Updated: Apr 12, 2020
Our touch-and-go train travelogue as we journey on from Bangalore, photo-blogging from Chennai and back to gigging in Pune
The Trip That Almost Wasn't
Until 2am on 22 April, four hours before we were to catch the train to Chennai to play at the Landmark, Citi Centre we did not have the tickets for the Shatabdi Express!
What went wrong, you ask? The bright travel agent booked a paper ticket (the ones that look like this, remember?)
As of 21st April afternoon, the Landmark folks in Chennai held in their hands this very ticket we needed in Bangalore on 22nd morning. No courier service would get it to us in time. (We’re not asking why it got so delayed, and/or why they did not book an e-ticket).
So the Landmark chappies decide to hand deliver it. They appoint Vasu (not our Vasu) a redoubtable gent to take a state bus from Chennai and drop the ticket off with us in Bangalore. So we waited. And waited and waited. And waited some more. Finally at 11.30pm, when there was no sign or signal from Vasu the Delivery Boy, we guessed the show wasn’t happening. But then in steps Vasu, saving the day at 2.00am! There’ a lot to be said for their commitment, the Bangalore team stayed in office till the delivery boy showed up and brought it down to Montry’s house!
On board the train we slept. The gentle sway of the high speed coach on the tracks was more soporific than going to history class high on cough syrup. The monotony was shattered by Aryan. All of 5 years old, he engaged us in a vicious gun-battle. Shooting us dead wasn’t enough of course, he chanted rhymes, did a Spiderman and counted up to ten. Attaboy!
Now, lunch done, at an outstanding South Indian Meals (Pyooor Veg) restaurant, we await interviews, then soundcheck and then we’re on!
Chennai ke Chamatkari Chitr: Photo-Blog
Chennai was a memorable trip. Here is the story in pictures:
[Photo] Varun decides to take a nap, and rehearse his cool dance moves at the same time!
Sneaky Snap by Pavan.
[Photo] We headed to the Chennai Live 104.8 FM studios for a radio interview. Good fun, with RJ Melbin. Catch Sanjeev's philosophical folded arms pose.
[Photo] Best Landmark Gig so far! Good sound, and great crowd. We were a little freaked out when we saw someone in the audience keep time, he was a classically trained musician!
We headed back to Bangalore the day after, bleary eyed, catching a 6am train and pulled into Bangalore station, still sleepy. Who should pounce upon us (and our sea of luggage) but an army of porters, with steely eyed determination. There were no less than seven of them. They all wanted a piece of the action. Each got ONE piece of luggage.
At the end, they looked like a band themselves. We call them the Kewlies.
[Photo-1] Seven porters. Average luggage articles per porter, ONE. Check out the chap at the back with the little white bag!
[Photo-2] Kewlies chilling, post their performance.
Return to Pune for the Landmark Tour: Show Snippets in Photos and Videos
Pune’s been a special place for us all. From the time we’ve played here during the album launch, to the mysterious Doctor who fixed Vasu’s shoulder, from the tumultuous gig at Symbiosis to the memorable times we’ve had at Baajaa Gaajaa, we’ve always looked forward to coming back here.
Getting on a bus in Bangalore wasn’t the hard part. Sitting on our behinds for 16 hours was! We tottered out into the 43-degree heat, squinting and bleary eyed. But the Landmark folks were waiting for us, and they bundled us into 2 waiting Taveras, off to the hotel.
Now mention must be made of Denzel – the man on sound. The soundcheck took all of 45 minutes – a new Swarathma record. Never have we had such a relaxed Soundcheck. We were so chilled out that we even did a version of ‘Sur Mera’. That song hasn’t been played live in at least 5 months! (We didn’t end up playing it in the show either).
[Video] Final few moments before the Swarathma Show!
[Photo] Count the number of rings and tell me how old the guitar wood is.
Photo Credit: Kaustuv Dasgupta
The highlight was Varun’s brand new Zakk Wylde custom Les Paul guitar. With its trippy concentric circles, it made your head spin to stare at it. It has a lovely tone, and it made quite an impression in today’s gig.
[Photo] Vasu croons to the Chartbuster neon sign. Photo Credit: Kaustuv Dasgupta
[Video] 'Yeshu Allah aur Krishna' is the song that is coming out on the British Council Soundpad album. Here’s a sneak preview.
The other odd thing about the gig came at the end. We took our bow and gave in to the request for an unlikely encore. Someone asked for ‘Mauj Kare’ something we hardly play, unless its a college gig. Just before we launched into it, Sanjeev hurried off-stage. (He doesn’t play on this song). We later realized there was a call of nature so profound that it just could not be ignored. “You don’t know how I controlled myself for half the show!” he justified himself.
[Photo] Steely eyed self control. Photo Credit: Kaustuv Dasgupta
[Video] Sanjeev lets it rip on 'Let's Go'
The party after was just as amazing. We had a whole bunch of friends from Pune drop by, and much guffawing ensued, leading the hoteliers to worry about their reputation, social standing, and how their daughters would ever get married.
OK I’m really zoned out now. We head off to Mumbai tomorrow. 2, maybe 3 gigs lined up.
Text: Jishnu Dasgupta