You witness the strange phenomenon once again. You are so back in the traffic jam, that you move when the signal turns red, and you grind to a halt when it goes green. You are so confused… that ultimately, when you see the open road right ahead, you don’t know which color means start and which means stop. But, the rick guy who’s driving you around knows best… he slows down enough to make it stop until it goes red again, and sets the universe back in order! The greatness of rick guys has already been eulogized in a previous post. I guess they are to thank for the following experiences too.

Traffic Signals, seriously, are amazing enough to have been filmed upon and written about. And why not, it’s an awesome act that goes on there, day in day out, 24X7, and never ever with the same set of characters! And, in this ‘nautanki’ of life, there are a few ‘stars’, who know their lines, and their roles, and in fact are forced to know them well enough, to eke out a living on that stage. You see the Havaldar, and you wonder whether he oils the hinges of bones on his hand everyday. There’s the tell tale cripple, the blackened boy in tattered clothes, the man carrying another on his back, like Vikram-Betaal . Add to this mélange, a bookseller, the peanut guy and the ‘Sir, flowers for Madam’ guy. Evil eye banisher nimbu-mirchi lady smiles away through brisk sales, but the gajra girl sports a frown, with flowers adorning the hair seeming to be on a decline, with fashionable hairdos setting in.  Then you see the eunuch and begin to think that strange is the director who character-sketched this part at the signal! Three incidents on… it’s not the director, but it’s the script-writer that left me dumbfounded!

A Eunuch

Me and my friend, are stuck at the Andheri Shopper’s Stop signal, which over the times is starting to seem ritualistic. I see eunuchs approach. About them, human emotions were being put on a vibrant display. Some swore, some shrank with fear, some turned into SRKs < read emotively plastic>, some sat smug in their A/C cars, some smiled, and some threw a few Rupees out, even when they were two rickshaws away!

I always find myself in a dilemma, when it came to paying beggars, whichever role it may be that they are portraying. I don’t encourage it. So I sit still, and stare at the signal, willing it to turn, but the numbers that ticked down, ensured that I remained put. The eunuch draws up close to my rick, peeks, instantly sees my lack of intent to pay up and says…

“Sir, Medems < to my lady friend>, some monies, for all your dreams, wishes come true. One time only pay!!!”

I paid up, so did my friend, completely out of surprise… My mind was lost, picturizing far away, Eunuch Voice Training / English Speaking Centres! Then the eunuch smiled and let out a sonically philaharmonesque “Thank you” that would have made a few airhostesses and mobile/credit card ‘free offer’ plan women turn suicidal over job security!!!

This brought to mind, two other amazing stories that my brother had narrated.

The first was what my brother’s classmate experienced, when she found herself at the receiving end of a singing talent.

“ It ees a lhouly wheather.
There is no suuuuuun todaaaay,
There is no mooooooon todaaay,
It ees a lhouly wheatherrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!”
“Monies Please!!!”

I bet she couldn’t have said no after that performance!!!

The second and the best was …

My bro and another girl, who was his senior in his college, were traveling in a rick, when pounced upon by a motormouth who starts showering them with blessings!

“ Arre aapko bohot saari khushiyan milen, aapko padhai main achche number mile, aapko achchi naukri mile…blah blah blah blee blee blee blue blue blue”

They are in the process of paying up, when the eunuch suddenly utters, “ Aap dono ko bohot saare bachche ho”

My bro and the girl suddenly freeze and put up a shocked look. The girl says, “Arrey, ye mera bhai jaisa hain… hamare bachche nahin honewale!!!”

The eunuch quips, “Arre lekin maine kab kaha aapko bachche ek doosre se honge. Aapko aapke pati se hoga… aur inko inki biwi se!!! Aap log bhi naa…”,

She grabs the money and fades back into the petrol fumes, leaving behind two idiots with sheepish grins, and an ‘about to burst soon’ rick guy with a very very interesting story to narrate back at the rick stand!!!

Lemon Tea

The golden lemon bleeds,
And culminates with the black.

Swirls around, stirred around.
A citric typhoon in a teacup.

The struggle ends, it blends.
“Nice Tea!” exclaims the drinker.

Wonder how the lemon feels…
When the tea walks away with all the credit!

