Metallica! The Wait Is Over!

Metalica! Live In India

“You’ve waited long enough, India!” said the legendary James Hetfield, vocalist and guitarist of Metallica. “And so have we! Thank you for your support, loyalty and patience!”

With these words, Metallica performed live in Bangalore yesterday, October 30, 2011. It was an evening to remember. A concert that had more than 100,000 people attending from all corners of the country, a few thousands from abroad. It was a concert like no other. Everyone who attended went home stunned, upbeat and reliving each second of it. The energy that coursed through the pulsating sea of raised arms and jumping bodies was unmistakable, undeniable and absolutely unbelievable. Even hardened concert veterans like myself could not help but rise up with the crowd, which became one organism – living, breathing and pulsating with the music.

Metallica has been a rock band that has denied India the pleasure of a live show for two decades. A twenty-year wait in which original fans grew up, grew old and passed on the legacy of some of the most memorable rock songs in human history to the next generation. A twenty-year wait in which the support and loyalty for their music never died and never reduced. A twenty-year wait, which ended yesterday and made martyrs of all those who were there.

A few years ago, when Iron Maiden performed in India, it was said that the crowd went berserk, the die-hard fans couldn’t get enough of the music and one newspaper even touted it as the musical event of the decade. But not anymore. Not after yesterday’s performance by the Gods of Rock. It was hard to decide what was the clincher – the unbelievable pyrotechnics, the songs that most people grew up with, the crowd singing the lyrics along with the band or the sheer brilliance of Metallica’s stage presence.

I am still in the hangover of the show. Here’s a glimpse of what I was a part of. \m/

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The Evolution Of Spam

A long, long time ago, when I got my first email ID on Yahoo, like the rest of the world, I was warned about something called ‘Spam’. I was told that bad people will mail me asking for my personal details and then, before I could realize it, they would steal my identity and all my money from the bank. They would sent a virus through an email and kill my computer and make my life miserable.

Of course, none of this actually happened. It was just my mum’s way of instilling fear in me.

The very first spam mail I got was from a guy claiming to be ‘Princess Charlie’ and he wrote to me about investing my money in a time-sharing apartment in Nice, Italy. This was way back in 1998. I still remember this mail because I’ve saved it. Or maybe because I haven’t opened my Yahoo mailbox very often after I created it, like the rest of the world.

A few years later, the nature of spam mails changed dramatically, and unknown people (or robots) started sending unbelievable amounts of hyperlinks in each mail. Things that read: “Click here for free antivirus! Click here for free viagra! Click here for free sex!” and so on. I remember one particular email that went on for three pages, and the entire body of the mail was hyper-linked. It was ridiculous.

Then came the African scourge. Millions of people were killed by their own family members and the lucky few who survived, got access to a computer and an internet connection and mailed everyone on the planet asking for financial help. One particular mail was heart-wrenching. A woman mailed me, claiming to have survived a bush fire in the Sahara Desert. The fire claimed her three kids along with all her money and documents. Her relatives, seizing the opportunity, drove her out of her own house because she didn’t have the documents to prove it was hers. So, she mailed me, of all people, asking for help and a chance to start a new life. Moron that I am, replied to her mail: “Are you a hot chick?” I never heard from her again.

Spam Culture

Then came the Age of the Unclaimed Bank Account. It turns out that a lot of very rich and very dead people had bank accounts in Nigeria, of all places, and the bank manager invariably turned out to be a very generous man. I have mails from at least a dozen such manager asking for my help in transferring million of dollars of a dead guy’s assets into my country. If only I had enough money of my own, I would invest it in a Nigerian bank and die peacefully in a place crash (that would be reported in a popular news site), knowing that my millions were in the hands of such generous souls.

And now, today, we are in the Age of the Lottery. Kind, generous people all over the world are entering your email ID and Phone Numbers in unnamed lotteries as we speak and within the next few days, “…your number will win a billion GBP in the LuckyLoser Sweepstakes!” Congratulations!

Maybe its time we started a new spam trend. Maybe we should hurl abuses are total strangers just for kicks. Or death threats? Nah, might get arrested for that. Think of something new and spam-worthy, and put down your ideas in the comments here. Best one gets a free spam kiss from me.

Image Courtesy: Blogwaybaby.com

People-Watching At A Coffee Shop

Every grown person whose above the age of 18 believes that ‘people-watching’ is a favorite hobby of theirs. No matter who they are or what they do, when you ask them what their favorite pastime is, they will answer, “People watching.”

It’s no secret that everyone wants to be cool. I have been there myself and done those stupid things in the hope of being considered one of the cool ones. Fortunately for me, I did not have to try too hard. Surprisingly, a large number of my friends tried too hard and crashed and burned spectacularly. One of the things I’ve never tried to do, or claim to have done, is people-watching at a coffee shop.

“How could you not? You’re an author. Don’t you ‘observe’ people and use them for your characters? It’s almost second nature for an author to people-watch!” said a stricken friend of mine, who just could not believe her ears when I told her of my indifference to the sport. So, to soothe her, and more importantly, to see what the fuss was all about, I decided to try it out. I went to a coffee shop in town where I normally hang out, and sat in a corner by myself. I ordered up some fries and a soda and got down to people-watching.

