The Man From Nowhere

“See the nowhere crowd cry the nowhere tears of honour 
Like twisted vines that grow 
Hide and swallow mansions whole…”

— James Hetfield, The Memory Remains

He came from nowhere and he didn’t know where he was headed. He seemed lost, confused, a paper boat caught in a hurricane, with turmoil eroding the last traces of sanity and reason in his head. He was escaping, hopefully to a better tomorrow, but he didn’t know for sure. He wanted a fresh start, desperately. He didn’t know how he was going to achieve it – his bad luck seemed to have followed him here as well. Everything he tried seemed to fail, and fail miserably. He caught himself searching for straws to clutch at.

He vowed to find a muse, an inspiration, a candle in the whirlwind of his bad luck. He wanted to find the elusive abundance of good luck that had deserted him for so long. He yearned for the peace and tranquility that had been hiding from him. It was not a search in vain.

He met her on a hot, sunny afternoon and they regarded each other cautiously, unsure of just how much attention the other person warranted. She seemed harmless enough, but he was expecting his seemingly unlimited quota of bad luck to step in again.

“Been a while,” he said. Cautiously. Two tigers, one paranoid and the other indifferent, circling each other.

“Yes. How have you been?” she asked.

“Good,” he replied and they went on to talk about other things mundane.

Time flew by and a pact was etched in stone between them, unwritten yet indelible. It took time, obviously. It did not happen overnight. He began to experience her presence more and more in his life until it almost became an addiction. Over time, he started craving for her company. She became the beacon of light in the darkness that had clouded him. She forced him to embrace good luck again, though he never knew how she managed to do that.

He still had no destination in mind, but he knew that his journey wouldn’t be lonely anymore; the journey that he had started from nowhere and had seemed to head nowhere; the journey that she had spectacularly derailed and made more bearable. He had a lot of things to be thankful for. And for a million things more.

He had found his muse. He had found his share of good fortune. The man from nowhere was finally home.

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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Leos Of The World, Unite!

…not to fight crime or anything, but just to instill a sense of purposelessness among people born around the same time in a year. I was doing a bit of research into sun signs and what they mean for different people. I started by doing a bit of reading up on all the different sun signs and the common characteristics that people of a particular sign share. It was interesting to note that every single article or website I read had almost exactly the same information. Leos are supposed to be like this, Geminis are supposed to be like that, and so on.

What was more interesting to observe was that people model their behavior on the basis of what they read about their sun signs. I know a guy who was very shy and used to stutter in school. A few years later, he was a member of the Bangalore Toastmasters Club and was giving speeches all over the city. I ran into him last week and asked him about his miraculous transformation. He said, “I’m a Leo, bro. I’m supposed to be this aggressive and leadership-oriented guy.”

Though I was happy for him, I was frankly astonished at his explanation. He had modeled his behavior completely based on something he read about his sun sign. Okay, the guy was an idiot to begin with, but now, he had become a popular idiot. His fame roused my jealousy and my curiosity.

I was speaking to a close friend of mine who believes in sun signs to an extent. She’s a cusp between a Virgo and  Libra, and for some strange reason, of all the men she’s dated, she find a Sagittarius guy most compatible. This was a surprise because according to these websites, since she’s a cusp, she’s supposed to fall madly in love with a Leo guy and live happily ever after. It was also surprising because she dated me for a few months too, and decided that the Sagittarius guy was better! That was a bit disappointing, but I guess you win some and you lose some. She also feels that Geminis are the worst kind of people to be in a relationship with. I second that motion, because both the Gemini chicks I’ve dated turned out to be strange ones.

But then, there’s this other girl, who’s a Leo, and she’s had the worst possible luck anyone can ever have. She’s been in and out of relationships, she’s been close to killing herself and hasn’t had any luck in her non-existent career. And she attributes all this to her character and says, “I’m headstrong and adamant. I like things done a certain way and I can’t stand it being done any other way. Don’t blame me, blame my stars.”

As for me, I like women. Period. I don’t really go into details of their sun signs and their astrology. If I am able to have a good, intelligent conversation with that person for 10 minutes without flinching, grimacing or searching for topics, then I’m set. Nothing else matters, as my friend James Hetfield said once.

So, the point of this whole exercise was to find out whether or not people model their behavior based on what they read about their sun signs. And I guess they do. Most people do, some don’t and others don’t give a damn.

Of course, being a Leo has its advantages. It gives me a ready excuse to blame away my eccentricities.

PS: The use of the word ‘chick’ as a synonym for women has been allowed by the douche bags at Websters. So, if anyone takes offense, sue me.