Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Chapter uknown: uncomfortably Numb.

This piece of writing is fully fictional. Any Resemblance to any person, place, event is purely co-incidential.

“The recording studio should be on the top floor, with the Artiste and event management offices.” I thought to myself.

“The club ceiling should be…….hmmm…. at least a minimum 6 meters high with soundproofing to prevent the noise from escaping. The heavy Iron frame holding the lights however needed the walls and the ceiling to be reinforced. But what material could possibly take on that load and still be light? And not to forget they would have to stay cool to save on air conditioning costs and not forget the dance floor had to have transducers underneath, so the bass frequencies would go right up people’s bones and make them feel the music.” This was hard work. I sighed to myself. I sketched out a neat rough plan of the floors at the back of my register while going back to important thinking.

“……. And now Mr. Amartya Bhattacharya will be kind enough to explain the difference between the Carbon bonds in the chains of Alkenes and Alkynes. Yes?” I heard Mrs Nagre’s faint voice somewhere in the distance. And then I noticed the rest of the class looking at me.

“Huh?” I said snapping back to the present from the future.

“Well?” She asked again.

I knew I was in trouble. Whenever teachers use your very long full name to call you in that manner you are most definitely in trouble. Or you’re getting a reward.

“Mr. Bhattacharya If you can’t concentrate now, what will you do in march when you will be sitting for your board exams??”

“Hitting on the chicks sitting next to him so he can get the answers” Snickered Aryan. Loudly enough for the whole class to hear. The class acknowledges with laughter.

“Only if its someone hot. Unlike your daughter” added Mooli. In a very serious manner. Stressing on the word unlike. Which was unfair if you ask me, I mean she wasn’t a nine on ten, but she had an amazing voice. A natural Soprano. And she was really nice.

“ Shameless! How dare you. I shall complain about you the the principal Mr Ganguly.! Mr Bhattacharyya May I have your diary please?” Commanded Nagre.

Ouch. This could mean only one thing.

I watch as she glances through and starts scribbling inside. 6 years ago, I’d be begging her to stop, and make promises I would actually end up keeping.

“Get it signed by tomorrow. The standard of students in this school is going with every new batch ” She sighed. I looked at the note written with a teachers red ink pen in the “Notes to parents page”. “Lackadaisical” It read. “Day dreamer and does not pay attention in the classroom. Is a constant source of distraction to all around him.-

“What the hell, I wasn’t distracting anyone,” I protested.

“Language Amartya.” she snapped.

“-- Rude and no verbal restraint shown when corrected .Please check”.

There were three other similar ones. All had her signature underneath. And my dads signature in the next column.

Some reward.

The bell rang. There was rush of bags being pulled out and people rushing out of the classroom door like prisoners on death row getting a chance to escape. I didn’t blame them. When your in a school full of guys of all colors shapes and sizes, and you aren’t the ‘Alpha male’ type, you don’t want to stay very long. We three however were the last ones to leave. Not because we were bullies, not because we were slow, but because we were just plain lazy maybe, or couldn’t care less.

I sometimes wondered how the guys in sitting up in front managed it. Six hours is nothing less than torture. Add to that teachers and a principal who are very effective at ..err.. correcting us. Even for the people who sit at the back like the three of us. Or maybe it was just me who was Incapable of understanding their methodology.

I sometimes wonder if I’d be any different if I had stayed on after the first two years in that co-ed school. I mean would I be more sensitive to people’s feelings,? Would I have less girlfriends ? Would I have one at all? Or in these liberated times a boyfriend maybe?
Would I like babies? Could I be the geek sitting way up in front with nothing to distract me at all? My thought process was interrupted by a very annoying Mooli.

“Yaay now you can practice your dad’s signature once more, I think you should go easy on the S curve, you make it a bit too sharp. Oh by the way any of you willing to come along with me for a Pink Floyd Tribute gig tomorrow night??”

“Yea if you can convince the organizers that we are over the age of 18 and if we won’t call our parents to pick us up” I said.

“Car won’t be a problem” Aryan said. “ Dad doesn’t care about me, or his car anymore and besides I look above 18 and even if I get caught driving the cop won’t need anything more than 500 bucks. And considering that there aren’t many cops in that area on Saturday, the probability of us getting caught is very low”

“It won’t be a problem for your rich spoilt ass, but what about us?” I said.

“Don’t worry Amar, They’ll pity Mooli and let him in, and besides those glasses shield most of his face anyway, they won’t bother asking him and you’ll know people inside won’t you? Ask them to come and pull you in. It always works.”

