Monday, 24 September 2012


“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve begun our descent into New Delhi and we should be landing within the hour. Could you please fasten your seatbelts and begin wrapping up – believe us, you won’t be able to use the lavatories soon; If it makes you feel any better, our cabin crew will be making the rounds to make sure you can get rid of whatever loose items are around you. The time at our destination is 4.45am and the temperature is hovering around 21 degrees – we hope you had a pleasant time flying with us and we will update you with baggage carousel details once we land.” 

It all depends on who you are.

If you’re me, you’ve already heard this one too many times. You’re tired of hearing it. If you’re you, however, this is probably the most exciting thing to pass by your ears in months. I respect that. I envy that. I really do.

It is, indeed, 4.45am and I’m looking at you, but you don’t know it. The colours in the sky are turning and I’m sitting on the ledge at Boheme.

Boheme is home to me. It’s a little rooftop café – that’s five floors up in the middle of Huaz Khas Village. To me, it’s more a part of the sky, than it is – a part of the city.

It sounds cheesy, I know – but some of the best times I’ve had this year – have been up there. I wouldn’t think about it twice though. Given a long enough timeline in Delhi. I’m sure some hipster cunt will bring you up here. It’s an inevitability. It really is.  I think it’s unfortunate.

So – the ledge.

All through the morning and the afternoon (and probably the evening as well) people put their drinks and their meals on this wooden ledge. The lean on it, they put their cameras, phones and elbows on it – but they won’t sit on it. They won’t sit on it – because it’s far too intimate a reminder of the five stories that they’ve climbed. It’s a long way up – but a ridiculously short way down. It all depends on the route you take – but then again, it’s 4.45 am and nobody else is here – apart from me – and the owner (or one of them.). Maybe you’re looking at me – and I don’t know it. Either way, I’m lying down on the ledge now, staring straight up at the stars and staring straight up at you.

I’ve just finished playing a gig.  Well – 'just' being a few hours ago. You’d think I’d be on a high – but I’m not.  I think you’d be on a high, too – and maybe you are – though what do I know – because, if you had any sense to you – you’d think I was on one too. It just goes to show what we all know. 

I did play well tonight. Under the circumstances, you could say that I exceeded my own expectations. You did pretty great too, I bet. We both left our comfort zones for a little while. Perhaps you more substantially than I. Everything was just fine – until that point we both decided to just put ourselves out there. Not because we needed to, but just because that’s what makes sense to us. Because sitting still, is just No Good.

You know, I’m still looking at you and what’s more, is that I do envy you.

I finished playing a while ago. A few hours, even. I’ve had a lot to drink since then – but that doesn’t seem to make much of a difference to anything. I’ve seen quite a few people go by, but somehow You’ve got my attention and you don’t even know it.

It’s quiet up here. It always is – and tonight it’s cold. You’re blessed before you even touch the ground. That’s how this city weeds people out. With it’s weather. If you can cut here it, babe, you can cut it anywhere.

I’ll be honest with you – while I sip on my beer and try not to shiver in the middle of September – I do hope the job that made you come here, the boyfriend who you’re chasing, the spiritual chasm you’re trying to fill, the holiday you just need to have. I hope it works for you. I really hope it does. I don’t know You, but I do want that for you. I want you to be happy. I hope you find yourself – or at the very least, what you’re looking for. I hope you can scratch that fucking itch that’s so hard to reach.

Meanwhile -

I’m sitting here tonight – wondering what it means to improvise. The basis of everything I do. Apparently, I play jazz – that’s what they tell me. It also seems that I’ve been doing it for a while. So, I’m wondering what it means to play hundreds of gigs, with hundreds of thousands moments of spontaneity – some so divine that they border on the edge of spirituality itself – and some making less sense than the babbling of a baby – but I realize that at the end of the day – the two level each other out – each of them coming back to the same home; rendering the two of them as full and as devoid of meaning – pending only to your perspective.

