Friday, December 11, 2009

The Loyal Fan

1998 was a great year for the band. It was our first year as a band and no band could have asked for kind of opening gig that our band got. The opening college act for an anti-Nuclear protest/music festival which had the who's who of the local rock scene as well as the then biggies from the Indipop fraternity. After playing to a crowd of over 4000 people its kinda tough to keep your expectations low as performers.

We soon realised the Indian aam junta does not give a hoot about rock bands and live musicians unless they're playing Bollywood music. A time when this was never more apparent was when we were asked to do a show at a theme park called FantasyLand (which was like the poor cousin of EsselWorld). The organisers wanted three rock bands to play over the weekend. No problem from our end. In fact we were downright thrilled as this was our first paid gig. We ate dinner at a Chinese stall outside our Bandra hangout post the gig. I think the money just about covered that meal...

We were supposed to play on a Saturday. The day dawned and our car was this big ole Sumo arranged by my dad. It came with a driver too which we were more than happy about coz it meant an extra pair of hands to help out with the equipment. So we loaded the gear into the car and we headed to the venue. We set up our equipment and began soundcheck. The setting was the amphitheatre there and there was space for about 300 people to sit comfortably in there. About 100-120 people show up - mostly curious at hearing the sounds emanating from the soundcheck. The gig starts just as the sun is setting.
It wasn't a very great show to begin with. Within about 10-15 mins of us playing, the crowd realised that we weren't going to play Hindi music (We did later but by then it was too late...). And they obviously weren't fans of Stone Temple Pilots or the Goo Goo Dolls, so about 45 mins into the show we're down to about 30 people in the audience!

By this point in time we didn't care either. There were technical issues with the sound, guitar strings which broke and were being fixed on stage... well you get the picture. And of course people continue to filter out of the amphitheatre. So now we're pretty much getting to the end of the gig and there's about 12 people left at the end of the 90 minutes or so that we were up there. The break up of 11 - 5 of us in the band, 1 organiser, 2 sound guys and 3 of Zeus's college buddies who'd come from all the way from town to show their support. The gig got done. Our friends clapped for us. We heaved a sigh of relief that the torture was finally over and started to get our cables and equipment together. Afore-mentioned buddies also come onto the stage and are generally shooting the breeze with us as we get our shit together. The stage lights are still on so we can't quite see into the empty seats out there.

Zeus's buds: Great show man... nice one guys...
Us: yeah thanks dudes... it wasn't a 'rock band friendly' crowd but what the heck...
Zeus: if nothing else we played for you guys.. our fans... exclusively!
Zeus's buds: haha yeah right... truly honored... Not! but hey we have to tell you there is one guy out there who seems to be a hardcore fan of your band. (pointing into the stands) can you see him there?!
Us: what? really?!
Zeus's buds: For sure man... he was here when we got here in the beginning. I mean even during soundcheck he was sitting in the same seat. People came and went... but this guy he didnt move man. He seems to be totally into the stuff you guys were playing. See see he's still sitting there...

By now all of us peering intently to spot this fan...

Zeus: Him?!... oh fuck...  that's just BF's driver (!!)

And thus ends the tale of our loyal 'fan'. Disappointing gig to be sure but I guarantee every single guy from the band reading this one is smiling right now :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Unfun in the Capital

Hello my babies!! (always wanted to start a post like that... looks kinda gay on second thoughts)
This is a story from the good ole band days. We were selected to play in a Battle of the Bands episode of SaReGaMa in 2000. The band back then was me (vocals), Zac (guitar), aHart (guitar), Goose (bass), Satch (keys) & D (drums). This trip would have culminated in the brutal murder of aHart by Goose on our last evening in Delhi. Now aHart is a talented guitar player and sings pretty well too. We all love the man but he has some completely daft moments which even he cannot explain. Read on...

Prologue (one heck of a long one to get to the punchline)

We were shooting in Noida and were put up not far from the studio. The trip had gone pretty badly for the past three days we were there. The schedule was soundcheck & practice on Day 1 followed by the actual shoot on Day 2. Our last day was free and we'd kept it for sightseeing in the capital and possibly the Taj.