“Guys shouldn’t we be studying I mean our boards are like only 3 months away!!!” said Mooli in his pseudo geek voice. We didn’t find it funny however.

When people with big glasses say something like that, not matter how pretentious their voice sounds, you assume they’re genuinely concerned.

Getting into a nightclub in Delhi is relatively easier if you have loads of cash and a few networking skills .Or if you’re a girl. A build like Aryan’s doubles your chances. A build like the familiar girl in the blue mini skirt I was looking at outside the venue triples your chances .Provided you’re a girl that is.

Mooli and I however had neither. We could neither intimidate the staff make them richer, or flutter our eyebrows and get ourselves in. Unless all the bounces were gay. Thought I doubt the guys who girls find attractive are attractive to the guys as well. But that would still leave Mooli out, so no it was not an option.

I spotted a group of people I knew from other gigs. I call them gig friends. I didn’t know their names. I didn’t know whether they knew mine. Though I could tell only a few didn’t, because of reasons you will come to know later on probably. We just met each other occasionally at gigs.

I raised my eyebrows for a split second and gave the ‘What’s up with you?’ nod to the girl in the dark blue mini. All of them waved back. A few puzzled “You know him?’s” followed with the guys’ expressions becoming a bit grim and the girls giving the‘ I know something you don’t know’ smirk at me (something which I can’t understand till today, I mean they give you the same look if you have something stuck to your teeth, if your asking about a girl who’s orientation is not quite straight, if they are about to make a pass at you, if they find you attractive, when your winking and they think your ugly. And they blame us for not paying attention.)

I made a mental note to ask for her number this time. Even though I couldn’t remember her name. I would have to pay close attention to what others would say to her.

Aryan didn’t seem to be in a very good mood. “Bloody hell they won’t sell us any beer here. We need to sneak some in from the Theka* across” A typical north Indian rich spoilt kid one would say. But I didn’t care. Aryan was not much of a Floyd Fan. Unlike Mooli and me, he needed something in his blood to give him a high when Floyd was being played on stage.

Some amateur metal band was opening. I think their name was from The lord of the Rings trilogy (which in fact is not a trilogy, it was intended to be one whole book which was chopped up, because it was too big to publish as a single volume. Besides, come to think of it, how many of us would actually bother reading it if it were that huge. I wonder if Harry Potter would still outsell the bible if all of them were published together. I think not) Anyway They came played their set, I evaded a very messy mosh pit, while observing the instruments, amplifiers and the fingers.

Aryan and Mooli would probably tell you that I didn’t have the guts to get my shoulder dislocated or get my nose broken. Maybe. Aryan could take on Two fifths of the pit on his own, and Mooli’s fat glasses would injure every thing that hit it. But the truth is, I prefer paying attention to details on stage and listen intently to what was being played, than push, punch stomp, get thrashed, and come out in state which would impair my judgment and sense of balance which had to be in perfect order if I was to make a few new friends tonight.

I’m not a Steve Vai or a David Gilmour. But statistically speaking I was about 70% sure I could play better. Maybe it’s something similar to watching those people sweat it out and make a fool of themselves on those scripted reality shows while believing you could do better or maybe it was genuinely true. The other thirty percent depended on the number of loaded girls in the audience. These guys however didn’t seem to notice important stuff like that. No encore. No surprise.

The next band came up on stage. I knew the bass player. He waved to me and beckoned me to come forward. “Hey look we didn’t have a proper sound check man, these bitch-fucks wouldn’t allow us more than 5 minutes, could you sit with the engineer and tell him what kind of output we need? “ I could tell from his eyes that there was a hidden stash or grass somewhere. Or Maybe he didn’t get enough sleep. “You just have to tell him what we want, that’s all, if he tells you to buzz off call me.”

There is an overused, clich├ęd phrase which I am forced to use to describe that feeling, it goes something like this –‘magic to my ears’.

What I feel behind a console is what a 5 year old who wants to be a pilot when he grows up would feel if he was given control of a small plane. Except I wouldn’t randomly press buttons and then ask what it would do. Its something similar to the feeling after you take control of a car and hit 60 Km/Hr for the first time (actually these days it would be 80 Or more), but not quite the same. A sense of power, control, a feeling if raised to the power of 10 I’d know what God felt like.

I sat down next to the ‘engineer’

I adjusted the big Alesis equalizer, and the engineer wasn’t the type who you would call an uncle(which is a boon actually). He was fair about five foot eight had a nice big colored tattoo on his left forearm, spiked hair and thin sideburns. He looked to be the sort who missed out on modeling assignments because of his height.