Like a spoon of sugar in a glass of hot water - the question will lose it’s focus – from improvisation – to everything else, but neither of us have that time. Your plane’s about to land – and you haven’t finished your movie yet. They’ll cut that off, anyway – but maybe you should wrap up that form.

I wonder if you’re hesitating. I doubt it. Why would you, if you’ve come this far. Right?


You know, love -

It’s the same paradox, that makes me look skyward – to you – and at you. While you glide down – one amongst thousands - while the other 259 people around you feel moreorless the same thing.  Everything you’ve left behind, I’ve already lost – and everything you’re going to gain – I hope to find some day.
We’ll probably never cross paths, you and I - but I do hope you find what you’re looking for. You don’t know it and neither do I, really – but we’re on the same page.

You’re looking at me – and I’m looking at you.

Reminding each other that there’s a world larger than ourselves out there.

“Cabin crew, please take your seats for landing..”

I want you to be happy, I really do. 


Monday, 26 December 2011

Analyze That.

T he feeling is all too familiar – your eyes open and you feel awake from the inside out. The only hanging traces of sleep being: the taste of mint in your mouth – and the feeling of sandpaper behind your eyes.

It’s just about half past four – and I’m up all over again – after falling asleep at 2. I should really stop doing this – if only by virtue of the fact that it’s becoming an all too typical way of me starting my blog entries. I’d hate to get predictable – but then again, who isn’t.

I’m overcome with an impulse to write – it could be words or it could be music; but the feeling of being awake at this time – is a lot like the time itself.
It’s in-transit. Two steps too far from the night and three steps too close to the morning. Write words – what about? ; And write music – what for?

Unlike most people – I don’t ask myself the big questions when the lights are out. I don’t think I’ve asked myself those ones in a long time anyway. Maybe I’m otherwise occupied. Maybe, I just don’t care.

The special thing about tonight though – was a dream that I had – that was more vivid than most. I remember while I was studying a lot of Philosophy – ‘dreaming’ was a recurrent theme that was used to indicate the fallibility of human perception. “How do you know you’re dreaming/you could be dreaming right now/so how could you know anything?” – anyone whose seen the Matrix has been over the:– “Have you ever had a dream so real..” so on and so forth.

Though I understood the argument in principle, I never did agree with it on a personal level – only because (and this is by no means a logical argument) of a very distinct difference that I felt in the texture of my dreams – as opposed to the texture of reality. This particular dream tonight, however, was as close as I’ve come to being more or less convinced that I was awake.

The setup was simple – I was in a room with two drummers I know [names withheld, I bet no one will ever guess]– one of them was on a kit and the other one was on a piano – and I was standing with my bass. There was music playing through overhead speakers somewhere and I can’t remember what it was now, but the drummer on the kit was playing along with brushes – while I was standing alongside the one on piano – and the two of us were looking at some sheet music trying to make sense of it. All of a sudden, the room begins to get colder – and darker. Rapidly.

I know this room like the back of my hand – so I put my bass down – and I walk to the switchboard and I start hitting the switches. I want to put the lights on and the fan off. I can still feel the plastic on my fingers – the capacity for the human mind to preserve sensation is something that blows my mind every day. No lights come on and the fan won’t go off.

The room’s beginning to turn a shade of dark you cannot find in cities - and I’m stumbling and tripping over things. I tell them I’ll go put some lights on outside and I fumble out. What was an uncomfortable cold breeze of the fan – has become an icy chill. I walk to the next set of light switches and I start hitting at them frantically. Nothing changes – but the fan gets faster. Deafeningly, so.

I’m beginning to fluster and I reach in my pocket for my keys and the little torch on it – I fish it out and start holding the button down like it’s going to save my life. The pocket torch won’t work either and my confusion’s begun to evolve into panic.

It’s beyond pitch black – the fan stops, the music’s gone and my heart’s begun to race.

And then that’s it.

It holds like that for about a minute – and hangs there – with nothing more than an acute awareness of itself;

I finally snap out of it and I'm up. My heart’s not in my chest – if anything, it's beating slow. I reach over and hit the lights. Tonight’s a lost cause.