Day 1 - Completely chaotic scenes in the studio. Bands from all over the country have come in and are all over the place. No one knows what anyone is supposed to do, where we are supposed to go, when we are to soundcheck etc yada. The first day turns out to be a complete waste of time. At the end of Day 1 we are told, we will be shooting on Day 2 so be there by 10am sharp. We're kinda bummed coz we knew that now our sightseeing plans weren't going to pan out.
Day 2 - Lesser chaos but no one knows anything! We are continously told from 11am onwards that we will be shooting in an hour. This goes on till 5pm. A little after 5:30pm we are told there's going to be no shooting today since it has been postponed to the next day. We're already irritated and frustrated with all the delays and disorganisation so we head back to our digs and on the way pick up a bottle of vodka. Almost the entire bottle is finished by the end of the night in an attempt at drowning our frustrations (with the shoot and losing a day we could have spent going to Agra) and our sorrow (at being denied a chance to tour Delhi and visit the Taj).
Day 3 - We supposed to start shooting at 11am. We end up shooting at 8:30pm! So you can imagine the state of mind. We had a setlist of songs prepared according to prior instructions given by the makers of the show. Now an assholic judge in the form of one Shantanu Moitra decided we were a cocky band from Bombay who needed to be taught a lesson (I don't know for sure but this is the vibe I picked on from his fuckin' attitude) so he kept asking us to do random material which we obviously hadn't prepared for. It got to a point where despite explaining to him that we weren't prepared to play his 'requests', he wouldn't take no for an answer. I admit I lost my cool here and gave him a piece of my mind... politely of course. Things just went downhill from there and we ended up losing to a Lucknow based band, which in all honesty, I can say we were better than. I don't think the band has ever been as upset with me as they were that night.

So anyway everyone is totally mindfucked. We all decide we need to get seriously tanked and obliterate the memories of this day. Of course all the damn booze shops around are shut and its not even 10pm! We enter a 4 star hotel and ask the bar for a bottle but are turned down coz it was 10:15pm and the bar closes at 10pm. By now, tired - physically and mentally, all we can think of is getting back to the apartment and ending this miserable day. While in the car we suddenly realise there is still a tiny bit of vodka left from the previous night. So a little more cheered up we head to the room. We find enough vodka for 2 pegs and given the day/s we've gone through no one minds that two drinks will have to be shared among 5 people (aHart being the non-drinker). The plan is to wash up, change and then have our drinks, eat dinner and get to sleep.

Me, Satch, Zac and D are playing some cards to kill time while aHart heads to the kitchen where Goose is making our drinks very lovingly and carefully. A minute later, we can hear loud screaming from the kitchen...
Goose: You bastard!!... bhench**d!!... what the fuck is the matter with you ch**t???!!!!
aHart: err... sorry man... shit... I... sorry bhai
Goose: (more gaalis... full on maa-bhen stuff)

All of us have by now rushed into the kitchen to find out whats going on. It seems Goose had carefully measured out the two pegs in two glasses and kept them near the sink while he turned to get the ice and mixer from the fridge on the other side of the kitchen. While his back was turned aHart came in and threw the contents of both glasses i.e. the vodka into the sink and turned towards Goose with one empty glass in his hand. By now even we are befuddled at aHart's actions...
Goose: (still on with the maa-bhen but at marginally lower decibel levels)
Rest of us: But aHart why did you chuck the vodka??
aHart: sorry guys, I only wanted to get a drink ofwater and needed an empty glass...
Goose (who by now is being physically restrained by us): OK if you... one person... needed to have some water... why the f-u-c-k did you chuck BOTH the glasses??!!!?!!

So that was our last night in Delhi... without a drop of alcohol and lots of Sprite in our systems. aHart to this day is unable to adequately explain his actions from that night. We of course just giggle it off as one of his more spectacular blonde moments (and he's had a few...).

This post goes to my boys... to those times - good and bad.

Must you think we are wierd
Shave our heads, grow our beards
We could live with our folks
If it weren't for their talks
Feel my shoe in your face
That is why we're out of place!

Out of Place still rules!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

One night at the movies

The CEO, Madman and some others head to the movies to watch Love Aaj Kal. Once they get there, the CEO splits from the group since he wants a bite to eat. 20 minutes later everyone is sitting and watching the movie. Except that everyone is not necessarily sitting together!

Read on...     (CEO is in grey and Madman in green)

Couple of things... When he says 'chute', the CEO is of course referring to the nether regions and not the splatter-avoidance device deployed by skydivers. And yes... the man was executing plans to buy stock while watching a movie!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Indigo and other colors

The one year anniversary of this particular story happened a couple of weeks ago so I thought I'd jot it down.