It was 11:30 yesterday night, and I was on the Andheri bound local, when I get the call from my brother. My best buddies were over, and hungry as hell. (They are never ever otherwise!). Could I get them some instant Maggi noodles, was the request. I shook my head, in a silent protest. I was just getting back from a reunion of old colleagues over a super heavy dinner and dessert stacked up so high, that my vision was blurred by a layer of brownies! To say that I was tired and sleepy, would be stating the mother of all obviousness. But I had to reckon with the fact that a night outer of furious PS2 gaming that had been lined up, and sleeping was to be way out of question.  My friends you see, they are about as considerate as cannibals of Amazonian rainforests, when it came to sleeping on stay-overs. And at that point I couldn’t care less, about the existence of Amazonian cannibals in the first place.

Maggi Nights

I walk a lonely (Andheri-Sahar) road … searching for the fodder for them asses back home.  It meant a forsaken rick ride, and a 10 minuter calorie burning walking exercise instead, making instant noodles, my instant enemy. I went about making more enemies, as I poked my head into any shop, that even showed a hopeful flicker of candle light, and asked… “Boss, Maggi milega”. It was always a gruff “Nahin”, followed by momentary deafness to my other queries.  As of then, I certainly wasn’t evolving out to be la beacon por composure’e exquisitemente’,  ( It’s French … nobody understands it anyway! Chill. ), with every close encounter of the ‘why-the-#$%^-are-you-open-at-11:45pm-if-you-don’t-have-Maggi’  kind.

Lucknow Zarda Shop was half a shutter down when I walked past it. I prayed a little prayer, broke an imaginary narial outside, fancied my chances, and poked my head under the hood and jack-in-the-boxed in front of the shop owner, who was just about finishing up on the accounts of the day.

Before he could shoo me away, I pounced on with a “Uncle, Maggi milega?”, and followed it with a ‘Puss-In-Boots’ look, straight out of Shrek, probably ending up more like Shrek himself, rather than the cute beady-eyed cat.

Either way, he smiled, and replied, “Bilkul milega” 🙂

Phew! Worth the effort indeed, when the quest ends in a success!

I then open my wallet and see a lone 500 Rupee note staring back at me. I gulped.

I enquired meekly, “Uncle 500 ka change hoga na?”

He suddenly looked up from his book he was scribbling in, and said exasperatingly,
“Ab yeh toh nahin hoga beta” 🙁

I groaned!

I checked my watch, It read 11:55 pm.

I asked, “Uncle, aap kitne der tak open rahenge?”

He countered, “Rehte kahaan ho aap”

I said, “Yahin, 2 minute par”, and told him my address.

I waited for his answer, all hopes lost.

He said, “Aap Maggi le jaao!”

Seeing my wide open mouth, he continued, “Mujhe pata hain, ki aap mujhe paise kal laa doge!” And he smiles a sup’r genuine smile. 😀

I beamed.

Continued he,  “ Beta, khaane se badi koi cheez nahin hoti!”

I walked all the way feeling very very glad, about a certain ‘trust‘ factor that was shown to a perfect stranger. 🙂

I get into my home, and all the three, including my bro goes… “Abbe ye toh le aaya Maggi.”, and do a li’l celebration jig. Apparently, all of ‘em bastroids had had a bet amongst themselves, where-in all three concurred that I was too lazy to get ’em anything, and would end up making some excuses! Punks! But I was too overwhelmed to even swear at them, and went onto narrate this rather cool act of kindness. They all grinned and acknowledged the shopkeeper’s wonderful gesture, that ensured that a bunch of overweight kids got something to stuff themselves with, on a rainy Friday night.

2:30 am that night, we ate the noodles. Needless to say, it tasted super damn good! 🙂

The Departed

The story, it is but old, retold.
The log pages are torn and faded.
The ink is all that’s shiny and new,
The table on, everything else, jaded.

Come to think, the morn was sure gloomy.
Sordid, sullen and morose.
Rudely awoken to a clanging dumptruck,
Me and my truckful of sorrows.

A long, lonely walk through the slush,
And the thirsty wet mud.
Stain’d me and my clothes and my boots,
Like splattered dried-up blood.

My work tray was heaped, piled up,
The paper right on top, soggin’,
Gettin’ bulleted by many a tear like water drops,
Or water like tears, droppin’.