I remember watching that movie – ‘A Waking Life; I remember when the protagonist asks one of the experts in the movie how to tell if he’s having a lucid dream; the expert asks him to try hit a light switch.


Our minds are capable of a lot while we’re dreaming – all sorts of flying and fucking.

However, we never did get a good hold of the brightness controls.

Lighting – it seems – is not our forte’.

You can jump off a skyscraper – but you can’t crank the dimmers.

It’s just something we can’t do.


It's an hour later than I started.

4am: An empty canvas for your creativity – it’s just no fun if your brushes blow.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A Little Needed Desafinado

It all starts when some company (lets say, Company A) – that suffers delusions of immense grandeur decides to host an event. It could be a conference – or a brunch – or – if we’re being adventurous with our imagination: a little wine and dine sort of thing.

In the process of all of this, Company A reaches the unanimous decision that their ‘event’ must really be something special – something that sticks out and sets it apart from all the other little wine and dine sorts of things their clientele might go to. They begin to brainstorm about what they could do to really hype up their party. Something to make it as elite as they see themselves to be. What could give it that touch of classy ZING!

Here is where many things go awry.

Here is where some genius fogey cunt (most likely the CEO)- whose only ever heard half of Dave Brubeck’s "Take Five” – most likely in some C grade two bit Porn flick – decides to have a jazz band at the event. Later this will be communicated back to me or some other poor sod I play with as:- “The CEO loves jazz! Infact, when he popped out of his mum’s womb, he was humming Girl From Ipanema!”

Here is also where I will have to grudgingly admit – that my world goes round. These are the gigs that put fuel in my car and junk food in my stomach. They also happen to the gigs that pay for the electricity – as well as all the other good that I don’t get upto.

I need these gigs like doctors need the terminally ill.

Now, when most people of the aforementioned variety ask for a jazz band – they’re really asking for a saxophonist; if not that – then they’ll settle for a vocalist (female, mind you.) – and at the very bottom of the rung, is probably a pianist. They don’t really see the trios and quartets made up of people who’re going back and forth to rehearsals, working on tunes – etc. We’re more like music boxes that keep can tossing out tunes, really. “How hard could it be to play that guitar young man, why all you have to do is pick it up and [insert shag motion here]”. I don’t blame them for under-valuing art. Know the price of everything but the value of nothing, as they say.. but that’s Okay. It changes with time and education (perhaps).

At this point I'd like to abandon the Corporate side of this story and come back home.What I’d rather focus on – and really what this whole post about is the problem of musicians who under-quote for the same events (events that have declared us as f***** even before we played our first note)– or accept quotes lower than they should. Now this is something that is a little more complicated and definitely very relevant.

Musicians could do it for a number of reasons. Perhaps they’re getting something other than money from the gig– usually it’s exposure that might lead to other gigs; at other times the cause can be a lot less noble – and they could simply just been be feeling financially cornered and aren’t in a position to say no to a gig. I’ve been in both the aforementioned situations before – and I think almost every one I’ve ever played with has been too.

The most complex and really quite convoluted reason though – is out of low-self esteem; a self-efficacy kind of thing. A situation where a band sells itself short – or feels that it shouldn’t charge over a certain amount because it simply doesn’t (in some larger sense) ‘deserve’ it. I know this feeling well, because I’ve had a long tryst with it myself. From what I can tell, it usually comes from traveling and meeting musicians abroad who are far richer than you are – in the talent/skill/ability department – but far poorer in the sense that they are constantly bordering on destitution.

The clash and contrast raises a feeling for some musicians that almost borders on embarrassment – and the very lack of competition that makes it possible for them to make a living out of music in Delhi – makes them choke when they are asked to state a price for a gig.

Right from the get-go it’s important to clarify that a lack of competition shouldn’t end in complacency. There isn’t ever an excuse to stop rehearsing – or stop churning out new material – and as long as a band is making a genuine effort to push itself – a lack of competition in it’s strictest sense – shouldn’t have such a debilitating effect.

