dreams of men by night. Wow - a hot Baywatch hunk gone gay? hehehe.. I wish! (which doesn't mean that he's not, of course.....!) The reason I like Kris' posts? They're amazingly easy: they're about a life, and the fact that he's gay is not the be-all and end-all. There's no sermonizing about gay people - and that's great. In the last few days, I've come across a couple of gay blogs which are full of activism - and it simply leaves me cold.
Isn’t this crazy? And you don’t even know where your rants can reach – even to universities in the US who apparently study our blogs! It turns out that the person who writes this blog is Mr. Rahul Mitra, a co-writer of this article. He also maintains this other blog Living High.

I did a little search on his blogs about me and my blog. All I could find was this surprising invitation to one mumbai gay blogger party back in 2005. He invited me and Vikster for this party. I don't remember receiving any invites back then. And hence, I didn't respond. I guess that pissed him off as you can't find my blog on the 'right hand side' in his blogs!

Since reading this, I have exchanged a few e-mails with Dr. Gajjala and Mr. Mitra. They are very interested in knowing more about me and other gay bloggers. They have indicated that they would wish to start communicating with all who are interested. For those interested, send me an e-mail (you can find it on the blog somewhere).

(PS: If you thought that this post was very self-indulgent and narcissistic, I am sure it is. But it was fun!)

Hard Rock: been there, done that

It's 2.30 in the night and I'm sitting here catching up with Vinokur. As I browse through the very few pictures that one of our friends clicked with my camera, I felt like I found one that I could share with you guys. With Vinokur encouraging me to blog about my experience at the gig, here I am.

So, as I had indicated earlier, I was just feeling a little 'underpracticed' as a band. On my part, I had not brushed up my vocals and was struggling to remember the words of a couple of songs. So I was a little wary of what's about to happen. I reached the venue much earlier than my bandmates because I took the train instead of cabs and cars. It was empty. I could count just 7 customers in there. The band who were playing along with us were doing their sound-check.

I listened to the band going about their process and it struck me quite surprising how unprofessional they sounded. The drummer was not really 'tight' and the guitar tones were a lot amateurish. But they sort of fitted in together when the band started sound-checking and as a surprise they played one of modern rock's big hits.

By then Tim, Rob and S. had joined me. Soon we were doing our soundcheck and I was very happy with the sound that we were getting on stage. The sound guy was a somebody that we already had worked with for Noise Market. As he did that time, he gave us very good sound. During our soundcheck, I realized that I and Tim were singing different lines for one of the crowd-favorites. Apart from that, everything was in place.

Later on in the night, as the crowd started filling in, the other band took to stage and gave a good sounding first hour of songs. We were lounging with a few celebrities and media people (from VH1 and MTV). The only thing which is worth mentioning about here is that there were 4 supermodels (women) who were hounded by the cameras and the channels.

I don't have a problem with these beautiful women coming dressed pretty and flaunting themselves. What annoyed me is that they seemed to have no 'purpose' but to just give interviews and act cool. Basically they seemed rather 'brainless' to me. I wanted to just talk to one of them and find out really if they loved doing what they were doing. But I couldn't because we had to hit the stage.

And when we did hit the stage, we had our problems in getting chairs. If you are wondering why a rock band would need chairs, I would like to remind you that we are an acoustic rock band and we play sitting down with acoustic guitars. The famous DJ Mihir Joshi was anchoring the Metallica album launch and we weren't ready to perform until he had played 5 of the songs from the album.

We started playing to a very shoddy mix on our stage monitors (monitors are speakers kept on the stage - the band performing listen to themselves play through these) which means that we could make errors while playing. We did make a few, but then it sort of went unnoticed as the crowd was totally behind us - singing along, cheering us. It really felt good to see a few of my gay friends (from GB) and Dr. R. and her boyfriend and a friend of his in the audience.



Suddenly I realized that I was living my dream - playing in Hard Rock Cafe to a full audience who were cheering me and the band. It was an experience, believe me! We just got to play seven songs (about 30 minutes) and we were almost interrupted in the middle of the last song by the anchor. All the negativities like minor goof ups, a bad stage monitor mix and stuff etc were simply overshadowed by the bigger picture.

As we got back to the lounge area, we saw smiling faces and heard a lot of 'It was a great gig!' and stuff. Despite this, I was feeling just okay because I knew we could perform much better. But then, there is always a room for improvement. Especially in the starting phases of your career.

