On Dec 5th, 2010, I realized a dream. I performed at Independence Rock XXV, the biggest and the most iconic rock festival India, which has been called the Woodstock of India. I played alongside rock icons of my generation, the biggest bands, and legends of the music scene. I performed in front of the biggest audience in my life – the final count is up to 6,000, I read somewhere.
There ends the good part of the story, however. I played with the new version of Pralay, founded in the 1990s, which had toured Russia of 6 months then, and which went on to get nominated for a Grammy award in 2003. The difference between the band then and the band now is that, in the past they had a full-time vocalist. After band-member departures, the lead guitarist of the band has taken up charge of the vocals, and as I had already written about, he’s no Dave Mustaine. And I must say, I don’t fancy the vocals of Dave Mustaine.
The audience at Independence Rock had a similar opinion. They booed at us, they threw bottles at us, and they made use leave the stage buried in shame. My friends, each and every one of them, thought that it was a pathetic performance. I had asked them to not judge me on the basis of this performance before hand, but some couldn’t just resist it and had to say “Fuck, why the hell do you play for this band?” I had my one answer – because I wanted to live the dream of playing at I-Rock. The critics didn’t spare us, neither did Twitter users.
From the band’s point of view, Farhad Wadia and Co., who had infamously pushed me out of stage last year when I was covering the event as a photojournalist, denied us a proper soundcheck before the gig, and gave us around 30 minutes to soundcheck and play after the first band Bhayanak Maut had performed. As ironic as it could get, he actually borrowed my acoustic guitar and rehearsed with it backstage. As expected, he didn’t thank me when I went to him to take back my guitar.
At the end of it all, albeit with a loss of pride and self-respect, I managed to perform at I-Rock. This picture will define this moment of my life forever.
*Picture courtesy Suvajeet Dattagupta.