Also – every band or bandleader needs to sit down and do some basic mathematics. Especially bands that have members that are living alone and supporting themselves and/or others (like yours truly).

Sit down and look at your bills! The price of fuel has almost doubled. 6 months ago, it cost about 12oo to fill you car up – today it borders on 2400; Hold it alongside with where your rehearsal and frequent gig spaces are – and the distances between those spaces and your homes; charges for electricity have spiked up too; forget how much it costs to go get a cup of coffee.

The amp that I bought at the start of the year for 8k now costs 14k. You could get an an instrument cable for less than 300 when I picked up the bass and today you’d be a lot closer to spending a thousand on something as stupid as that – than further away from it. Do you rent rehearsal spaces? What about that? Everything costs more – except the performance fee of the band!

No one is saying charge exorbitantly at every opportunity that presents itself – Don’t go about exploiting people but make a fair assessment! Don’t run yourself and your band into the ground! Don’t Get exploited!

Having said that, it’s really just a question of perspective and I think this is really important.

The fact of the matter is – meeting that extremely talented musician* in the United States – or in Europe – or wherever it is - shouldn’t cripple you. Quite on the contrary – it should push you – but what it absolutely must Not do – is make you forget where you are and where you were while you were learning (read: teaching yourself how to play).

*Mind you, I’m not talking about the greats of the jazz era who grew out of poverty and were born and brought up in the jazz Diaspora – but that guy who played jazz through high school – and then went to NEC/Berklee/New School whatever.

Our situation here in Delhi is unique in the sense of the obstacles that we’ve had to encounter while learning to play; while it was unsupportive parents for some – it was a demoralizing and apathetic society for the rest of us.

Pre-youtube musicians read on: A lack of instruction; barely any teachers; no school programmes; a non availability of instruments ; almost No venues; No press coverage; a lack of formalized and systematic education for any stream other than classical music (I was taught modes before I was taught the fucking major scale!) ; it was uphill more than it wasn’t’!

But that’s done and you’re still here ! We’re still here and we’re still playing – and we made it through. Now there is no lack of resources – some would ever say there’s a flood. There are music stores and schools everywhere. Some of my best friends are great teachers who work for/or have started schools that use jazz as a medium of instruction; For the first time, there are a dozen venues for a band to push itself forward and a startup has a million ways to launch itself.

It’s Such a Gorgeous time to be playing music – and we deserve to be here and to make the most of it.

No two ways about it.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Travelling Without Moving


It’s earlier than I’d care to share and I’ve woken up shamefully responsibly for some one who is self-employed. To top that, I’m qualifying that self-employment with the idea of trying to play jazz – and this , is no hour any (insert creative field here) should have to see. Unless ofcourse, you walk into it, by not sleeping at all. It’s 8.30am (ah ha you office goers and corporatei, you) - the dogs are barking and the construction on the other side of my window, which my mind has blocked out like a childhood nightmare, is picking up.

While the rest of the world out there, beyond my four walls, is busy crashing and burning their way through showers, breakfasts and traffic, I’m sitting on the floor of the house’s spare room, leaning against the wall with my ears cushioned with headphones. It’s like being held by sound. It’s a feeling I’ll never take for granted. [Boston sunset].

I converted the spare room (Nico!) into a mini-studio/practice room. The bass is lying infront of me on a rug that I bought just for it, there are microphone stands, microphones, cables and sheets of music strewn across from yesterday’s rehearsal.

More than music-related paraphernalia, there are pieces from a million miles away, everywhere.

I look straight ahead and I see some of the sheets I printed out for the Calcutta tour a little over a month ago. I met this fab guitar player who setup a series of shows for us and found me a bass. We played a whole bunch over a week and had a crazy good time doing it. It was the first time I travelled as an independent musician, without a band and without a bass. I saw every inch of that city, drenched in rain and soaked in humidity, trying to find a bass that I could play. I went through five before I found one that worked. It was beautiful.

Within a month of getting back to Delhi, I got restless again - and after a gig with Syncopation, I decided to fly out to the States. I booked my ticket and three days later, I was out. I spent about 5 days each, in a bunch of different places – living with different people.