I sat, prayed a gentle prayer;
Signed, affixed the blue rubber stamp.
Drops gently washed up against the fresh ink,
On the ominous certificate, damp.

The world not worthy of him,
Yet another wise-guy had derived.
And guess had chosen to return,
Even before he arrived.

X-Men IV

So then, I see Wolverine struggle up to me in the middle of the final fight as Magneto controls him to make Wolvie’s claw poke his own ass, making him dance about. Wolverine shouts, “ Come on quick RixxawMan… we don’t have much time. Ouchh! At least, I don’t… before I am scarred for life …Ouuii… only you can help us out!”, and I reply, with a resilient, power-packed… “ Yeaaah!”
—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Everyone wishes to be special. And I realized that I was special, some time back! Ever since I saw Iron-Man, I have been tempted to make an identity reveal, and since celeb blogging is the rage these days, I thought might as well! So behold… I am …

RixxawMan!

RixxawMan

My power: <drum-roll> I have the ability to affect auto rickshaw drivers, and provide for entertaining rick-rides.

I know, I know, I know that I have powers of a slightly weird kind.… but hey, it’s a start! Nevertheless, to continue for my err fans, how I may have got this power you ask? Frankly, I don’t know. Perhaps there’s a mechanical engineering based link to the whole aspect, but I think it was the scratch that I got, when alighting out from one ominous ride, and guess some higher powers decided that instead of tetanus, I was given – responsibility!

The name ‘RickshawMan’ would have just provided you an imagery of an old ‘one foot in grave’ guy pulling a rickshaw in the chilly morns of Kolkata. So rather than that I thought up of an uber cool superhero V2.0 name, with an ‘x’ effect – ‘RixxawMan’ ! To continue with my coolness quotient, I am endowed with well toned muscle, and a single ab, sans the pansy cape and chaddi on the outside! Speaking again of my powers … it took me a few rick rides to really discover what I could actually do as RixxawMan.

Let me give you my top 5 ricksperienecs!

5> The Disciple: <As a rick pulled in> I said, “Chalo Bhai… Andheri jaana hain!” He nods, PUTS ON THE METER …and drives away…. with me left standing at the kerb of the road! :O

I discover my Mind Control power!

4> The Indian Idol: Me and my accomplice La Maathey < My French Oracle! Yes…you may bow to my style and finesse > promise to give a torturous rendition of a song all the way, to an adversary for some catty comments she made on us about our vocal prowess. We take our off-tune singing very very seriously. So we are about to get into the rick… Miss Catty, gives a slip and takes the side seat disabling the use of our right hand side Dolby speaker <La Maathey>. Ms. Catty begins to snigger, and celebrate her li’l victory, when I unleash my power! Our rick-driver gets on to a full throated Bihari number, clocking 127.8 decibels, and made the concert lasts for the duration of the rick ride. Oracle and I, found our powers being acknowledged by a shivering new fan!

I discover my Sonic Control power!

3> Mr Ice Guy: Me and La Maathey, are again ricking our way back… on the day of serial train blasts. There was much panic. We were sitting quite, when rickshaw guy says, “ Aaaj toh raste kaafi khaali hain!” We say, “ Haan bomb blasts ke kaaran, sab jaldi ghar gaye honge!” Mr Ice Guy, as if he just heard something as common as sunrise/sunset “Achha… bomb blasts hue hain kya? Hmmmm…”

I discover my Chaos Control power!

2> The Joker: What’s a super hero without wit! So then after long dull, sordid day, my friends get picked up, by me in a rick. And in response to our sullen moods, the rick guy starts his ‘sit-down’comedy! He takes us through detailed descriptions of films like Hera Pheri, 123 and Welcome and has us in splits throughout the journey. He then got into poojofying the Lord of the Lords Mithunda, and compared his punches to hits with a iron frying pan! He ended his sit-down stand-up, eulogizing God Mithun, “Mithun hain na… woh toh India ka Undertaker hain”! Very punny… if you see it!

I discover my Mood Control power!