Post-gig, we had a kind of luxurious meal (I had a meat burger - something more nutritious and extravagant as compared to my regular meals and I had 5 glasses of orange juice to drown the food. The other band were playing the second part of their set. It surprised me that half the crowd had already left. That reminded me again of the kind of popularity that we have despite playing covers of songs.

I happened to chat up with the singer of one of the big metal bands in Mumbai (Scribe). I just wanted to tell him how I enjoyed their performance at Independence Rock. But we talked for a few minutes where he clearly expressed his utter hatred for covers and cover bands. I was once again reminded as to how much of bias that the crowd and the venues have for cover bands (like us, I might add!)

You know, a cover band could earn you a lot of money. It's not so tough to be in a cover band. You just have to learn the songs from their original artist and to imitate them. The real tough thing is to compose and create our own music. Even tougher is to get people to listen to it and support us. This is so tough in India, it's frightening.

I'm digressing far too much I guess. But that's the way I feel about it. And I guess I should write that way as well.

To sum it all up - it was an unbelievable experience - something which reminded me how difficult it is for people to come up with original music into the scene. It sort of saddens me that I'm a musician who does add to the pressure original artists face. Thereby, I declare myself a hypocrite. But we have to do this to make some money. Interestingly, it also justifies why the supermodels should do what they do.

Sep 11, 2008

Hoping to Rock tonight

I didn't get any time to type in a detailed post. I was busy with rehearsals and stuff. I'm actually about to leave for my last minute rehearsal after which we will head over to Hard Rock Cafe, Mumbai. We are not very confident but we know that we always perform better than expected. My state of emotion can be seen in this picture from old archives.


Hoping to see a few of you tonight. Wish us luck!

(PS: No cover charges before 8 pm. The bands start playing by around 9.30. We'll be in the middle portion of the 3 hour long live performance.)

Sep 10, 2008

In the past week or so...

  • I have had big problems with internet - solved now
  • I have had problems with my Clix stove - solved now
  • The fuse in my kitchen blew - solved now
  • Plans for applying for a US VISA are facing a bottle-neck. - unsolved
  • My refrigerator is leaking (defrosting) because of lack of electricity - unsolved
  • Another rat made it's appearance - unsolved
  • I have been watching the animated series of X-men. It's fantastic.
  • The practice sessions with Shoonyas has been less than exciting.
  • I'm holding my excitement to watch Naseerudin Shan in 'A Wednesday'.
All very depressing. But here are things that make me feel better.
  • Vinokur is coming to visit me in late November. Have to search for apartments - unsolved
  • I have been able to study well.
  • I have been eating better. Thanks for all the people who would sigh in relief.

Sep 9, 2008

How to serve a morning cup of coffee to your lover in a Long Distance Relationship

[This post was meant to be posted on the second day of the deluge. I couldn't do it from my mobile. Hence I'm posting it now.]

The lack of broadband internet (on the computer that is) does have its own queer advantages – queer not in the gay sense, but in the ‘weird’ sense – for queers like me and Vinokur. The conversations on a rather Jurassic telephone line can be a lot more intimate and focused. Besides, people can actually relocate themselves at will – from a couch to the bed, from a desk to a window, from the living room to the kitchen etc.

In a long distance relationship this is can be a blessing in disguise. For example, Vinokur could take a walk down the Hudson river and tell me how beautiful big Apple looked in autumn with a spray of colors of the leaves OR I could just walk up the dirty stairwell in my apartment building explaining how it was lined exotically with all kinds of patterns of paan spit and how bad the drainage nullah behind my apartment building smelled.

Yes, you need such stuff in a long-distance relationship or else it would be difficult to make it work. If you are living with your partner (like a few lucky souls out here - Chandni/Boy, Fly/Bebe, awwiNYC/hubby etc), you could wake up first thing the morning and make your partner a fine cup of coffee and take it to the bedside and wake him/her up by gently kissing on the lips. In my life this is how it works.

[Vodafone long distance calling card telephone call at 19.43 IST/10.13 EST]

‘Ph… hello!’

‘Hey there dude, hello! I’m sorry, did I wake you up?’

‘Ph… naw… I was just do-ozing. So I guess the internet connection is not yet up.’

‘No, there seems to a bigger problem than expected. We might not have it until Monday.’

‘Awww… I’m gonna miss you, you know that?’