CEO decides that he needs to have a major blowout on his 29th birthday. He asks the gang for suggestions on where the celebrations can happen for the big event. After shooting down several options, the Madman finally tells the CEO to shut his trap, open his wallet and leave the rest of the planning to him. The final decision is to have a boys night out at Indigo in Colaba.

The evening starts off early at the CEO's house with a few stiff drinks. The remaining alcohol is carried in papercups and we load into the two cars (no stupidity btw - we had drivers) and we're off.
Everyone orders their respective drinks. After a couple of rounds, someone (this was either Alex or Sam or CEO) calls for shots. Since the CEO was giggling about money not being an object, of course Alex decides we cannot do with mere Smirnoff so all shots are to be made with Belvedere! The Bartender dutifully sends over half a dozen Belvedere Kamikaze shots in a bucket.

After that first round of Kamikazes, Sam and Alex developed a twitch in their arms. Everytime we were done with our shots, their arms would fly into the air and jerk and point at our table signaling for more shots to come in. Now do keep in mind that our regular drinks are also being drunk by us at the same time. Post the 2nd or 3rd round of shots, the Bartender decides that we're a bunch of fellas determined to get plastered so he decides to nudge us in the right direction. How you ask? By adding free shots to each subsequent bucket that's coming to our table! To give you an idea of the insanity, (remember there were 6 of us), by the time the last bucket of shots was got to the table, there were 14 testubes in it. F-o-u-r-t-e-e-n!!!

Highlights of the Night:-
# 1 - The Fight that never happened
The CEO, the Miner and me headed to the little boys room. A fourth random dude (FRD) was doing his business in the corner when our more than tulli CEO says a few words primarily to us but to which FRD takes mild offence due to CEO's not-so-French vocabulary. And he quietly says to the CEO to watch his language. Me and the Miner thought that was fair enough becoz well... the CEO does speak terrible French. There's about 10 seconds of silence which follows and then before you can say "Can I have a repeat of my drink?", the CEO starts to shout loudly - questions along the lines of (the completely logical-when-drunk), "What the Fuck are you saying huh??!!... What THE F-U-C-K are you saying m****ch**d??!!!!??"
Next thing I know the CEO is literally lunging towards the poor guy and I had to body block the man before he did some serious damage. Now I outweigh the CEO by a good 40kgs and am a good 3-4 inches taller than him, despite that I barely was able to hold onto the man. He slammed me into the damn handdryer so hard, that my arm which took the worst of it was bruised for the next couple of days.
By then the CEO has this whole ankhon-mein-khoon-utar-gaya type of look! Which was so disturbing that another guy who came in, took one look at the CEO and promptly fled! :D

# 2 - Davaa Daaru
Before the party begins...
CEO (already 3 drinks down): listen Madman, I'm on medication man... don't let me have more than a couple of drinks.
Madman: er... OK

Halfway thru the party...
CEO (5 drinks and a few shots down): Bro, you just order whatever maaannnn... Get the 18 year old Talisker and the damn Cubans too!
Madman: But... dude... they're freakin' expensive!
CEO: Fuck that! Maal lao!!
Madman: er... OK

Waaayyy into the partayyy...
CEO (you dont wanna know): You sshou... I ssh... shouldnt be drinking coz I'm supposed to be on medication...
The Bartender at that moment puts a bucket of shots onto the table.
CEO (lunges for the bucket, grabs a couple of testtubes and puts it into his shirt pocket!): Thisshh is Mine!
Madman: er... OK

# 3 - The 'After Party'
We're all standing at the entry waiting for our cars. Alex. Madman and Miner get into one car and CEO, Sam and me get into the CEO's car. CEO is riding shotgun with Sam behind him and me behind the driver. There are lot of cars waiting to drop/pick people so our cars are still waiting for the traffic in general to move. Lots of crowd waiting outside. All the pretty SoBo lads and prettier lovelies are standing outside Indigo. I rest my weary drunk head and am able to see the CEO... Barfing outof his window! heehee... I can barely move my head but I want to share this giggle-worthy moment with Sam and as I slowly tilt my head to call out to him.... BARF!! Sam's joined CEO as well.
Watching the pretty SoBo crowd going Eewwwwwww in unison - Priceless!!