1>Hippocrates: So then La Mathey and I are again in a rick ride, when our rick guy, slightly cuts another rick enroute making the other guy swerve a bit! Happens all the time you say? The other guy revs up… skids to a halt in front our rick. He gets out.. Rajni style, and barsofies on our thin weedy rick guy! All his convos are in “ What ifs”. “ Dhakka lagta toh?” “ Tail light foot-ta toh” “ Accident main hame lag jaata toh” … Our guy meekly said, “ Arre bhai lekin kuch hua nahin na!” This angered him even more, and he said the following lines: <I am still pinching myself while writing this>, “ Mere gaadi main jo baitha hain na woh heart patient hain… WOH MARR JAATA TOH!”

Me- :O
La Maathey- :O
Our Rick Guy- :O
Heart Patient- :O

Presently a Traffic Hawaldar swoops in… lands a whack on the back of the emotional rickdriver guy for stalling traffic and sends him off with a “Tichya Maaila.. chal hadddddd!!” We continued the journey in total bewilderment!

I discover my Total WTF power!

————————————————————————————————————
“RixxawMan, will please stop blogging and …ooh… Aaah… Ouch… Rrrasscue me ”, said Wolvie with tears in his eyes. And I replied with yet another deep baritone, fear rendering, chill to the bones types, “ Yeaaah!”

I use my Mind Control powers and yelled, “By the Powers of the Rixxaw” and get a dozen a rickshaws to turn up, complete with dhinchak jhankar beats and all.

Magneto smiles evilly and begins to attract the ricks to himself so that he could crush them. But, he underestimate my soober Mallu logic. I then use my Total WTF powers and get Himesh Reshammiya to apparate out of one of the ricks and then I back it up with my Sonic control power, and unleash a murderous…zara jhoom jhoom, zara jhoom jhoom,zara jhoom jhoom, zara jhoom… and Magneto jhoomofies to the extent not only gets de-magnetized but also get reverse polarized! <Total WTF power remember!>Then the focass shifts and the hunter becomes the hunted. Wolverine bellows, “Up Yours” and as Magneto, goes pale as he gets impaled…

I see that my work here was done… I wave to the other Xmen… I blow a kiss to the pretty Halle Berry and in true Southie style I approach one of the ricks in slow motion, and say, “Bhaiyya, Andheri jaana hain!” He nods and zooms away into the horizon…

RickTrick … leaving me standing there in a cloud of exhaust!

Our Power Supply guys should be given Param Vir Chakras 🙂

I make this statement in lieu of the amazing audacity with which they seem to take on nature’s fury head on, every single year. As the sun gets blazing on high octane (actually it’s more like Hydrogen and Helium… hah, like you care!), come the unforgiving summer, something in the Power Supply guys instill them to stand up and say… “ That the best you can hit us with, you pipsqueak… Who Daddy Whoooo! Let’s show the summer our resilience with power cuts for hours everywhere! Baah!” Great Warriors like Attila and Alexander seem like Bugs and Daffy, in front of such extreme war schemas! Anyway… Sunday saw a power-cut, in accordance to the war plans, in my area for about an hour. As the TV I was watching went dark … some dark corners of my brain drenched in light….

TV Ghost

The following is a true story. Certain parts of the text may be unsuitable for little children, babies and other semi-intelligent pets. No gory details have been edited, for viewer discretion. (Infact they have been touched up, to ruin your lunch/dinner). If ‘above 18’ Click here to continue.

The story was told to me by my cousin, one rainy afternoon (like the other 364) in Kerala. This was in turn a story that was told to him, by another of his cousin, on yet another rainy afternoon (like the other 363).

As narrated by cousin’ cousin’ (with special inputs from me, swaadanusar)

It so happened that a man walked into an electronics shop, with a wrapped up box in his hand. The contortions on his face, as he lifted it, indicated it to be something between the range of a truck and a soap box. After 13 minutes of doing knotty knotty stuff, a TV was revealed! Err… did I say TV… sorry it was a black box with smouldered plastic, and a peeling ‘deocon’ written on one side.

Transcript:

The shop owner: What happened?

TV dude: Need Repairs.

The shop owner: No shit! I thought marriage gift. So tell me… what happened?

< Readers…swear on FLOYD…once again… this is a true story>

TV dude: Lightening struck. Power went out. TV won’t start.

The shop owner: < looks at the TV that looks as if it has recently returned from a pleasure trip down the holey Vesuvius > WHAT THE F*CK HAPPENED.