‘That’s okay. We can stay in touch via the old fashioned phone. Did you have your morning coffee yet?’

‘Oh, that explains why I’m so grooogggy still.’

‘Why don’t you make one right now? You can take me to the kitchen hold me in your hand and make coffee. That should be fun.’

‘Well, I’ll do it after we hang up.’

‘Hey, this is a good opportunity for us to bond. Come on, do it for me please.’

‘Okay, okay – if you insist! But you know that I’m not capable of such complex tasks. Remember, I’m a Jew with ADD. So, don’t complain if I put you inside the microwave oven and burn you.’


(…)

‘You can use the speaker phone then. You can put me up on the counter and I’d keep on gushing out my feelings while you make your coffee.’

[The Jew trudges on to the kitchen.]

‘No mishaps until now.’

‘Cool!’

‘I’m going to put you down on the counter okay?’

‘Okay.’


[Door opening sound; the clatter of cups and spoons.]

‘Hey, what are you wearing now?’

(…)

‘Hey there, are you able to hear me?’

(…)

(…)

‘Hullo?’

‘Were you talking to me?’

‘Yes, of course? Didn’t you hear me scream?’

‘No honey, I didn’t.’

‘But you said the speaker-phone is turned on.’

‘Yes, it was. But I didn’t hear it.’

‘Come on, how can that be?’

‘Oops, the speaker-phone wasn’t on.’

‘There, I caught you red-handed lying.’

‘Not the first time, honey!’


[Beeps from the microwave oven.]

‘How do you make a coffee?’

‘Well, I take a cup of milk and heat it up in the microwave. Then, I add a teaspoon and a little more of Nescafe and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. I stir it vigously. Voila!’


[Vigorous stirring. Very irritating over a telephone line.]

‘There, now I feel better. I’m glad you insisted on me making the coffee. Thank you honey!’

‘Well, you Jews are insistence-demanding.’

‘Yes we are. That why I insist on your love.’


(…)

‘I love you, my brown skinned Indian!’

‘I love you too!’
(PS: I had read the the front page article on yesterday’s TOI about the deteriorating call quality in GSM networks. Well, this proves that it’s not true.)

Still not washed ashore

I think my patience is all but over. For the last five days I have had the most bizarre of excuses thrown at me for my internet disconnection. The ISP had 'promised' me a restoration by this morning. I am still waiting. Feeling doomed. Watching the 3rd season of the fantastic X-men animated series with the coolest of villains! At least something good is happening.

Sep 8, 2008

Dyshedonia

The last three days have been real weird. Lots of things went wrong - like internet, the hair-cut, the cancellation of the photo-shoot etc. But one thing went well – the GB Movie festival. There is something that makes me surer every time that I go for watching a film fest that it’s simply stupid to watch ‘straight’ films anymore. In fact, I even think that ‘straight’ film-making is pointless.

No, I’m not straight-bashing. Neither is this thoughtless, juvenile gay activism. It’s just a sense of amazing quality in these movies – a holistic jump in terms of screenplay, plot, characters, acting, cinematography and soundtrack. Amazingly, each and everyone of this would have been made in about one thousandth of a regular bollywood movie. It just brings forward a question – what are these bastards in Bollywood or Hollywood doing?

If anyone wants to check these out for themselves, here is the list of the movies a german movie called ‘Guys & Balls’, a documentary called ‘Small town gay bar in the mid-west’ and the drama called ‘Shelter’.

A rather unexpected walk with Vikster after a weird conversation about a life-changing decision of his (check his blog for details) around the poshest parts of Bandra amongst the luxurious bungalows, apartments and buildings owned by the richest of the rich put me back into depression about my own economic situation. A conversation with Vinokur over the phone did pick me up to bring some hedonism back into my life. And that showed in my recent conclusions about the gender disparity in India thanks to Burkha Dutt’s ‘We The People’ on NDTV 24X7. Please, don’t take this in ‘heavier’ vein.

  • The gender disparity in places like Haryana where M: F – 1000: 700 is the clearest indication of natural selection of gays above others. Come on about 300 guys per 1000 see each other! And most of them are hot – refer to Vijender Kumar, Sushil Kumar.
  • Kerala’s status: It is the only state where M:F is more in favor of females. You know what this means? It means that in addition to about 300/1000 males who are still seeing each other, about 350/1000 females are seeing each other as well!
  • The lost plot of X-men: I’m watching the animated series of X-men these days (downloaded). Magneto believes that mutants are superior and should rule humans. And why should Charles Xavier believe that? Guess what, Homo superior! Hello, gays are superior!