I saw a couple in the other corner cuddling and whispering sweet nothings into each others’ ears. The guy was ugly and the woman didn’t warrant a second glance. The owner of the cafe, a cool-guy-wannabe, sat at another table with a bunch of his friends and talked loudly about the traffic and the government’s indifference. The waiter was one of those North-eastern implants who didn’t know a word of either English, Hindi or Kannada. I used a complicated hand gesture and ordered a chicken sandwich.

An hour became two and two became three. There was just one guy who entered the coffee shop and he looked as malnourished as a piece of chalk. The lovelorn couple got tired of their foreplay and left in a hurry for some privacy, I’m sure. And then, nothing happened.

I lost a perfectly good evening of my life, trying to do something that was supposed to be interesting. I should stick to abusing people and slandering them on my blog. That’s what makes me cool.

When Ponies Ruled The World

It was a time of peace and tranquility. The world turned ever so gracefully with nothing to worry about and nothing to frown upon. The citizens of the planet led a peaceful life with no complications. Ponies and unicorns, roses and posies, rainbows and pots of gold were abundant in every corner of the globe. The sky was bright blue without a hint of gray. The houses were pink and gold and yellow and blue – the colors of peace, love and happiness.

There was not a single diseased thought in the world. There were no deaths, no tears, no sadness and no pain. There was no swearing, no abuses, nothing that would make someone cringe. There were no bad odors, no killers, no thieves, no rapists, no thugs, no criminals. Courts and justice were unheard of. Police forces, armies and mercenaries were non-existent. The countries and cities were happy places, peacefully co-existing with each other with no jealousy or fear.

Then I woke up, looked around me, rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and said to myself, “Oh fuck, I’m late for work.”

Going through the motions of a normal day with Stephen King’s legendary motto running in my head – SSDD (Same Shit, Different Day) – I realized with a jolt that something from that dream had seeped through into the real world. Something strange and unnatural had happened and something from that dream world of peace and tranquility had managed to worm its way into my world. I didn’t know how it happened, but I started seeing signs everywhere I went. I thought I saw a unicorn glide past my window – I did a double-take and checked again, but all I could see was normality. People arguing, shouting, smoking and drinking. No unicorns.

Sometime late last night, I thought I saw a rainbow and a pony waltzing under it. On closer look, it turned out to be an abnormally colorful advertizing hoarding. I actually thought some asshole smiled at me as I walked past him. For no apparent reason, he smiled at me. I stopped in my tracks, ran back to him and saw that it wasn’t a smile. His face was permanently contorted into a sinister grin.

I couldn’t help but think that these weren’t just coincidences and signs that something pure and pristine had escaped into this world through my dream. Something that was making my life miserable by just being. Something that was tainting me, something that was trying its best to make me aware of its existence. I couldn’t help but be a bit afraid. I tried to put these thoughts out of my head, but then I read this.

“Fuck-a-doodle-doo,” I said to myself. “I feel sorry for them.”

Vie Hebdomadaires & The Indian James Bond

I have been invited to blog on Vie Hebdomadaires this week. Just a few minutes ago, I published my first post for the week there. I’m cross-posting it here because I don’t want to write something new and use my brain more than necessary. I’m sure the lazy ones out there will understand.

Three things I grew up with, which weren’t a pain in the ass: WordPress, Biker Mice From Mars and Milky Way chocolate bars. I think that pretty much explains who I am.

Three cheers for Rohit for nominating me to write on this blog. I don’t usually take part if deviant blogging experiments, but this one caught my fancy. Also, I forgot the mail Varun and decline the opportunity. So, I told myself that I would find the time to blog once a day here on Vie Hebdomadaires.

The fourth thing I grew up with was James Bond. Each and every movie, each and every Ian Fleming book, at least thrice. It laid the foundation to explore slightly better literature – the likes of Forsyth and Ludlum. I grew up with a false sense of paranoia, imagining myself in a conspiracy, spies watching me from the shadows, the sense of being followed, the non-existent sixth sense of being tracked and monitored. I probably needed a high dose of electroshock therapy as a kid, but I was smart enough not to tell anyone about my fears. Or paranoid enough.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of talking about this to someone recently. For reasons of secrecy privacy, let’s just call this person as The Goof. I met Goof for a coffee a few days ago in Bangalore, and in the process of making pleasant talk, I told him about my theory. I pointed out three people in the coffee shop, sitting at various tables around us, and indicated to him how well we were being followed and watched. The three spies had boxed us in so well that we couldn’t make a move without either of them seeing it.

Goof listened to me, fascinated, mouth open, and after what seemed like a really long time, said, “Dude, you need stronger coffee.”

I haven’t spoken to Goof since that day, and I don’t know if I ever will. It’s not because he is convinced that I don’t have a fully-functional brain. It’s because the phrase “Dude, you need stronger coffee” seems so much like a code for something. I can’t help but think its something sinister. I have to check the street for strange people and idling cars.

Play safe. Cheers!

Originally posted on Vie Hebdomadaires, on October 3, 2011 at 7:20 PM