Monday, 27 August 2012

Poets of the Fall Live in Pune, India

25th August 2012, a day which will forever be embedded in my soul for I witnessed one of the greatest acts which I have yet- POETS OF THE FALL SOME FREAKING METERS AWAY FROM ME!
Pardon the caps for I had to use it. Poets of the Fall has always been one of my most favourite bands, and this night was the first time I ever been to a "real" concert and also the first time I have been to a Hard Rock Cafe. This is technically the third time they are touring India, but the first big one performing in five cities- Bengalure, New Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata respectively, the first 3 at which having been organized by Vh1 India at their respective city's Hard Rock Cafes. While it was saddening to me that there wasn't one in my city Mumbai (seriously WTF?!) but that didn't stop me from traveling to Pune to see them as life doesn't give you such opportunities always (or rather the management)

My short (just ~180 km or ~112 miles) journey was rather an adventurous one. While not getting into much details, just the few stuff like catching a bus from Mumbai-Pune, going on a hike across the city and searching for the dam place along with the cool climate (and hot chicks, for which Pune is known for, well that is what I know/care about) made up my day :D
Also let me not mention the boring waiting time, which is one of the deadliest of all killers.

Coming to the evening time arriving at the venue (after another search and breakdown of the vehicle just to my luck) I managed to reach on time and finally meet my buddies Ramon, Setul and Shashank (eh did I mention these guys work for EMI Music India and they bloody meet and even tour with most bands!?) who got me my pass for the show. Due to some unforeseen circumstances and shit I couldn't be with them but I did make up for that being in the crowd. I owe you a lot buddies, thank you for everything, especially Ramon, whom I've been "pestering" (just the word?) since the past few weeks for this day. (heck Setul was even scared to ask me how many times I must have called him) :P Drinks are on me next time!

The place was jam-packed and there were hundreds outside without tickets hoping to buy and get it in before the show (the police drive them off, hard luck for them). All tickets were sold out within 2 days when they were announced some weeks back, that clearly indicated how much India wanted POTF. Since I was not so on time really, arriving some time before the scheduled time of 8 PM, I was somewhere caught in the middle of the crowd, which I (being an ass after all) managed to discreetly and with (a lot) effort manage to go upfront during the very annoying waiting time when rock tracks were being played and I jumping and screaming on most of them (random folk even asked whether I came for POTF at all) :D

 Hard Rock Cafe Pune with the crowd

After waiting for nearly 2 hours in the hot sweating condition in the crowd, that totally vanished when the much awaited guys came up on stage (being cheered and screamed at since they could be spotted from the balcony till walking up the stage) who wasting not even a second further started off the show with Kamikaze Love. Dam! Marko greeted the crowd (and continued to speak throught out the gig at times) and they played songs from the old and new, Diamond for Tears, Temple of Thought was greeted with much energy followed by Roses and people (including me, mostly) literally cried when they played Cradled in Love. Beautiful, just beautiful! :')

They continued playing classics like Stay, War, The Lie Eternal and one of my personal favourites Locking up The Sun, which was started by Marko screaming INDIA!

"Is there a hero somewhere, someone who appears and saves the day
Someone who holds out a hand and turns back time."

I got the answer just a few meters away from me as the band and the crowd sang (or rather screamed) these words. POTF did the exact dam thing! Nailed it.

The best moments which I can recall are Marko pulling up his cell phone and telling us "So I'm seeing you want us to perform certain songs - you want us to play Illusions and Dreams?" I swear I screamed my lungs out "YES!" and so did the crowd. That is probably my most favourite POTF track, this was a moment for everyone to relish.

So can you name your demon?
Understand its scheming
I raise my glass and say "here's to you"
Can you chase your demon?
Or will it take your freedom?
I raise my class and say "here's to you"

That was the band's tribute to the fans, which received overwhelming energy packed powerful positive response. I was moving (remember?) jumping screaming with joy totally lost in the awesome vibe of the show when there was again a brief silence as whenever Marko addressed the crowd. He went on to say they were about to perform a song, rather THE song which POTF first wrote. In that moment I immediately yelled (jumping and screaming as I always was) MAX PAYNE! I got a view looks around from the crowd but that is not the point- Marko turned towards me and was like "Oh Yeah!" and they began to perform Last Goodbye. That was it. That was THE moment. That was MY moment! (I still so dam wish there was some sort of recording of it!) I'm never going to forget this in my life! (well until something better happens that is) He might not remember it most likely (sort of obvious, but well I hate that word) but for me that was like a milestone in itself. I'm a avid gamer and Max Payne was one of the first games I ever played and one of my most favourite which brings nostalgia of my childhood. The band wrote Late Goodbye for Max Payne 2 (which as he said was one of their first works) and that was how I heard of them first. Max fucking Payne. Gave me another good memory to relish.