Sep 7, 2008

The Barber

It might sound like the title of a book or movie. It isn’t. Surprisingly it’s the straight-to-the-point name of a saloon at Veera Desai Road in Andheri (W). I’m a big fan of saloons (and not salons because I have never been to a salon) because you get someone to work at your head and face for a cheap price. Since ‘The Barber’ is fairly close to where I live in and because of its very cheap rates, it has become my default saloon for the past few months.

So, why am I writing about it? Well, I actually wanted to write about it so as to give it some positive exposure. Honestly, despite being a roadside make-shift shack, it is air-conditioned and it provides good service. There are three good barbers who are pretty good at what they do. It even has a television set which sometimes plays some sport. Add all of it together and charge just Rs. 20 for a regular shave and Rs. 30 for a regular hair cut, it’s unimaginable to choose otherwise. But there is more – the name. I love ‘The Barber’ as the name for a saloon.

But still, why am I writing about it now? Interestingly, I had a kinda rough experience yesterday. It was about a couple of weeks since I had trimmed my beard and we have an upcoming photo shoot for Noise Market. Hence I had to pay a visit to ‘The Barber’. But today, it was a different experience altogether. This, despite the fact that the customer being ‘served’ on the chair right beside mine was a hot middle-aged man who was been given a ‘facial’!

I was ‘taken care’ of by my regular guy – a bhaiyya with the weirdest of hair-styles right from mid-80s. But he was brash. He shaved ‘roughly’ giving me a lot of micro-cuts. It hurt when he trimmed my beard and he even managed to poke my throat with his scissors a couple of times. I indicated my displeasure and I requested him to be a little more careful. I studied his face and I figured something was bothering him. Foolishly, I agreed to have him trim my hair as well (not a hair-cut as I’m planning to grow my hair long). Using blunt toothed scissors, he ‘pulled out’ a significant portion of my hair.

At the end of it all he said ‘Your head seems to have become a lot lighter!’ I replied ‘Yours too!’. The guy was shaking his head as I was leaving.

Sep 6, 2008

Internet connectivity drama

Yesterday night after getting back from a gig which I was not totally expecting to experience, I was surprised to find the internet connection down. Ever since I had moved into the new apartment in Andheri (W), the connectivity has been pretty reliable and there have been no major breakdowns until now. I was disappointed but not too worried.

The Vodafone International calling card that I had invested in a couple of months back, which had started looking like an ill-thought, overzealous expense, came to the rescue. I was able to call and have a longish phone conversation with Vinokur. It had been a very long time since we had a longish conversation on the phone. We used to have long conversations when I was in the hospital. But since my course got over, we had pretty much been dependent on Skype.

We realized how different it actually is the listen to each other’s voices over a telephone line. He sounded shriller and edgier. I sounded eager and more focused on the topic. This is of course as compared to Skype and real life. It’s really funny to note how Skype and real life had almost blended into each other. In both we can see each other, make out others facial expressions, thus making it almost like actual physical presence.

We hung up late yesterday night after having used up a good hundred plus rupees on the calling card hoping to resume the usual service tonight. Things don’t end up being that sweet in our beloved India. Despite having made a dozen and more phone calls since morning, the ISP’s customer service has not yet been able to solve the problem – the set of keys to open a control-box on top of my building is missing!

It’s very frustrating, especially because it’s late Saturday evening which means that I won’t have my internet back up at least until Monday morning. I’m already starting to miss blogging and blog reading – both of which I can ‘partially’ achieve through my mobile phone. But my real worry is that I’m going to be missing my warmer, relaxed, livelier Vinokur and the with his expressions and the warmth of his ‘hi-bandwidth’ voice.

Sep 5, 2008

Shoonyas live at Hard Rock Cafe

People who have been visiting my blog lately must be reckoning that I'm one luckiest dudes around. Every week, something or the other happens in my life which would easily fit in the criteriae for 'dream-come-trues'. The next in the line of such happenings is my upcoming gig with Shoonyas at Hard Rock Cafe, Mumbai on the 9/11!