I look to my right and I see my unpacked suitcase. Still relatively unpacked. Still refusing to allow the introduction of some distance between the present and the past three weeks.

I look to my left, the desk is littered: with boarding passes, bus passes and train passes. With coins from here, there and everywhere – with a chain of keys that I found at a park in New York at 2am, in the rain - under the light of the empire state building, sitting there left behind. I couldn’t resist picking them up. Some poor bastard probably had a bad night. He/She can’t begin to imagine where their keys are.

There are folded up bits of paper, with phone numbers, addresses – of places I stayed and places I wanted to pop into. Bills from things I ate – and predominantly, drank.

My restless fingers even nicked two hair-bands from a friends’ car, in the States. One electric blue and one neon yellow – and now they’re intertwined and tagged to the keys of my, earlier, very black backpack. The same backpack that more than half gave in when I was walking upto my gig with Red last Friday. I flew in at 5.30 in the morning from SFO and ended up having a gig the same night. It was one for the keeping. The backback however, needs to go.

Even on the corner of this computer screen, I have open the event page for a gig Syncopation has this coming Friday - on the 26th of August. It’s at the same venue our last gig was. It’s called Circa 1193 and it’s right next to the Qutub Minar. My first gig there, was with Drift on a fucking’ cold, windy and foggy December night. I still remember watching the planes fly right over us as we played – and the Qutub looking like you could reach across and touch it. It might be a bit much, but I think it was a full moon out that night too.

All these parallel existences – past and present, here and everywhere else. All I have to do is take one second to think – of people, gigs, musicians, places – that have come and gone. There is so much love, so much life and So much light.

The only thing I’ve ever wanted from life – and the only thing I still want, is some semblance of an extraordinary existence. I don’t know what that means and what that might feel like, but as I sit here, with my eyes half closed, with a stupid smile on my face from the ridiculously gorgeous music I’m listening to, I can’t help but stop for a second and think, that I am so, so grateful, for every single moment.

As a parting note: I rented a bass while I was in San Francisco. My lovely aunt had the pleasure of returning it to the store after I left, this is the email that she sent me. It’s made my day twice over:

“Well, I have to admit I have more respect for you and your less-than-obvious strength after having (wo)man-handled that ho of a bass into the car today and returned her to the brothel. How the hell do you manage in your car?! You did explain that she sits next to you but, really... Intense. And then the first thing she does around the first turn is slide around like some drunk. Luckily her pimps were perfectly happy with her condition so all is well. I'll suggest flute next time.”

... What more could I ever ask for.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

That Philosophy Degree's Gotta Be Lying Around Somewhere

You Know What,

I’ve had a pretty twisted equation with academics, especially over the past two years. What’s been more skewed has been my interaction with Delhi University. On the whole, I’m pretty sure that I enjoy(ed) studying and when I did start studying Philosophy, which was now almost five years ago, I knew I’d made a pretty good move. For whatever reason – maybe it’s just typical of the age/stage routine – I haven’t ever really thought of getting a job, or having a ‘career’, or really just committing myself to doing one thing for the rest of my life. Maybe there are a lot of people who feel the same way I do – or maybe there aren’t.

A large aspect of this is definitely associated with the fact that I’ve been fortunate enough to play the double bass and to play jazz in Delhi with some of the best musicians Delhi has to offer. Often the most resourceful, even. Owing to the fact that it’s such a niche’ – there’s always some kind of work going around. And since there aren’t ten thousand double bassists around, I’ve managed to be financially independent for the past two to three years, living alone, being very comfortable – to the point of faking occasional bursts of affluence.

Removing that career oriented pressure and that desire for independent financial resource - I always saw Philosophy and my own study of it, as something being very, very pragmatic and very therapeutic. A lot of it, was just really good for me. If you take it seriously, just to the right extent, it really helps you re-arrange your priorities. If nothing else, it really gives you a good idea of how a lot of the constructs around you are conventional – and they’re reinforced out of repetition. I find it’s important to remember that. It really is a toolbox to fix reality with it – or atleast confront it.