#4 - The Fight that could have happened
Alex being Alex is always looking to score and even when he isn't he just can't help himself. While talking to the Madman, Miner and some random MILFish woman and an oldish gentleman who're complete strangers to us btw...
Alex (who's obviously high... nudgin Madman): But she's damn pretty na?!
Madman (embarrassed): er... bro... just be cool...
Alex: arre... its not like I said anything bad right?! (turning to the other gentleman) Right?! I mean its not like I said anything wrong man... She is goodlooking y'know...
Miner (turning to the same gentleman): Hey I'm sorry... He's obviously a little drunk... he's just being silly... I apologise on behalf of him to you and your wife. (!!)

Total Bill for the night - 70 K
Total Billed shots for the night - 96
Total no. of free shots - A mystery till date
Total people who threw up that night - 5 (yup.. I didn't)

Alex (on the night of the Madman's engagment): No man... I'm not drinking... How come? Arre I'm still drunk from the CEO's party last year!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hema Aunty

Close to her office, Dee met an old friend's mum (OFM) who offered her a ride back home. Being in the business of fashion and lifestyle, Dee is asked by this OFM for her recommendation of a hairstylist located preferably in Bandra.

Dee: Oh there's this really good stylist who works at ____ and I would definitely go to her.
OFM: so she's good eh?!
Dee: Yeah absolutely... Atho she's got a kinda downmarket type name, Hemlata or something (giggle)... but aside from that, her work is really good.
OFM: My name is also Hemlata beta but you can call me Hema aunty!

Dee turns into THIS size with the sheer mortification of it all.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Salman Rocks!

Cast & Crew

The boys

Madman - My partner in crime for the most part till he got screwed engaged last night. Works in finance, loves his cigars and single malt. And that might make him sound like a pretentious prick, but he's really not :)

Miner - He came into our lives one evening... and fucker never left! His moniker reflects his profession. Long suffering from various stomach ailments, the Miner has set his health concerns aside and is now on a mission to visit every single doctor there is in our fine city. Why? Because he can...

C.E.O - The self professed CEO of his company (well to be fair, he is its Head but he seems to be in love with this other title), this particular gentleman handles incredibly HUGE portfolios by day and commits MAJOR verbal and other gaffes by night. A lot of the stories here will be about the CEO and he loves the fact!

Samson - Sam has conned a lot of people over the years into believing that he is one of those quiet bhola types but we know the truth - You ain't kidding anyone man... Loves (and hates) his movies with a passion that prompted him to get into the business. Don't ever rile the man about his (in)capacity to drink because many a foolish one has ended up regretting it.

Zac, aHart, Goose & Zeus - Another bunch of common friends and these dudes are also bandmates from the Ansh & Still Waters days.

Blackfayth - Your host and Sutradhar on this ride. His go-with-the-flow attitude is in equal parts likeable and annoying to anal types like the Madman. Since this is a team blog, its safe to say that the others will regale y'all with stories of me. Till then... main apne pairon par kulhadi kyun maroo?

The girls

Y-Girl - Her name might/not conjure up images of a superhero, but her handstands could just confirm it. The 'Y' is for the Yoga she teaches and she finally decided to make an honest woman of the Madman last night.

Dee - The Miner's friend who works in fashion and lifestyle.

Shutterbug - BF's friend who prefers shooting people to earn a livelihood.

The others


Chilli C

What's the story?

Yeh Toh... was born one evening not long ago while driving somewhere in the bylanes of Bandra. The thought was to chronicle some of the funniest stories, incidents and gaffes that we've either been a part of or have heard about but are included because of their mirth inducing factor.

The Idea isn't a new one by any means. I'd been meaning to put down anecdotes about the gang for a while now. But the immediate problem of course was that there are so many of these stories. And the problem I've found with good anecdotes is that they lie gathering dust in some corner of our memories. Until that one drinking session where someone new meets up with the group and these stories start crawling out of the woodwork.

The Title - refers to an oft-heard filmi dialogue that the gang has now adopted as our own. You've probably seen some Hindi movies where one of the sidekicks is the sort, who always has a better (but not really) story than the one that has just been narrated to him. And he usually begins his one-upmanship with, "Arre yeh toh kuch bhi nahi hai..."

The Crew - The usual suspects will be introduced in the next post.