Although it coincides with the 7th anniversary of the famous terrorist act, it doesn't have anything to do with it. It's on the occasion of the world-wide release of the Metallica's latest album titled Death Magnetic. The Hard Rock Cafe is arranging for a live night as a tribute to Metallica. Since Shoonyas is a cover band, we will be playing acoustic (toned down) versions of a few of the popular songs of Metallica.

Interestingly, September 12th is the day when Hard Rock Mumbai was inaugrated! I still remember being there on the day of inaugration with Xander and E-boi, dreamy-eyed staring at the fantastic interiors of the cafe. I couldn't believe such a place could be there in India with all kinds of memorabilia of rock icons from all over the world. I also remember wishing for an opportunity to perform at the live-stage at the cafe with Xander and E-boi. Back then, it was just an impossible wish. Look at how things have changed. I still can't believe that I'm going to be playing at HRC!

We'll be playing a set of a few songs for 45 minutes after 10 pm and we will be sharing with another band playing who will be playing 'heavier' versions of others songs of Metallica. If anybody is free on the 11th evening, I'd invite you to come to the glorious Hard Rock Cafe and enjoy the evening. You can find the directions and address here. I'd love to meet up with you!

(PS: Shoonyas have a very ill-designed website which is hardly ever updated. You can check it out and trash it here. If you are interested in keeping up with the gigs and updates you can check out our Orkut or Facebook pages.)

(PPS: Shoonyas is a pseudonymn. The actual name is C*I*R*K*L*E*S [we are notoriously known as circles with a 'k'!])

Dreams from a weirdo mind/brain - part 3

This is the third in this series about dreams (read part 1, 2). This, I think, really highlights the relationship with my family. From my side, I keep on wishing that they would be more supportive of me. They seem to be until they sort of give up on me. Rest of the interpretation after the dream narrative.
"It was comforting to see that my family finally accepted my personality. They were happy about what I had chosen and were willing to be supportive. I waved to my Mom and my sister and starting along with my companion who also was my guide.

He led me through mountains and valleys and across passages that only he knew of. I remember walking on something that resembled the Great Wall of China. I distinctly remember an instance when I was about to cross the gate which would admit one person at a time and I had to wait because the person going the other way, a very handsome looking gentleman in his forties, was coming across. As we passed I caught him nodding at my companion and passing a hint of smile at me.

Things were going well, I thought. In a couple of days, we were nearing our destination. Finally we reached a big lake which overlooked the wonderful city, my final destination. As I walked to the shore, I saw no boat. I turned back to look at my companion and surprised that it had been my father. I asked him why there weren’t any boats or ferries.

He said ‘Look, I can only lead you to here. You’ll have to take care of yourself.’ As I watched him turn and walk back across the path we had walked, I felt disappointed at the fact that my father had chosen this path despite knowing that I didn’t know how to swim."
Coming to think of it, this is so serious that it doesn’t go with the usual posts on my blog. Anyway, I’d explain a little more about it.

My mental picture of my father and the indifference is clearly illustrated in the fact that I don’t even expect him to be around helping me. In the end, he does act as if he’s not interested in helping which is exactly what I used to get from him in my childhood. I presume the water-body that I’m facing in the last part could either be a metaphorical ‘hurdle’ of coming out or a much more realistic Atlantic ocean between me and Vinokur. The city could very well be New York.

If this got you all bored and stiff, I get much cozier dreams as well. I woke up having pleasant dreams about waking up next to Vinokur (who was sleeping) in his bed. In the dream, I was wondering what to tell him and how he would react when I woke him up and told him that I was there with him.

Another dream that I had a couple of days was a rather hopefully idealistic one in which I had a wonderful time with Noise Market – without any arguments. Just good ol’ fashioned compliments, jokes and jamming for fun!

Sep 4, 2008

Mosquitoes, ceiling fans and sweating

Some of you, okay at least one of you (yes, you know who it is) has wondered what a delight it would be to be my boyfriend. In the various adulatory comments that I have received over a few years, I have found qualities in me which even I haven’t realized I had. My self-esteem has been on the rise because of these and sometimes even I am quite sure that I would be able to give my partners a good time being just myself.

No, I’m not getting carried away slapping my own bass guitar. If you are wondering what that silly phrase means, don’t worry. I just coined it. It’s a neo-phrase adapted from ‘blowing your own trumpet’ – just in my case that I don’t play trumpet. I play the bass guitar. One more thing, ‘slap’ is not the same thing that you see in S&M movies. It’s a form of bass playing which is very cool. I must also add that I’m pretty average in slapping. Back to me – but my negative side. Here’s why you wouldn’t like living with me anymore.