When it seemed the show wrapped up and they were leaving saying thank you and all, the crowd cried for more. It was an awesome sight, as the frontman immediately turned back and came down to the stage again and they performed Dreaming Wide Awake and one final song which probably every other person who listens to music might have heard - Carnival of Rust. At this time the crowd was with full energy level despite being so tired that it was hard to differentiate on who was actually singing. They ended the awesome gig with Marko going back up the staircase to the balcony and finally ending it there gazing at the entire crowd from above as some god. It was dam cool. Perfect.

courtesy of Dijesh Nair

Thus ended a unfortunately short performance because of various (should I mention disappointing on the part of the management?) but very successful gig by Poets of the Fall. I along with many others could not digest the fact Lift was dropped, but oh well it was still absolutely brilliant. The big concerts with huge crowds in football stadiums are cool, but such small limited ones have a charm of its own, the intimacy here really brings out the beautiful connection of the music and passion between the band and the fans. Being an old fan and all this being happening so unexpected I was very moved (as said many even cried when hearing their favourite songs) I must have had goosebumps throughout the show. Everyone of them was great.

Jari. Jani. Jaska. Olli. Captain. Marko. Every single guy nailed it. (And it is always great to see Marko show his theatricality on stage)

When I read this article by Rolling Stone India some days back, it really did get to me.

“We love India. This is the only country in the world where we feel like great rockstars. We get mobbed at our gigs.”

I surely hope you loved your travel, stay and gigs here. I hoped we lived up to your expectations and exceeded it. You sure did. Thank you for the best day of my life, yet! Hoping to see you again soon!

Ending it with this sweet tee signed by Marko, Captain and Olli which I nabbed from Hard Rock Cafe Pune. (They signed exclusively 20 of them!) :D

Don't cry for your love, cry tears of joy
Cos you're alive cradled in love


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

An App-e-tite well served

IndiBlogger - Connecting Bloggers (across India)

As you read it, it is my knock off version of Nokia's famous tagline Connecting People. That is precisely what IndiBlogger does. Well though the actual one is what you see here, the aforementioned does a decent job in sending the same message (I hope)

The 58th meet took place on 19th August 2012 at the Taj Lands End hotel in Bandra, Mumbai sponsored by Nokia. Before the event itself since few days before I was bit skeptical for firstly despite me being a "techie" I don't own a smart phone! Yeah one reading this might find it hard to believe, me being a computer engineering student, having 5 computers at home, being the "Alienware and Razer" elite, hobbyist, photographer, adventurer, geek and doing all sorts of crap I'm a stone age man when it comes to a cell phone and all it's related stuff. That was a big reason for my awkwardness (which to some extent followed in the meet, but to no worries)
But despite that I did really want to go being a part of the community for some years and receiving their e-mails all the time. So I went which became one of the most memorable evenings of my life.

The ambiance of the venue was splendid. (As people I know always tell me) I usually end up at the right place at the right time, I got to meet the men (and women of course) behind IndiBlogger itself, old timers and got to volunteer being a part of the team! An awesome start with more to follow. (And I also made a new Alien-brother) :D

It was a very marvelous site. A gathering of more than 200 people, bloggers to be precise in an already great venue, most being online friends talking in forums, twitter, etc. throughout the time all related by a single connection - blogging (no Nokia pun intended) who were all meeting for the first time. It was a wonderful site to see and be a part of. Myself meeting literally everyone for the first time.

After (getting a bit high and) greeting all the attendees of the evening and making everyone "feel the brilliance" the much awaited Vikas Khanna and Rajiv Makhni took the stage, who began the main theme of the event AppTasting (Applications, Appetite, Testing, Tasting whichever mash up you like) And since it was sponsored by Nokia with a lot of goodies so #NokiaAppTasting

 The IndiBlogger team welcoming everyone

 The IndiWelcome "HO HO!!"

They started off by how technology is deeply rooted in our lives today, in particularly mobile phones, how integral it has become and how food being (an actual) essential be merged with it. Apps have become a big deal in our lives used extensively (remember my awkwardness?) Rajiv totally pulled if off by making everyone stand, telling everyone to "lustfully" look at our phones and say "I love you" since it makes so much sense in a perspective (Although I agree, I so wished to tell that guy "dude look at me! I'm still waiting for my love god knows when she will enter my life") :P

With this thus began a very creative "debate" between Team Foodies leaded by Vikas and Team Techie charged by Rajiv, randomly chosen bloggers from the audience for choosing a side and putting forth their views and likings for a 30 seconds moment of fame. There were people of varying ages and tastes which was good to see. Did I mention there were prizes to be won (throughout the evening/night)? Oh Yes.

 Rajiv and Vikas in their game

Thinking for myself it would have been tough for me to choose since I'm both a big time foodie and as mentioned a techie, but considering overall as one blogger very brilliantly put forward, it is relatively easy to tolerate without food but how much without technology and internet? (Sorry Vikas!) It appeared Vikas was getting all the love initially but Rajiv soon managed to give a fight.

