Thursday, January 05, 2012


May 2003. When I walked to the front door of the typical sprawling hauz khas house, space was an illusion. I stepped into a cramped up space where I could cartwheel twice to map the entire length of the room. On one side were three boys struggling with some graphics on the computers, and a long haired man in his cotton harem pants on the phone, who signalled me to sit. I looked around and found no place to settle down. So I clutched my knapsack in my hand to avoid crashing into anyone or anything, tapping my foot impatiently. The other side was occupied by a man with flowing salt and pepper hair, a smoke perched between his fingertips going furiously at his laptop. He paused, and looked at me amusingly, and smirked. “Tomorrow, 4.30 pm, Mezz. Be there.”

I almost choked out the words “What for?”

“Menwhopause are playing. Come and figure it out and write me an article for the next issue.”

I think i looked perplexed because he pushed his hair back nonchalantly and said “Ure wearing an AC DC t-shirt and holding your profound vomit of work in your hand. You’re not carrying a guitar so i assumed not a musician, *shrug* must be a writer.”

And no he wasn’t being condescending. He was just fuelled on passion, belief and taking chances. I first met him when I was 21.

Amit Saigal had dared to take a chance and a leap of faith in something he loved, believed and cultivated – music. This man, literally single handedly struggled for and created a haven for indian independent music ‘scene’. I would go to the length to say he’s a revolutionary of sorts, for constantly pushing the barriers, making exceptions, and providing a wealth of support to struggling musicians . Today, independent music is a flourishing scene, but Saigal gave this country its first music festival – the Great Indian Rock (GIR) in 1997.

Amit created a platform when there was none, he got bands gigs when there were no sponsors, he made collaborations happen, he encouraged original music, he was a friend, a toker and an occasional father figure to the aspiring musicians, he created a community that lovingly and aptly called him Papa Rock.

RSJ is truly an era. I’m not even sure when I boarded that train and when and if I ever got off it. I never ended up writing for RSJ besides that one article, but Amit had created something so pure, fresh and beautiful, which was like a little bubblebraid of music strewn all across the country in pockets where you could get together and celebrate music. It was almost a decade back and incidentally an entirely different generation, but it seems like yesterday , serpentine lines outside Hamsadhvani every January for GIR, randomness and ownage on RSJ forums, watching the bands grow from RATM covers to original setlists, 100 bucks an entry to a TC or Mezz gig (it was 50 at some point *chuckle*). Every single kid in that phase that got associated with RSJ, felt like they belonged with it, and shared the magic with one strong underlying sense of celebration – music .

This afternoon when I heard about Amit’s sudden demise, it felt like a wave crashing over asignificant period whose existence was threatened.And if you experienced that period, it just sucks the O2 out of you and creates a vaccum! It still seems surreal, the time travel to the fourth GIR , where AFS played for the last time, Themclones played with their initial line up with RJ as the frontman, and some 30 kids against the barriers wearing the same Kurt Cobain T shirt that they all probably bought at Pallika Bazaar *chuckle* It all comes back. I remember the RSJ forums – no holds barred explosive banter, GIR, Jazz Utsav, Pubrockfest where you wore your love for the music and the people on your sleeve, my first music documentary n a lot of other randomness. Lots of friends made, lots of bands came, played and disbanded, lots of different style of music emerging, growing, expanding. It was an addiction.

Somewhere the addiction wears off; you grow out of your phase, get preoccupied with your banal lives and trade your passions for a career. The friends I made here were also lost somewhere along the numerous crossroads . And today, while remembering Amit, all those moments, countless gigs, the madness, the rush of energy at GIR, the smoke of mary jane rising on either side of hamsadvani comes right back, as do some forum names – guitarsmash, sweating bullets, namesake, megadeath, GForce et al. ;)

Amit and RSJ represented, what we have forgotten and become oblivious to along the way. To take chances, to live in the moment and to just fucking LET GO. Most importantly, he dared to disturb the universe.

Most of you who haven’t been a part of this beautiful madness that Saigal created would think this to be juvenile, but this is what sucks the most about it. There won’t be another generation who would ever experience that again. Also it’s no longer a struggle or a revolution. Bacardi, Chivas, JD, Absolut have all joined the bandwagon. There will never be another day when the bands would go without a penny or a drop of alcohol. Dog days are gone. Sponsors in da house. The downside, it wouldn’t be the same anymore anyways. The romance has worn off. The brotherhood is jaded. The intimacy is lost.

