Monday, January 07, 2008

The River still Fascinates

The Beast Clocks Magical Number & Gets Pampered

A couple of days ago, I sat in my car and noticed that the Trip meter had reached 4444.3. So I switched on the ignition, presed the accelerator and barely moved 10 meters and the magical 4444.4 appeared on the dash. I just had to capture this number. To celebrate the magical figure I decided to give my car a special gift and took it to a car wash and gave it a complete wash up, inside and outside. It was amazing to see it back to its pristine Red colour glimmering in the late afternoon winter sun. My Swift Zxi is still giving me a good 11-12 kmpl.

SHRI plays the Blues at Some Place Else

They came all the way from Arizona and brought a whole lot of people with them and descended on the Mecca of Music, Some Place Else on Saturday Night. The 13 member band (well that's how many I managed to count) had a different sound than what our ears are accustomed to hear. The Vocalist, though I thought he was singing flat, seemed to hold his ground and establish his presence on stage with his style of vocals. The five back-up vocalists' also lent a beautiful harmony to the music. Apart from the normal bass, lead, rythym guitars, keyboards and drums what really added that extra flavour and punch to the music was the presence of a clarinet, saxaphone, violin and the mouth organ. The guys made satuday night a much appreciated visit.

SHRI wrapped up their act after being egged on to play one more, one after another. Finally Saturday Night Bluues Band came on at around 1 am. The guys seemed totally fired up and after a few tracks were joined by a member of SHRI who jumped in and played the Mouth Organ till they wrapped up. I've never seens such a jam session before and between the whining guitar and the mouth organ it was an exhilerating performance.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The House that was visited by the Pink "Painter"

A couple of days ago I was stuck in traffic and as the car beside mine moved a bit, I noticed the house behind it. I went into shock and rubbed my eyes a couple of times, before diving into my bag in the back seat, whipping out my camera and clicking this one. Barely had I done that and the signal went green. But then the case closed, the Pink "Painter" must be proud of his handiwork.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A must not watch

I don't even know why I'm telling people I watched this movie. yes I do like John Statham and some of the movies he's acted in like The Transporter, but this one is a load of bull. Anyway the saving grace is that there is some neat action. But for the weak hearted, there are some gruesome scenes. Also its a bit adultish in terms of the show of skin, so keep it away from the kids. So Crank, when it ended drew a complete blank on my senses.

New Year Movie Marathon

I spent the New Year watching movies. We started with License to Wed, which was quite a laugh riot and then followed it up with two horrible movies, Friends with Money and Knocked Up, both of which we just about managed to watch a quarter each.

Finally we settled for a safe bet and watched Notting Hill till 6 in the morning.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

One More Telecom Operator Cometh

I've been noticing this hoarding for a while now apart from some others. My reason for the picture is the creative is awesome and so it should be. Considering the fact that Raghu Rai has clicked these pictures especially for this campaign and they're autographed by him. The other reason is that the coming 'soon' is taking too long. The hoardings have been up for two months already. And finally is there room for another operator?

Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance Smart, Reliance Mobile, Tata Indicom, BSNL beware.

The Indian Ocean topped with Saturday Night Blues

On Saturday night I had a reception to attend and after making a brief appearance there, we headed out to Some Place Else. Second night in a row, but for a good reason though; Indian Ocean was playing. I had missed them the last time and got the feeling that I would miss their performance this time around. But as luck would have it we made it just in time. They were supposed to start at 9pm or so the poster said, but only stuck their first note at about 11 pm. Thank you for maintaining Indian Standard Time. At the entrance I was stopped and asked to a pay a cover. The joys of power dressing, people think you’re loaded and can extract money. I refused and then the manager had to come and let me in.

So we pushed and shoved our way in and hooked up with some friends near the bar. Indian Ocean was now into their second number and the rest of the night was a musical treat. They belted out Jhini, Maa Rewa, Hille Re and Bandeh among others and had the crowd singing along. At one point, while taking a break, the crowd burst out and sang Bandeh as a fillip. The crowd wanted them to play Bandeh once more and so as their grand finale, they performed it with the crowd participating in full. Once they had finished I met with Amit Kilam and made a faux pas confusing Sushmit for Asheem and engaging in a long conversation with him.

Indian Ocean
Susmit Sen - Guitar, Vocals
Asheem Chakravarty - Tabla, Tarang, Other Percussion and Vocals
Rahul Ram - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Amit Kilam - Drums, Gabgubi, Recorder, Other Percussion

After that we dropped into Roxy for a bit. Shook a leg and headed right back to listen to Saturday Night Blues Band. They’re one of my favourite bands.

