The Man From Nowhere

“See the nowhere crowd cry the nowhere tears of honourΒ 
Like twisted vines that growΒ 
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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The ‘Fresh Mint’ Generation

Statutory Warning: Cigarette smoking is injurious to health, resulting in permanent madness and will cause you to look, talk and act like me.

Smokers all over the country are aware of the life-saving little invention called Minto Fresh. Created, packaged and marketed by ITC foods, Minto Fresh is something of a godsend for people who suffer from halitosis after a smoke! πŸ˜€

The two brands of cigarettes that I usually smoke cost Rs. 3.50 and Rs. 4.50 respectively, and invariably I get a Minto Fresh back instead of the 50-paise change. I kind of like this, because it saves me the trouble of actually asking for it and sounding stupid, like what happened today. πŸ˜€

I went to this seedy joint run by this boisterous old hag (who is known for her loud mouth and foul language) and hesitantly, I approached the store and said, “Aunty, Milds please.”

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Minto Fresh πŸ™‚

She had once screamed at me for smoking too close to the store and apparently I had been blowing smoke into her store (no puns intended!!), and she had hurled a rich variety of abuses at me. I had been too shaken to sleep that night. Today, I wanted to avoid all that and stood at a safe distance and puffed away to glory, cursing myself for the habit and promising myself to quit after the next drag. πŸ˜€

Once the sinful cigarette burned itself out, I went up carefully to the counter and laid a five-rupee coin on the counter and said, “Aunty, Minto Fresh, please.”

The cigarette cost me Rs. 4.50 and instead of asking the crazy woman for change, I thought I’d much rather buy the mouth freshener. She grabbed the coin and said, “I don’t have Minto Fresh!” and glared at me.

“Uh, what mint do you have, then?” I asked, almost apologetically.

“I have fresh mint!” she said and put the coin down her ridiculously large blouse and placed her hands over her hips. I chose to ignore the former gesture. πŸ˜€

“Ok, give that,” I said, only to be rid of this woman, who was probably a conceptual mistake to begin with! πŸ˜€

She went to the other end of the small store and came back with something in her hand. “I know you,” she said as she laid down the mint on the counter. I gulped and looked at her.

“What?” I said.

“You are that kid, that NRI, right?” she demanded.

“Uh, no ma’am. I’m not an NRI. I just went abroad last year – ” I couldn’t complete the statement as she cut in in a loud voice, making me flinch.

“You young kids go to all those god forsaken countries and come back with all fancy and weird chocolates and you think that you’ll find all those things here in India? Minto Fresh it seems! I don’t have any such foreign things. Take this or scram!” What made the retort worse was her gestures – she flipped me at least thrice, though I don’t think she knows what the middle finger means; she was gyrating her hips in an unearthly fashion and her head bobbed up and down and made me dizzy. πŸ˜€

She shook her head and started cursing the present generation of kids for their affliction to all things Western. I didn’t say anything. I just grabbed the mint from the counter and ran to my bike. Only then did I manage to look at what I had in my hands. She had given me a Minto Fresh. πŸ˜€

Anyway, this afternoon, once my brain had returned to normal and once my head was clear of that horrible squealing hag, I was bloghopping and I came across Kris’s blog, where I heard his song “Hope It’s Over,” which put me in a totally wonderful mood. It took me quite a while to get over the fact that I actually know a rockstar. Anyway, download the song and listen to it! I am sure it’ll put you in a wonderful mood! πŸ˜€

PS: Kris Bass is the bassist for Shor Bazaar, one of the fastest-growing rock bands in the country. Check out more of Shor Bazaar here.

PPS: How the hell do I get an audio widget thingy here inside the post, where people can just click the “Play” button and the music plays? I’ve gone mad trying to figure it out! πŸ˜€


Images Courtesy: ITCPortal.com and Shor Bazaar