Amit Saigal a.k.a Papa Rock. the era was magical, the legend will linger and thanks for rude reminder to take a chance, fly and let it go...once again and get on the crazy ride ;)

P.S: Some of you tagged i met through RSJ, some who've been dragged to GIR every year by me, some who worked on the documentary, and most i had lost touch with :) I just think THIS man definitely deserves a last GIR , done in absolute Papa Rock signature style – fully fantastic! Take a chance and make it happen?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

tHe bEauTifuL oNeS

Feels funny
Putting words on paper

The aroma of baker’s slice of fresh blue-grey sky
Through the filament curtain of rain
Could she be a muse?

I still struggle
But it’s hard to resist

The headrush of images
Clashes with the nexus of words
In space they float
On paper they play
A game so random,
In the trance however it makes absolute sense.

My feet against the wet grill,
the twilight sky in all it’s grey glory
Cleopatra in her morning bath
A mint glow
I smile
It makes me happy

A giant canvas
All colors in their brighter hues
Neurotic symphony in the colours and the headrush
A blur of random joy
I think.

It feels good to feel again

Rain, coffee, cigarettes
A tranquil equation of sorts
Opium for the mind

I let go

In my pipe dram
Comatose struck and sublime
The fingers curled and reached for the little drops
Against the grills
They released and let go
Feeling the feel
Totally overwhelmed

I’m humbled
I’m a broken mirror…

In your own company
There is another
Who shares the epiphany and the climax
And in silence you sit
Still struggling
With the inevitable
Checkerboard of vivid images
Music sheets of words

If I were Pied Piper
I could have led the mice
To the valley of transcendent evolution.

It still seems unreal
The canvas sky
The rain

I miss the banter

How were we to know
It feels strange

The radical rain still falls
The young sky is still vivacious
They all seem cheerful and animated/
The green brightens up cockily in appreciation
It all seems cheeky and playful

I must feel happy
But why am I still crying?

(background score: The beautiful ones – Poets of the fall)
“Why do we sacrifice the beautiful ones? Why when they walk with love alone?”

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

RaINbOw PumPkin

The rain nursed her
The spectrum of colours spoke to her
“I need you to stay” she faintly mumbled to nothingness
Stray tear gone astray.
Raindrops matched the trickle on her cheek
Violet skies against the smoke
Drew a panorama of monochromic world
Crowded with just shades
No trace of colour…
She smiled.
She blew the smoke on her window again
It recoiled back to her.
She opened her eyes…
The rain, the smoke, the violet
Monochrome reflections
Her impressions lay buried.
The deep indigo made her restless
Patience coiled itself against angst
Her fingers wrapped tightly against the wasted joint
Her other hand gently rested on the hardbound leather book.
The word inevitable blurted itself “hope”
Her fingers nervously traced through the rusted pages…
The faint rustle echoed through the room
The smoke escaped her lips
The ache was oppressive
The echo suppressed her
Another drag, another calm, another chaos
Another colour, another vision, another illusion
The faint blue of the rainbow
faded into the drizzle.
The green was brighter
Than the shy grass that hid itself from the window behind a fence.
She let the window open
She read out the poetry
The ash fell between the yellow fold amidst blurring words
The words …‘the shadow’ got soaked in her salty tears.
The flirtatious drizzle rushed in…
She smiled a weak smile
Another drag sent her into a momentary delusion
The cheerful yellow and orange
caressed her thoughts
A frozen iceberg
She saw the sunshine
She felt the rain
A bittersweet rapture
She sunk in the moment of release…
A rush of pain and ecstasy
The last line read “this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper”
She understood.
She felt alive.
Numbness sought a way out as the smoke rose above her eyes….
Grieving happiness engulfed the being that arose from above the illusion of surrendering
Her eyes shut themselves to capture the elusive moment…
A moment of desperation and hope…
She drowned in the pleasure
The rush of motley colours…
a kaleidoscopic climax…
the pinnacle of her release.
The red brought her death again….


Why is it presumed that the man always enjoys 'the chase'?
Why does the woman always have to play the vulnerable puppy?
Do men get intimidated if a woman reverses the law of gravity for tomfoolery?