Having said that, there’s no lack of pure garbage in the larger gambit of what falls under Philosophical studies. From a Historical point of view, a large chunk of it – is really just argument for the existence of God; from a contemporary point of view – it is predominantly highly (and unnecessarily) specialized technical bickering. The modern formulations of Philosophy have dissolved any real accessibility – making it impossible for people who don’t have an extensive vocabulary of philosophical ideas – to even think about approaching the subject. Basically, there’s a lot of crap out there. Just like with any art or any exercise, every so often, there’s a really good idea, or a really good work of art that cuts through and makes you rearrange yourself.

I signed up for the MA programme at Delhi University shortly after I had gotten back from Japan. I thought I had a lot of time on my hands – which I did, for about four to five months, that was, right before I started playing with Drift.

Playing with Drift, daily rehearsals and bi/tri weekly gigs became a lifestyle and norm. Attendance at the Univ. was not compulsory – and in my eyes, anything but desirable. The quality of the few lectures I did attend reminded me of classes from the sixth grade. You couldn’t believe some of the junk that was taking the form of pedagogy. In any case, I had gotten too far in to really want to drop out - and aside from the occasional inconvenience of studying for an exam, or writing an assignment during a gig break and forking up a night or two of sleep, playing jazz was coexisting with the MA with relatively little tension. Academically speaking, I enjoyed the readings and as far as pure numbers and grades go, I was doing pretty great.

A week from now, my programme will be over – insofar as I would have given my last exam. I am relieved because I can stop multitasking – but what happens beyond that, in terms of results, is pretty shaky. I have never seen a system so arbitrary. So much so, that arbitrariness is the medium and mode of operation. It just depends on what side of scale you fall. Either it favours you or it screws you.
In my third semester examinations, I wrote four papers. Three of them were rock solid and water tight – one of them, was a little shaky, but only insofar as being not well articulated. My teachers failed me in two of four papers – not marginally but devastatingly.

Students who have no idea of what they’re studying, leave alone quality and content of writing, cleared the papers – and I have no shame in admitting that they had no business of doing so.

An Indian Philosophy teacher, who I got into a bit of a verbal altercation with a few months ago – over the question of attendance (and my subsequent lack of it) lost the plot and called me the symbol of a lost generation – one whose sole concern is with money. I was, according to her, the embodiment of all yuppie Eurocentric culture. In her first internal assessment examination, before this argument, I scored 12/15. In the second one, after this little argument, I scored 5/15. I’m curious to see what she does with my exam. (Apparently she gave another girl a really hard time for leaving her hair open).

There’s a part of me that should be furious – with this teacher and with those IIIrd semester results, but I can’t really say there is. It’s not that I don’t care about the subject – I’ve really enjoyed everything that I’ve gotten to study – but it’s hard for me, to get really worked up – and to take something that is so inherently a sham – so seriously.

In the past two years, I barely attended 12 lectures – and a majority of those were taught by my own Head of Dept. from Stephens. They had nothing to do with the University.

The only real sad thing here, is that there are kids (unlike me) who really want to be in this programme, who really want to go that extra mile and do that research and be good teachers or good philosophers – but they inevitably get held back. Either because the system fails to recognize their potential – or more often than not, because they refuse to give their third rate professors’ egos the blow job needed to do well in a course.

It really just is a perpetration of mediocrity. The same notes get recycled for the same damn three hour paper, for the same teachers who will assess you on the same basis of your ability to vomit the same rubbish in same resemblance of order.

The fact that I’m doing better or atleast as well, as those kids in class who’ve been attending lectures regularly, isn’t any testament to my intellect – it’s just a blazing exposure of deficiency on part of the University and it’s faculty.

In any case, I learnt a lot – and I met some interesting people, who I’m grateful for having met. One of them is going to do a month long internship under spic macay, towards being flautist; another one is headed off to Paris to do a second MA in social/economic development – and I know they’re going to do well, because they’re great people.

I’ve already gotten more from this programme than any system can take away.