TV dude: Sigh!

TV dude: Sigh!

TV dude: Sigh!

TV dude: < looks around, lowers voice and begins > So yesterday, the Rain Gods were heady on the sweet rain ( In Kerala, every other guy is a poet/sahityakaar and a drunk hence the build up!) As they partied in frenzy a stray thunderbolt found itself on course with my TV antenna… and added the extra zing to my Kittex Lungi Viewer’s Choice on Asianet. For a minute I thought I lost my eyesight, but slowly realized that the power had been shot. I quickly reached over to my Kajaa beedi, beside which my Ship matchbox rested. A match was struck and a candle soon found its ass on fire. ( Note: given the frequent outages, people in Kerala usually carry a candle along with their beedis ). And like an idiot I rested the lit candle atop the TV.

The shop owner: Gasp! You what???

TV dude: As soon as I let go, the candle rolled, and fell into the TV through the slots in the back!

The shop owner quickly looks to see the slots and retorted.

The shop owner: But, these are so thin…

TV dude: So was the candle… (Mallu logic… brillyend eh?)

TV dude:
(continuing) the candle didn’t go out I guess … then the TV set started smouldering…. And then….

The shop keeper: And then…

TV dude: my wife quickly got some water and poured it over the flames to stop the fire!

The shop keeper:
YOU BLASTED MORON! It’s a TV…not a haystack…

TV dude:
thankfully the fire stopped, otherwise my whole house would have gone up poof!

The shop keeper:
I don’t think, anyone could repair it after…

TV dude (continuing to continue): Then after a while the power was restored.

… We then switched the TV on to see whether it was working or not…

The shop keeper: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

TV dude: Power went out again, short circuit maybe, and TV burned while I searched for candle…but we didn’t pour water again, but smothered it with a thick blanket instead!

(As the near comatose electronics dude hit the ground)
TV dude: could you repair the set please???

Kerala celebrated yet another bandh that day, and somewhere, as an electronics repair guy was being haunted by the ghost of a TV, that underwent excruciating trials of the order (Fire, Water and Electrocution) that it made Schindler’s List look like Baby’s Day Out!

So now that I am back from the jungles of Ulan Bator, after successfully marketing a Web2.0 product under extreme secrecy, not to mention not having any means of communicating with the human kind, let alone blogging,  I will continue to impart… knowledge and bullshit alike!

For starters,  here is something that I came up with in Jan. With little to document it, I hunted down a crocodile in Feb. Skinned and sukhofied the skin by early March. And then painstaking wrote down the poetry over March end, with bamboo shoots as a pen, and blood as ink!!! <BTW, My team mates reported a mysteriously high loss of RBCs, WBCs and platelets after their return, from the jungles of Ulan Bator>

Read on…

BlackOut
Sometimes it is easier to write,
Because you don’t know what to write about.
And then you just type in random sentences,
And rhyme it up, to check them out.

Then ideas begin to come and go,
Like waves on the shore;
You suddenly feel the rise in tide,
And decide you want to write some more.

You delve deeper into randomness,
And try to give it a structure;
But then you let go and relax,
Lest your cerebral nerves might rupture.

You try and seek continuity,
Post that… you try to see a theme.
You lose them both instantaneously,
And begin to hear your mind scream.

You don’t stop, you carry on,
Just to see where this would take you;
But then you already know that it ain’t gonna be no ‘R+J’,
Neither a ‘Macbeth’, nor ‘Taming the Shrew’.

You realize you might be losing the meter.
But you say …chill.. it’s all fine!
But most definitely your lines are somewhat all the more longer now,
Especially this stanza …third line.

This had to be the limit I guess,
Toss has gone all that was poetry;
And then I get into deeper mess,
As nothing seems to rhyme with poetry…but poetry!

I see that I’m already word-count 850+,
With all ’em stacked and arranged a b a b,
I then do a self-congratulatory jiggedy jig jig,
and sing a hi-power 120 dB  doo bee doo bee!

Then I stop, think, listen to Floyd, get ‘inspired’,
And ‘feel’ that this poem and I are like two souls.
Hmmm…Now let’s see, how do I put it…
Perhaps…like two lost souls swimmin’ in a fish bowl!