It’s often presumed that a woman enjoys being chased. I don’t deny that women enjoy the attention. Women love the frills and the thrills that come with the pursuit. They love being pampered. They love being cajoled. They love the flattery. They love the smooth talk. They love the surprises. They love the cheekiness. They are sometimes totally pathetic puppies… they totally love to lap it all up, the attention, affection, addiction … in that order.

However change the equation the other way round. It’s not a first that a woman would attempt pursuing the guy …but it’s just a revolting venus attack to men. It totally knocks the socks off their cold feet! Is it the “ick factor” for the guy? What’s really remarkable is that he could be the ‘I dig intellectual independent women’ kinda guy sporting a torn che-guvera t-shirt, worn-out floaters under his casual jeans, boasting about his favourite author Simone de Beauvoir, and air-guitaring to led zeppelin’s black dog OR alternatively he could be at the extreme end of the spectrum kinda slick, suave chap with a laptop bag resting on the shoulder of his expensive Gucci blazor, a pair of bright white Puma shoes to top his golf gear in his walk in wardrobe, relishing his dream date of four course wining and dining baby …but the stick snaps when a woman offers to buy either of them a drink. Is it the conditioning that makes the ‘switch’ in their head go – “WTF!!”
While it nurses the male ego to be pursued; it’s an insulting mockery to their narcissist roleplay of the playboy

Is it that the man equates some kind of powerplay to his roleplay as an occasional Don Juan? Men believe they are connoisseurs of seduction. Their roleplay involves taking the ‘lead’…be it the car, the dance floor, in the board room, the menu order, the bed … wherever. Thus do they feel robbed of that power play if the law of seduction gravity is transgressed by the woman? Or do they feel their male gaze is affected in the process? Do they feel effeminate to be pursued? What makes them insecure?

But what if the woman prefers to pursue rather than be pursued? "Is it worth an attempt to pursue that superficial numbskull wuss?" Besides that numbing thought that crosses her mind, I don’t think she cares about the judgement thatz thrown her way so much, coz she’s taken a conscious decision to transgress the equation anyways.

But it baffles me when men nonchalantly assume that ‘the pursuit’ is their prerogative. But then, no one’s pursuit is so easily understood or dismissed – the man or the woman’s.

But the law of gravity of whose chase is it anyways continues to tightropewalk on the reed thin line of -
What does it take to pursue your object of desire - a preferred choice or a preferred gender?

Friday, August 29, 2008


It’s a heady cocktail…
A shot of Charm with a quarter of nonchalant idiosyncrasy, a pinch of wit & intelligence garnished with suave demeanor. It’s aptly called THE SLICK PFAFFER.

A cheeky grin to steal your attention…

A smooth introduction to reiterate his presence...
A playful invite to a tasteful drinking joint…
A casual, pleasantly flirtatious rendezvous over first drink...

Practiced moves of cha-cha cha and jive at the ghetto…

He’ll indulge the door, pull the chair, order you expensive wine, humour you at your rotten jokes, engage in your opinionated debates, diagress conversation with a mock-heroic one liner, glaze you on the dance floor, be immaculate in his appearance, be punctual at your date venue, compliment you on your new dress, will nonchalantly kiss you when you least expect it, will play by the book and transgress them when you least expect it, will know the names of all your friends and you’ll know none of his friends …

Meet the transitory toxic headrush – the slick pfaffer.

I call it momentary lapse in reason for its short lived association but an absolutely fantastic headrush. It’s like nebulous morphine that makes your head race through incessant impressions and illusions. You cant wipe the grin off your face until the drug wears off. And you are not necessarily willing to brush off the addiction after the occasional tryst with the tranquilizer.

Women often fall prey to the slick pfaffer syndrome. It’ll be unreal not to. But then is she prepared for it? You are never prepared for the onslaught of the slick pfaffer.
However, she knows the signs, she identifies him, she knows he’ll switch off after breakfast in bed yet she still wishes otherwise. It’s either a swift exit or a smooth headrush baby. This is when the headrush becomes a migraine at the end of the 5 day headrush.

I find them a queer but amusing species. They are confident. But they are rather insecure. They are charming. But they have their eccentricities. They are interesting … but just the first 5 days. You have nothing left to say except viciously repeat the conversation after the first few dates and the irony is the slick pfaffer assumes you’re having the conversation for the first time! ;) There is nothing admirable about them except their enhanced skillset . It’s an art of seasoned façade. Rather impressive. I’m not sarcastic when I say this, but I have seriously had some of the best conversations with slick pfaffers. They take their art extremely seriously and thus it’s rather interesting to have a holistic range of conversation with the from che guvera (ummm not many of them were aware of who he was) to blueberry cheesecake, to how Bush wronged the Iraqis!