He didn’t need any help. But I still stuck around, because it was a soundcraft, twenty four channel console which had recently gone out of production, and it was calling out to me, so were the pair of monitoring headphones, and of course the girls were looking at him, and in doing so they were looking at me, after which they realized that the guy next to me was out of bounds and looked at me again. I didn’t look back.

The band started with a track called ‘Wish you were here’ and slowly progressed into playing faster numbers. During the second part of the infamous’ the wall’ Mr. Model took out a small sealed packet of something which for a split second I thought like Oregano seasoning, he then mixed it with tobacco and rolled a cigarette . Mr. Model saw me looking. “If you want a fix you could go out and give yourself one, they catch you on camera, they’ll screw you.” I politely declined. I was too lost, in the guitar solo of “Comfortable Numb”.

The band politely wished us a good night, and advised us not to drive, and signed off.
I spotted the girl in the blue mini talking to another girl wearing a red top who I recalled to have winked at me a few months before. It was now or never. The other band in line was setting up.

“Hey, Do you mind if I borrow your friend for a while?” I asked red top.

Now there are two reasons why I always used this one. The first being that no person would say no if asked, to avoid coming across as a dominant bossy bitchy person. The second is that the person I want to borrow would most definitely agree to avoid coming across as a submissive person who doesn’t make his or her own decisions, if the other one said no.

Applied Psychology for Bastards.

Both of them seemed apprehensive.

“I promise I’ll bring her back. Don’t worry if that’s what your thinking” I quickly added with a wink.

“Sure” came the reply with the smirk.

“Great, so enjoyed floyd?” I asked. Up close she seemed she was of north eastern descent. She also seemed far prettier.

“Yea. In fact it was one of those rare ones, where the crowd was good and cultured as compared to the rest of them I mean for once I could actually hear what was being played and my ears aren’t ringing. It’s a relief from all the blood sweat and dislocated joints” she replied.

“Why, are you one of those who think heavy metal is something you eventually grow out of?” I asked

“Not really, it depends on what you want you know, I mean if your in the mood for Miles Davis, you’d most probably think its noise at that time no ?”

“And if your in the mood for lets say Iron Maiden, Jazz would be……..?”
“Boring. Just plain boring.” Laughter followed.

I thought I’d found my soulmate.

We showed the man at the door the stamps on the back of our palms and went outside into the lounge area for some air.

“I saw you today with the audio tech. So were you standing with him only seeming interested, because you noticed my friends looking at you in that direction, or are you genuinely a sound freak?”

“Why the choice? Can’t it be because of both?”

“Do you always throw a question when you don’t want to give straight answers?”

“Why, does it seem that way?”

“Your not answering my questions…..”

“Ask too many questions you won’t be able to see the answers now would you?”

“You’re witty” She smirked. “ I like witty people, especially ones who have a taste for good music”. Ouch.I didn’t see that one coming.

“Well, in that case, you seem to be a pretty good song” I hit back

“THERE YOU ARE YOU FREAK!!!!!,, you won’t believe what just happened!, you know the guy standing right in front, he had fucking so much to drink, he fell on the synth player when the mosh started, and he puked on the Kord Triton! It was fucking awesome!” roared Aryan.

“Yeah and you know that chinky guy with long hair who we met at the Great Indian Rock festival last year? It turns out he’s broken his hand! It’s a bloody hell in there, what the fuck are you doing outside here?” Mooli seemed to be having a good time..

You know the times you wish the ground would part and would take you in? This was not one of them. Right then, I wished I could crush Aryan’s head with my bare hands, and break Mooli’s neck. Then I could hammer them into the ground.

I however did none.

“Do you know them?” I turned to her and asked.

“Uhh…no??” She replied, looking very confused.

“Right, Anyway I think we should both make a move on, the clubs closed, how you going home?” I asked.

“Oh no that’s okay, I’m going back home with my friends anyway” She assured me.

“Say where do you stay anyway?” I pushed it further

“Vasant Kunj. D block.” She winked.

“Oh by the way, the names Amartya.” Delayed introductions are very effective.

“Gauri. Nice meeting you. See you around” she waved without turning back. She had really nice hair.

Aryan caught me by my collar before I could turn around completely.

“You motherfucker, you come with me in my car. You drink out of cans I buy And then you fail to recognize me to save face in front of a girl?”

If anyone saw us right now they’d think I was the one not in my senses. I couldn’t hold in the smile anymore.

“Her friend was the one in the red top. The beer drinking, moshing one.” I reply.

“Holy shit, now that’s more like it. What all have you got on her ? “ he asked as we hi fived each other again. We just couldn’t help being a bunch of assholes. Thank God it was a Saturday. My neck was stiff and uncomfortably numb.

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