One thing is for sure though, I’m no goddamn yuppie, bitch.

Monday, 25 April 2011

I Want To Ride My...

About two weeks ago I was killing time on the internet after a gig. Textbook stuff. A series of mouse clicks later - which couldn’t be summarized better than the sound of my mind falling down a flight of stairs, I some how ended up (bless the open market) at the website of a bicycle shop here in Delhi that sold bmx bikes. You know, those trick bikes? I always wanted one earlier on, but there was no way that I could ever find one in Delhi – and the hassle of importing one, was enough of a deterrent.

I had a small and lighter Bmx-like bike when I was in Tokyo and I could do some fun stuff on it, but at the end of the day, it was really an object of necessity with a purely functional role. Not to mention that it was old as hell, beaten to the ground and always one step away from turning to dust. The reason for this, was simply that
I had bought it within a week of reaching Japan, without having any pulse on the Yen. So – I bought the cheapest ass thing I could find. God, it was mustard and I miss it so much. It got stolen a day before I flew back to Delhi. Apparently some Japanese thieves have low less esteem.

I digress. Back to the webpage: the interesting thing about the bike was that it wasn’t all that expensive – mostly because I’m use upright basses as my normal reference of heavy expenditure (ha!) – and more than anything, it really looked Good. This might not seem like a big deal, Good with a capital G and all, but my usual interaction with material things in Delhi, that catch my eye at all, can be summed up in the phrase: “one step too far”. It was going great, but then someone threw some Panja-bling-golden-pink-happy-dragon-rainbow-sparkle on it and Blew it. Whatever unfortunate thing, ‘it’ was. The total icing on the cake was that the outlet was right behind where I lived. Divinity had spoken.

.. Now, Divinity is very shady about what it says and has shown a history of being deliberately ambiguous – so by the next day, the idea of buying it had begun to vaguely rationalize itself. The usual questions of where I could ride it and so on presented themselves - and the outlook didn’t look so good. The evening took a twist thought, when I was hanging out with a really close friend of mine. I happened to tell her about it – and to cut a long story short, for whatever reason, she decided to force (barely) me to buy it. So we went to the store, I saw the bike, it looked great – and she decided to buy me ten years worth of pending birthday presents in one go, so she got me the stunt pegs and a cushion and a bell. Tring – life was good.

Since I brought the bike home, I hadn’t gotten a chance to take it out much. It’d only been out a few times (again, just about barely). Mostly, this was because I was tied up with rehearsals and gigs – and really the only time one could really ride a bike out in Delhi (as a recreational activity), I would be fast asleep. Though I didn’t regret buying it, walking in and out of the house and looking at it made me wonder if it’s purpose was going to remain largely ornamental.

Today morning however, credit to my light sleeping habits, my eyes popped open at about quarter to five. I spent a little bit of time stalling and trying to get back to sleep – until I totally just gave up. I went upto the roof and man, it was beautiful out there. It was really breezy and the darkness had that light purple to it. I figured today was the morning to get that bicycle out.

It’s really light, so I carried it down and after being chased around by a few dogs – which woke me up just fine – I was out by 5.45am.
For those of you familiar with Delhi and with me, I live near a place called Gulmohar Park. I rode down upto Khan Market, which is pretty much just a long and straight – but very, very eventful road. Just in terms of urban activity. I tricked around a bit at the empty market and eventually turned around because it was starting to get trafficky. I was back home by 7am.

It’s strange, but no surprise. I went to school for two years, on the same road – and when I go swimming, I cross it every time. I’ve probably been up and down that road and through that area thousands of times, over the past five years – but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it like I did today.

I’m going to try make an occasional habit of this.

I wouldn’t mind company either.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Won't you sit for a bit?

One of the strangest things that I remember – and usually not so fondly – about when I used to live with mum and dad, was our family’s unique take on going out. Now by going out, I mean everything and anything that falls between the vast expanse of casual caffeinate-ing/dining on one hand and all out social brawls on the other. These ‘Outings’ with a capital O, used to happen about once a week and maybe (if I was lucky) twice (at most). Anything more would be considered akin to chaos.