But I don’t get the entire pretence. It’s the same practiced act with one after the other woman. I mean isn’t it a lil monotonous to have to conduct the same facade. What if they have a nasty cold and don’t want to perform on a critical first date? Can they afford to lose that first date impression? *chuckles*

Women are a rather quirky species too when it comes to their impulsive reactions to acquaintance with the SP kind. They delude themselves “this is too good to be true.” Then listen to your goddamn instinct woman!!!
Why do women hunger for attention, affection and addiction? Are they depraved?

I don’t mean to be degrading… but c’mon you can’t expect a slick pfaffer to go warm socks shopping with you for your cold feet. He just aint the kind.

Reality bytes:
He’s suave, not warm.
He’s nonchalant, not involved.
He’s into music, just not into your kinda music.
He’ll make a lil practiced effort; just dont expect nothing.
He'll make you feel like you own the elysium; but he aint sticking around sweetheart.
*shrugs* you gotta accept that they are just seasoned migration birds.
SLICK PFAFFERS are epicures of romance not the maestro of romance.
They perform. They don’t participate.
They appreciate the art and it’s finery. But they don’t possess the sensibility of the artist.

The peak of pathos about women dealing with SP’s is when they become oblivious to everything else if they get someone to treat them like the centre of their worlds. They omit the signs of disorientation. Or are they just pretending to keep up the pretense with the slick pfaffer?

It’s most unnerving to see women treating slick pfaffer idiosyncrasies as synonymous with perfection. The word perfection itself is an aspiration. It doesn’t exist in reality. Perfection falls under the optimistic category of words that inspires you to hope and expect and all that jargon that helps make this world a fool’s paradise.
The slick pfaffer is not synonymous with perfection but with fool’s paradise.

A relationship with a slick pfaffer is like a cheap drug addiction which wears off eventually. You are aware of it’s pretense and it’s evanescent nature. But you indulge in it for the headrush and the escape from mundane banal reality.

As long as you can avoid the 'still in transit' ambiguous hangover; they are harmless...
But just a final word on it - Slick pfaffer is the the tip of the iceberg; not the ice-breaker. He aint keeping you warm for long ;)

“Are you still gonna be my girl?” *chuckles*

Thursday, May 29, 2008

submarine smiles

The morning sun
She walked through the passage, a passage of light engulfed her
She bathed in the sunshine; let it soak in
Groping in darkness; the light was a welcome relief..but momentary, she knew.
It’s futile to fight the inevitable.
There are also two sides to everything…they say
But it’s a belief you need to restore or oppose.
Is it a choice or are you chosen?

The midnight lamp in solitary corner
He picked the pieces of rusted leaves in his book
He mused a while and succumbed to nostalgia.
He brushed it off and threw the leaves.
Making peace is a matter of fact; the confrontation is what some of us fear.
Is it pathetic or are we pathetic?

We react
We regret
We respect
My own space is most dear to me
Yet I want a few chosen to be a part of it
You can’t try too hard
You can’t be totally aloof
You can offer
You can dispose
Why do there have to be the can’s and the cant’s?

I’ve lost my humour
But then yours doesn’t amuse me either
Submarine smiles afloat…

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

the door ajar... year 2008

It was just so beautifully simple to walk in and be around the familiar place again; it felt surreal. It felt unreal to feel belonged and yet not belong there. It was so peaceful to focus and think and not run a marathon in my head. It felt liberating to not chase for direction. It was so easy to slip back in time. It was so comforting to imagine familiar faces and feel their presence in their absence. Each little space took you back in time. Each walking step reminded me of something that made you smile. There were lots of smiles.

It’s stunning how a place can make you want to sink in and never let go. And if you do let go of it and come back; it embraces you all over again. It‘s the most gratifying feeling I’ve ever felt.

This trip back to MICA wasn’t wild like our days on campus. It wasn’t intense. It wasn’t three days of getting wasted beyond comprehension. No dunking. No assignments. No conflicts. No ambiguity. No rendezvous. No work. Given the halt in time we were going after; it felt like déjà-vu. You knew you were there before but the time lapse of two years just vanished. You could feel the presence of people around you. The memories were just so fresh, as if being screened.