Like every living person on Earth, who trudge on their feet miserably towards whatever sorry thing that they are doing, I too have my own ‘peculiarities’. Some call them ‘the extra spice’. Some call them ‘OCDs’. Some might even call them ‘things that make one person different from others’. Actually, I would like to rephrase this term to ‘annoyances found in a person that you would like to see eliminated; so much so that you wouldn’t mind killing that person itself’.

I have a ‘thang’ for avoiding unnatural noises while sleeping and listening to music; especially, when you do both together. Yes, I sleep while listening to some kind of music or the other because I believe that you are able to find time for listening that you can’t otherwise, courtesy your busy schedule. Besides, it’s a cool thing to wake up to a song which you really like.

Because the ceiling fans create a whole lot of noise (almost all of them do, and the one in m apartment is the worst of them), I hate to put it on. What happens in that case is that, those unimaginably resilient mosquitoes swarm and buzz around me and prick me to agony. Seriously, these are one of the very few ‘pricks’ that I don’t like. I do my best to cover me with a bed-sheet. Sometimes that works. Most of the times, it doesn’t. I was getting tired of this predicament and I decided to do something about it. If you are wondering if I weren’t using any repellents, I was actually using ‘All Out pluggy’ which doesn’t work at all.

Yesterday, when I went to the supermarket, I bought Mortein mosquito coils. I was happy hoping that Mortein would provide me with the same clinical efficiency that it did with its rat poison. Talking about rats, you must have an idea as to how irritating it was for me when that stupid rat was running amok in my apartment. That was the worst kind of noise. I had to turn up the ceiling fan and music just to eliminate that!

So, in the evening, I light this mosquito coil and was happy that the fumes even smelled okay. Since, I had closed my windows of my amazingly cute (read claustrophobic) studio apartment, the fumes were getting to my eyes. By the time I was ready to sleep, I my eyes were as red as a baboon’s sass and I was lacrymating profusely. But I still felt happy. I could listen to music without the stupid ceiling fan and doze off, which I managed to at about 2 am. 

At 5 am, I was awakened by the soothingly warm buzzing of our dear friends, mosquitoes! Fuck, I was so pissed that I thought ‘Dammit, I’ll turn on the ceiling fan!’ I did just that and went back to sleep. I woke up to the knocks on the door by the ‘garbage wallah’ at 8 am. I picked up my garbage bag and gave it to him and returned back to bed. My radio was playing ‘Machinehead’ by Bush (the band, not the chimp) and I felt like smashing that ceiling fan into pieces because it was drowning clarity of the music.

I switched it off, and thought of dozing for a few more minutes. The only problem, I dozed for a few more minutes than I hoped. I woke up at 11 am all sweaty and muggy. I felt like cursing myself to death. I had just wasted an entire morning by just sleeping.

Incidentally, earlier in the night, Vinokur and I were discussing about finding an apartment or hotel room in Mumbai for him to stay when he would visit me next. For a long time, I kept on wondering why he wouldn’t stay in my cozy (read miniscule) apartment. That way, I thought, we could save a lot of money. I even felt angry at him when he suggested that Jews needed certain ‘luxuries’ and ‘comforts’ to live in – like air-conditioning etc.

Thankfully, the night just cleared up the smoke in my head. The only problem is to find a place for the Jew god to stay.

Sep 3, 2008

Rock On - truths and lies

A couple of days before, I watched the quintessential movie for the Indian rocker – Rock On! I don’t know how I had managed to withhold myself from committing to watch it on the first day itself as a month before I would’ve watched even a B-grade hindi movie on the first day. The movie, in my opinion as a rocker, was good. It does not get any better adjectives for one simple reason – some bad acting and a spotty screenplay.