Hip Pocket
Samidh – Bass / Vocals
Sumit – Guitar
Rishi – Guitar / Vocals
Shom – Keyboard
Nandan Bakshi – Drums / Vocals

Saturday, December 29, 2007

They Play On...

Last evening I went to Some Place Else to meet a friend who was leaving Kolkata and wanted to listen to Hip Pocket for the last time. So we met up at SPE and I have to admit, though Hip Pocket did goof up on a track, they have just mastered Pink Floyd and Dire Straits and a whole lot of other stuff. I couldn’t believe it when they kind of fumbled on one of my all time favourite songs and one that they play so well called Get Back by the Beatles.

Anyway the evening went on and we heard them out and were joined by several more friends. The band stopped playing and the program was to move over to Roxy and then maybe come back for the next band that was playing a little later. But then the DJ played a series of really nice Disco tracks from way back when disco was disco, and transported me back to the days or afro hairdos and bell bottoms and shiny disco balls. We stayed on till he completed playing those tracks and then moved to Roxy after paying our tab.

On the way out I wanted to check who was playing next and saw that Urban Reflection was the next band up to perform that evening and then my eye caught the name below, Indian Ocean. Indian Ocean was going to be performing on Saturday night from 9 pm onwards. I thought to myself, I haven’t heard those guys in a while and must make it. Then the scenes of their last performance here flashed in my head. I didn’t even get a wink into the place. People had filled up the entire Park Hotel lobby just to try and get in. So lets see, maybe I take a shy.

So we then went into Roxy to be met at the gate by our mad, mad, mad dancer friend Hitesh. And all you regulars probably know him. He’s the most hilarious and friendly mad hatter. We caught him trying the write stuff on the wall. What he was writing only he knew. Anyway a brief tête-à-tête and we proceeded into the more or less packed night club. I really like the ambience in terms of it being modern, slick and minimalist. The Dj was belting out the latest Bollywood chartbusters interspersed with some Latino and hip-hop numbers. Katie, of Salsa India fame, was burning up the floor with a lady friend of his. I guess that’s the live commercial for sign ups for his classes. The guys has the moves, you’ve got to admit.

After about an hour in Roxy, though we didn’t dance the pulsating music and the party people dancing and jumping on the floor just got us tired. So we headed back to SPE. Urban Reflection was playing to a few patrons who I’m assuming were their friends and I was thinking they need to brush up their act. So we left and decided to grab some grub at Azad Hind Dhaba.

The place was shut, well technically shut, but service was on. So we ordered a whole lot of food for the 6 of us, which mainly was chicken, reshmi kebabs, tandoori chicken, chicken bharta and butter tandoori rotis. That was quite a feast. I can’t really tell you how much it all cost because I didn’t pay for the treat.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas

After celebrating my father’s birthday and having dinner at home, we headed out to Some Place Else. I was a bit surprised that the place wasn't buzzing with people, but that was good. The entry was controlled with a cover for non-regulars. We walked into the place with the Saturday Night Blues Band playing some awesome music. There were people in the crowd keeping the Christmas spirit alive with their red reindeer horn caps and some with red and white Santa hats. The band even broke into some Christmas songs.

Christmas day was one of celebration, but for me it was a day of sadness, we got news of the passing of a very dear and close relative (Dida) of mine. The day was spent in preparation for the funeral which would happen the next day. The news was sad yet we were happy that the suffering was over. Not to say that it was an auspicious and nice day for one to finally meet the maker.

Mandarmani Revisited: The Beach, Fishermen, Shells and The Sher-E-Punjab

The fun thing about Mandarmani is the vast expanse of sand and the timid ripples of the sea that wash over the beach and one can wade in the water, ankle deep to great distances. So we spent our day on the beach and apart from the tu-tuk ride and chasing the red crabs, we watched fishermen bring in their nets with their catch. It was fun to see them pull out the fish and other seas creatures from their nets. I even ventured taking some in my hands.

By late afternoon, we decided to check out of Mandarmani and head back to Kolkata. The drive back was eventful especially when we were taking the narrow dirt road out. The road was so narrow that at one point and oncoming tractor, though I had warned him aptly managed to bump into my car. My poor Swift nearly got the entire rear bumper yanked off from the right side. I was furious, but nothing could be done and after pushing and prodding, we managed to get it together, so that it would hold at least till we got back to Kolkata. (The following day, I had to send it to the workshop and get the rear bumper changed. I cursed the tractor driver some more).

Anyway the drive back was otherwise uneventful apart from the stop we made at Sher-e-Punjab at Kolaghat where we ate and drank to celebrate our first road trip in our car.