All of us who went back relived the good ol times with each other…the madness, the cuckooness, the taboo sessions et al…but what was most worthy of it’s time were solitary peaceful moments on the campus. That place has such a sense of belonging about it .. that it instantly cheers you up. There is a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. No restraint.

I know I’m going to fail miserably trying to put it in words…but I want to try so that I can keep coming back to it and reliving it…what Wordsworth called emotion recollected in tranquility.
A gush of stomach hitting nostalgia at the gate…
It swells you up.
A familiar route unfolds before you.
You know the twists and turns.
You head feels light….another drag
Each tree, each brick smells and looks the same.
It looks just the way you left it.
Dust might have invaded my room… but the door welcomed me and the walls smiled back…and it brushed off the dust from the oblivious memories of the entire year I spent there. My mind played games. The music played in my head. The blue lamp lit itself up. The posters on the wall perked up in acknowledgement of my presence.
I sat down and sank in the drag and the moment.
I walked down the door to through the passage and halted. I looked up. The same bright light hit my eyes.
The lights have a huge halo of expanding and contracting lights… another drag
The door ajar. Hendrix poster with spent joint was gone.
Walking down the brick and green lane, any moment I expected familiar faces to pop-up.
The door ajar. It was still the same. It seemed stuck in a moment. And so was I.

I walked ahead around the bend of amaltas. A barely lit brick road, a few drags and a few minutes walk to the open amphitheatre.

The lights were dim. A shadow play on the stairs. A circular seating. I climbed to the top stair.
It was half-spent. I re-lit it. I looked up and released the column of smoke into the wide spread of glitter twinkles above me. I stared too long and too hard. They changed shapes. They disappeared in clusters and appeared again. The smoke blurred their intensity and painted added to their form. So there was smoke shapes and twinkle shapes.
They were staring back at me. A mute conversation and david gray's freedom on loop. Blown!
They spun a web as I exhaled another passive drag…
It didn’t just feel surreal.. it was like living your present anonymously without any outside irritants.
A fantastic play of light and shadow on the stairs.
A tree that silhouettes itself against a lamp.
A sky on fire.

And every memory worthy of the place and my stay there; chronicled itself in a stream of consciousness narration.

I felt like I was within a movie and all the moments just clipped in frenzy editing played themselves against the vast screen displayed above me; the twinkles in the sky adding to their aesthetics. It was the most exquisite immortal experience. The closest I might have got to celestial awakening *chuckles*

Would I go back again?
I don’t know. I want to.

But a fear holds me back – fear of too much expectation. I might expect a similar experience and it might fail me.
But I’m still stupefied about how a place becomes primary and people or other familiar things become secondary.
MICA is one such place for me. It is ethereal in it’s embrace.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

passive acquiescence

Have u ever been stranded at a point when u say to yourself I don't know anything anymore!!!
Have you ever had this stomach pit hitting feeling that makes you want to sink and crouch yourself into a ball of nothingness.
Have you ever wanted to make trip to a hill .. only to stand at it's peak and shout your lungs out?
Have you ever been determined enough to make the mountains move to make things happen and nothing moves.
Have you ever browsed through your phonebook and found no one to call?
Have you ever just found yourself in the midst of questions with no answers?
Have you ever felt so lost amongst things which are familiar and intimate?
Have you ever wanted to weave a spider's web to trap your thoughts and not let them dissolve in oblivion?
Have you ever hoped that when you shut your eyes it all disappears?
I might sound neurotic .. but the final emotion destroys you.
It's a cuckoo climax. Delirious and quixotic. You believe you're a martyr.
It's a spinning film of emotion-motion anger, uncertainty, fear and trials. You want to escape it. You can't.

You're running a marathon in your head.

Passive acquiescence is an excruciatingly demanding task. And the obstinate self does not allow it. Atleast not easily.
I don't want anger. I don't want ambiguity. I don't want passive acquiescence.

If it was just about chivy; it's ultimate end would be inevitable hunt. You move on. But this is nothing like it. It's more approach and retreat and regret for not being able to make a convincing plea.
Have you ever wanted to never give up and just keep trying. You slack. Then try. You falter. Then try. You upset. Then try. You progress. Then try. You fear. Then try. You alienate. Then try. You end. Then try.

Is it the trying that's tiring? Will the mind's marathon ever end? Will you ever make peace with another again?
Will you finally surrender to passive acquiescence?