No, I’m not going to write a review of the movie as there are hundreds of them out there to read. But as my life is almost entirely entrenched in the movie, I thought it would be fun to give you an idea as to how I felt while I watched the movie; how realistic the movie actually was. Here are the good parts of the movie which are so true that they brought a deja vu feeling to me.
  • The struggling amateur band with talent and a lot of hope: there are hundreds of them all over India. Most give up soon and end up taking up jobs like the band mates in the movie.
  • The monetary crunch: Every musician artist goes through this in India, I believe. Well, not if you are a Bindra of course. The movie truthfully depicts the budget that we look at and the bankruptcy that such bands face.
  • The exhilaration of performing on stage: This is unbelievably true. Every rocker wants to play his instrument. But to play live to an audience cheering us on and to act cool on stage is a feeling on it’s own.
  • The reality show: The competitions are fiercely fought and everyone will remain nervous. Since we happen to win a competition like the one shown in the movie, I will tell you that we felt jublilant at winning that. I still remember coming back home and smooching Vinokur and breaking the good news!
  • The ‘lost’ feeling in other jobs: This is very truthfully represented although at times, it is a little exaggerated. Purab Kohli’s character typifies it.
  • The record label: Even though we have been fortunate in this aspect, most record labels tie down the bands with creative restrictions. This is something that all artists hate!
  • Bollywood songs and other stuff: Seriously, none of us like singing ‘Dekha hai pehli baar, saajan ke aankhon mein pyaar’ on dandia beats. We might like the songs but we would like to perform something original people. Ironically, the college crowds will never ever want to hear originals. They would always root for a cover of a Bollywood (trash) hit or a Paki-rock song.
  • The mediocre music quality in bollywood: I respect Anu Malik for the role he plays. It is very truthful to the state in the music industry where creativity and ingenuity are forsaken for commercial success.
  • The pressure from family: That is very true. Most families would disagree to let their son/daughter chase their dreams in something as wild as rock.
  • Misunderstandings and ego clashes: Another very true aspect of being a rocker. Our egos are usually quite big and we all have very creative ideas. It’s easy to arrive at a disagreement and easier to get into an argument or a fight.

As in any movie from Bollywood, there were a few thoughtless scenes and concepts which would remain myths if someone like me would not care to explain. So here goes...

  • The jamming pad for the average Indian Rocker: In the movie, the band called Magik rehearses at their jamming pad – the spacious, vacant, unused basement of a building which the band gets to use for free. This is by the far the farthest fetched thing in the movie. It is impossible to get any space for jamming, that too free. Only rich, rich bastards can afford to jam in such luxury – rich bastards such as Farhan in the latter half of the movie. In reality, we get cramped up rooms with an exorbitant charge and the slots are very hard to find.
  • The bass guitarist: The major glaring error in the movie and it’s story line is that the band doesn’t have a bass guitarist, probably the most elemental part of a rock band. A few would presume that I’m blowing my own trumpet. I’m a bass guitar player alright, but that is not why I state so. Ask any rock musician and they would swear by this claim. The drummer and the bass guitarist really form the background for any rock band. The thing which is even worse is that despite lacking the bassy, there are two guitarists in the band. If there was no bassy, one of them should take up the bass guitar and complete the band. For reference, the only major band which didn’t have the bassy is ‘The Doors’. But I’m sure they would have used bassists in their live performances.
  • The awe-inspiring rock shows: There is the footage of a Rock On concert at the CST (Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus - railways)  in the movie. It is fantastic to watch that. But believe me, such things don’t exist. I still remember the troubles that Farhad Wadia, the man who conducts I-Rock, had to face for setting up the show at the Gateway of India two years back. Despite getting all such permissions, the police denied permission to stage the event an hour before it was scheduled to start and finally the event had to be postponed by about a month! So, such shows are just figments of imaginations. And even in a show which is held in an arena, the public response that you see in the movie is simply overrated. Nobody jumps for every beat of any song. In reality either nobody, or a very few dance when the songs are being belted out live.
  • The bad vibes between the bands: When we go for a concert/competition, there is nothing like pushing and shoving happening backstage! In fact, we get to be friends with the other bands and members and at least I do my best to cheer for them if I find them nice or their music nice. I don’t hide my appreciation for anybody else’s music even if it were a direct competition to us. So, we end up being friends with competitors and often have fun being with them.
  • To get out of traffic jam and walk right into a show: This was by far the stupidest part of the movie. You simply can’t do that. To perform at a concert with any level of professionalism, there is something called a sound-check – this is where you plug in our instruments and set the mixing and levels before the show. Once it is set, when we come on stage the guy at the sound will set the levels according to the sound-check. In the movie, Arjun Rampal walks right into the concert with his guitar and starts playing. This simply doesn’t happen and if you try to do it, the results are usually horrible and pathetic.