A final look up into the Webster’s,
A proof read and a spell check,
30 mistakes corrected…plenty overlooked,
I decided that this’s how the poem ends… what the heck!

The profundity of my thoughts, brought tears to my eye,
I wondered why I never thought about writing professionally before!
I saw flashing bulbs, gleaming cars, money and dames,
Nobel and the Booker once again hitting the Indian shore.

“I had always wanted to write something…
Something that would change the world”
Said I to my publisher-to-be, with pride,
He smiled, then he read, then his head swirled.

I wonder why he fainted;
I don’t know why his secretary cried;
I wonder why she called in the ambulance and security,
Plain jealous…I surmised!

The world didn’t change,
But some unplanned things swiftly got on ahead,
Changes to my physiological details were one,
The second… the time I had before I was to be dead.

In My Head!!!

The Fender wails…
High on psychedelia;
Higher on love.
Wood and steel in unison
Sculpting air. Visions.

Smoke everywhere,
Sweet, full of breath;
Asphyxiating all care uncalled.
Ghosts of the living,
Albatrosses, hopes, flying.

Gods in Act, acting Gods.
Stirred and shaken,
Perfect blend, Amen!
Touched by the Metatron
Sonic N-Bombs, a zillion Ktons.

The river of sweat,
Sound bytes and more,
Ambrosia over a setting sun in Eden.
A bend in time. A Big head Bang.
A furious mix of sweet and tang.

Marshals, frenzied, roll.
The equalizer set to equalize
Ranges beyond the console!
As geographies melt,
Iron and Gold smelt.

Roger and Dave serenade,
The Wright- Mason duet made.
The lunatic smiles overhead.
The dark moves into the light,
Quivering hearts & stage fright!

She glances & smiles.
Pompei, in my head.
Flatlined, wonder-eyed, in bed.
There she was, my flower child,
My elusive Floydian wild.

This is one ode, that has taken a long time in coming. There were many things that came in between this post and the urge to put my feel of the day into words, but then that’s another story. The day was 14th December… and Mumbai got stung… and it wasn’t winter at work! I was there… right up from when this German penta-force raged passion fuelled firestorms deep into the aural channels!

Scorpions… 🙂

My introduction to Scorpions had been to their Gold album <black cover with the infamous golden scorpion on show!>, in the first year of my Engineering course. Since then it has been a relationship that was much cherished. Klaus, Rudolph and co. helped me go through sheaves and sheaves of assignment papers, and that was one favor that I have to have to accredit them for. So, when I heard they gonna be there in Mumbai for their Humanity Hour I tour… it was a no-brainer, as to where I saw myself standing in the crowd! There’s been much talk about the concert with respect to a poor turnout, high energy performances, insane guitar and drum solos, freebies to the audiences…etc etc etc… For those of you, who missed this act… my deep rooted sympathies!

Ladies & Gentlemen, here on, I will let these pictures do the talking….

The Concert That Was: Scorpions Humanity Tour – Live In Mumbai!

Hour I
“Welcome To Humanity… This Is Hour I”

Lady Starlight: The Silent Performance!
Lady Starlight: The Silent Performance!

Shimmer Man
Scorpio Supernova….

Powww-Wahhh Chords!!!
Powwww-Wahhhhh Chords!

Schenker & Jabs Rockolutions Schenker & Jabs
The Schenker & Jabs Meltdown!

Klaus! Klaus!

Klaus! Klaus!
Let him take you far away!

Schenker Schenker!
Flyin’ Weeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Hand Of God?
Hand Of God???

Remains From The Hurricane
Remains From The Hurricane…

Massive-Woda! A Kottak Moment!
Massive-Woda                                        A Kottak Moment!