The curious thing about these Outings, with a italic O, was that they were meant to sustain one’s desire to be in a social setting – or more simply – outside the home setting, for atleast a few days. So if you stepped out for coffee on a Tuesday, your desire to be out-and-about on a Thursday was pretty illegitimate. Now, naturally, because I grew up in these settings for about eighteen years, I began to think that these frequencies suggested and reflected a larger reality – and because I wasn’t in a coed school till the time I was 16 (who wants to hang out with other guys anyway) – it took me a while to cultivate my own social life and really rekindle the need to be Out - not to mention, really getting something solid to compare my own lifestyle to.

Every kid has their unique deafening realization when they talk to other kids and go through the “Wait, Shit, not everybody does that?” moment. On a side note: I long to capture this on film.

Digressing only momentarily: I realize the tone of this post is turning a little sour – and this is not my intention. My mum works as a senior paediatrician at a hospital here in Delhi and her schedule is no where near permitting frequent movement – both professionally and physically limit. Babies apparently fall sick all the time and it seems taking care of them, can leave you pretty drained.

My dad seems to work too – I would be more expressive - but in 23 years, I haven’t understood the finer intricacies of his job. I’m sure they’re as consuming as anybody else’s.

The thing is, the approach to movement here, is just a curious oddity of the Warsi/Salim household – as there are oddities for every household. Yeah, I’m talking to you, man. The only person who I think was a little restless when I was growing up, was my Grandfather. There was a point where I’m pretty sure he found it hard to sit still. God bless that attitude, it was like a breath of fresh air. You can’t start a fire without a spark. That’s what the boss said!

Looking Forward:

It’s been just about seven years since the time that I was awkward at 16 dating my first real girlfriend, who I naturally wanted to see not only on Tuesday and Thursday – but on whatever other days fell in the middle of all that too. As things turned out, once I got to college, things were nowhere closer to getting better. It wasn’t just about girls any more, but about bands and rehearsals that were as unpredictable as traffic. Cliché as it is, the older I got, the more belligerent I became. Apparently, school was only the beginning.

So began the seasons of our discontent: A series of fights followed by a series of resignations, melodrama, and ofcourse, how can we forget the teenage Pièce de résistance – Lying (though I will say, I haven’t ‘skipped’ school yet). Oh did I get good at lying. Man oh man.

Anyway, since those fun fun fun days I have adopted a policy of uncensored honesty. It’s harsher and at times more uncomfortable – but almost always - more efficient. In terms of experience: I’ve lived alone in Japan for a year – and have been living on my own ever since I got back to Delhi. Half way through this February it’s going to be 2 years. All of this, quite unsurprisingly, finds me in diametric opposition to the original oddity of the Warsi household. I find myself stepping out of the house anywhere upto 4 times a day (if not more) and driven by a restlessness that my grandfather might somewhere be secretly proud of. It’s a strange sort of restlessness that doesn’t settle with the coffee shop, but instead involves looming on travel websites with a debit card on the side.

Spontaneity is key.

The thing with exhaustion and subsequently, that feeling of ‘fullness’, is that the threshold always evolves. It’s like a drug. You need to do more, to feel like you’re, self-evidently, doing more. Between rehearsals and gigs – I’m always wanting to pack in more into a day - and I’m never quite sure where to find my fillers (or what they even are).

About two weeks ago I started playing squash – that’s given me a new toy for a bit, but the sensation is only momentary. Yesterday, I tied up a Snowboarding trip to Gulmarg, Kashmir – and over the past two weeks, I’ve played a bunch of gigs that should leave me feeling pretty good: we did one for absolut-art last sunday (there's a nice picture of it in today's HT city) and I also, Finally, got to play at Lodi's Garden Restaurant (big check of my to do list) but still, I

can barely stop twiddling my toes.

Not to sound ungrateful or anything.

It's the year of the Bunny and I am (as I imagine bunnies are) in search of : the Perfect Full Day.

.. to be contd (probably).