The Master Chef than shared many of his expertise to the delight of food lovers, cooks and future wives most notable the "Kya aap pyaaz kaat sakthey hey?" contest which was filled with laugh bursting moments, and surprisingly the guy with the "best performance" doesn't even cook. Looks like bloggers win here too. This was followed by a quiz which some of the brave took part it, and when the need arose the crowd took a role. Many foody-facts like famous Indian dishes (which Vikas claimed even he didn't knew like most of us until he heard of it from other places) Being a South Indian myself I was pretty shocked to hear myself that Rasam was so famous which I considered "meh" as common to our households have it every second day. And to the very delight of Mumbaikars when we came to know Vikas honored Vada Pav to the world as nod to us during his visits. Well I guess he won the crowd's heart there itself. (The same dude answered that question who took the first pic above of my back of the tee)

But it was not all just about food, it was AppTasting remember? There was a lot about technology and mobile phone tech in particular, uncommon to most. A very enthusiastic contest between the participants went on. On these parts I remember jumping raising my hands from the side, well I couldn't take part since I was part of the IndiBlogger team, but hey atleast Rajiv acknowledged me saying that looks like I'm ready for every question's answer, so the participants be thankful I'm not taking part. That was a win for me :D
Well in the end the winning 2 chicks got a Nokia Lumia phone and everyone got prizes so I was wondering for once some right place I was in.

A coverage of the entire audience was shown on screen which was shot by a guy before and during the events of the meet, on whom even I had an eye on before the meet started when things were being set up. A fashion show turned silent Charlie Chaplin short movie and a photo hunt which made the entire crowd (finally!) get up their lazy asses, a vast discussion and sharing of knowledge which took place followed by all the ice-breaking and contests. Our celebrities roamed around the places asking for ideas on what would their ideal apps be made, many interesting and hilarious ones included which ranged from how to swap their husband's credit card from the phone (dam woman) to various food and travel related. In the end the one with how drunk one is got a nod, and it actually already exists.

So with nearly 3 hours of awesomeness the dynamic duo signed off for the evening, when the next phase of the much awaited meet came up - Dinner & Drinks :D (well there were snacks and drinks served throughout and I don't remember how much of the latter was already in my system)
Before catching up with people, post discussions and photograph sessions, was announced that IndiBlogger had completed 5 years of existence on 15th August, when a cool cake was brought in to be cut and rejoiced by all. Bloggeshwaris had brought a very sweet card filled with best wishes for the community. Humbled and Thankful!

Birthday card for IndiBlogger's 5th Birthday!

The yummy birthday cake

With this wrapped up a very successful IndiBlogger meet and I'm already looking forward (and helping/working on) the next!

To (sort of) summarize:
  • Meet many amazing folks from the people behind IndiBlogger and being one of them in the true sense.
  • Didn't have a smart phone, but I was smart enough.
  • Its good to raise your lazy ass up once a while always helps
  • Active discussion and such meetings are good for the soul (and head, though occasionally somethings are realized after the hangover)
  • Cool and Crazy contests, good ideas and thinking can let you win something, gut helps too.
  • Continued from of Pt 1, met Vikas Khanna and Rajiv Makhani. Enough said.
  • Happy 5th Birthday IndiBlogger! Would be great to see when you turn 50 (By then if I'm alive)
  • I realized even my blog is 5 years old, coincidentally even I started blogging when I was 15 in August 2007! So destiny made me be here. 

 So I end with kudos to IndiBlogger for organizing such great meets, and which I never mentioned for FREE! Free always feels good, even if you have hell lot of money (In my case, poor student me)
And special thanks to Nokia India for sponsoring us.

                                                                                   There were Angry Birds cookies too! 

 With the stars of the show

Disclaimer: They say a picture says a thousand words, but I decided to go with the words instead as by know one knows from how miserable I felt (sort of) in the beginning and feeling awesome in the end. But yeah, refer to Pt 1 and 2.

Courtesy of IndiBloggers Swati Maheswari (IndiBlogger album link) and Hemal Shah (album link) for all the amazing pictures.
Special thanks to Firzoe Shakir (album link) and Harsh Sodi (blog link)
(Thanks to them was able to hook up the words with some images in the end)
This year 2012 I have been least active sadly, and this was the push I needed to get back on track!

Though this post was inevitable and in the making, the fact that there is a contest and Vikas and Rajiv are going to read (and judge!) this themselves and there are Lumia and Pureview phones to be won, that is like an extra fuel in itself :D (for the god-knows-what-time I need a phone) :P

Update: Well I didn't win (but one of the winners was BlogwatiG, the one who gave that idea for the credit card swipe app) Congrats to the winners. Looks like I'm stuck phone-less for real now until god knows when. Oh well, next time.

Until next time.