meine.JPG
The Meine Man

When The Smoke Is Going Down!
When The Smoke Is Going Down…

NCPA was the venue for the my first EVER Opera Act… and boy was it an experience! It was a congregation of the classes (them) and 3 scruffy looking guys (Fuzz, myself and Amar …. in order of relative scruffiness! Amar wore a Google T-shirt… Shilpi’s mind went: What was he thinking???Beachboys???? On the other hand thankfully he had his jeans on… ’cause most of the time, he wears a hybrid between a boxer short and cycling pants!). Above all, Shilpi maintained that she looked classy… and as always our opinions never really mattered! Anyway apart from us… there were The Elites (3 piece suits, low cut blouses and knee high skirts), there were these jewelery shops/glitterati ensemble trotting in high heels few inches above the terra firma… add to this random foreigners professing love for world music … and finally there were The Italians… La Italianos… El Italianouvos. Of notable mention, were the lively and frail ‘one foot in grave’ ladies, who were there in scarves and chiffons, Pradas, Christian Diors, D&Gs and Glucon Ds. There were music lovers, there were the clueless and there were the talkers… who actually knew when to say an oooh and when to say an aaah, while conversing with another ooh-aah person! There were the animated ones and then there were the stone-cold ones. And we… well we tried hard to fit in somewhere, camouflaging ourselves behind our intellectual looks and talking as if we KNEW what the whole deal was about. Shilpi needed help… and we like very chivalrous gentlemen helped! (Note: this could very well be… my last post!)

Anyway, we amble in slowly… and take seats at the back, knowing that sitting in front could be potentially risky. A very wise decision in the end! Now then the thing is that all 4 of us were big music enthusiaists. Fuzz, the most experienced of the lot with years and years of experience with classical music, was our guide to the whole thing. Our quartet comprised of me with li’l Carnatic vocal training of roughly about 3 months, Fuzz playing the classical guitar, Amar who plays the drums, and Shilpi, who has great taste in music and who plays…. err… with Cats ( not to be confused with the musical)! So then, the show started off with instrumentals… a piano, a violin and a cello! Brilliantness! I fell in love with the pianist lady’s hands… as they glided along the black and whites, like a paper aeroplane in flight! All went well till the vocals started. The Soprano lady came and started singing her arias (small pieces of an opera). Now the thing about Opera singing is that you treat you vocal chords like a string/wind instrument, and typically end up having to touch all the notes, and that too in quick succession at times. So the singers were sort of the 4th instrument in the whole act. It is a very tough ask, and took years and years of experience to do what we witnessed. We sat… and listened intently… and to be frank… it sounded weird! But, not one to make decisions based on first impressions, I tried to find and invoke a liking for this.

Opera Singer

Sometime into the performance a little earthquake started…. on probing for reasons… I saw that Fuzz (of all the people) had started giggling away looking at the Soprano singer, who was a thin, petite, beautiful lady in mid thirties! Apparently Fuzz couldn’t help imagining that the Soprano, resembled an ex-colleague of ours! Shilpi gave me a whack, asking me to stop shaking the seat! I pointed that it wasn’t me but Fuzz… and she was in for a shock. The shock was soon overcome by the appearance of the Baritone on stage. A proper Italian dude… long hair, black tux, black shoes… Shilpi melted away like ice in defrost mode! Now to say baritone guy was expressive would be an understatement! He gave all the expressions from ‘Ants-in-Pants’ to ‘Look Maah I am on TV’ to ‘ Marlon Brando in Godfather’, all in less that 10 seconds. And he was singing to us as if Italian and not Hindi, was our second language in school . Shilpi… had to be propped up time and again! Fuzz had completely lost it around this time… and he was re reading the handouts for the 10th time, biting his hand to control his out of control funny bone! Both Amar and I had contracted the Giggle-virus from Fuzz and were soon like fish out of water! I was particularly in a bad state, with sighs on one side and giggles on the other! Amar, after futile efforts to find a pen to write something than look at the singers, finally walked out after three-quarters of the show… I think I saw blood! An old lady turned and glared at me… I didn’t even breathe, afraid that my breath would knock her head off, and inturn cause a landslide of frail limbs. 25 didn’t seem like a good age to go to prison with multiple homicide… plus I was yet to find my elusive she-Floydian!

The highlights of the day… Figaro! Brilliantly sung… we all applauded enthusiastically! Another particular piece that I liked(and knew) was used as a soundtrack in one of them Wong-Kar Wai Films. Mother of all performances, came in the form of some exquisite free gelatos at the venue… We did hear music with every scoop! Having said that … I am game for the next Opera in town! And perhaps… just for the kick of it… we should sit in the front!

PS: Name of the Opera and it’s singers have been with-held to avoid a lawsuit!