Sunday, June 12, 2005

Study for my FRENCH exam or pubbing at "SOMEPLACE ELSE" - the last temptation of PRASANNA

I have a French exam this Thursday - I'm even taking 2 days leave from work (Wednesday for studies, Thursday for failing the stupid exam)

Someplace Else - the best pub in Kolkata. The only pub in this huge congested city where the DJ wil play you LINKIN PARK, METALLICA, NIRVANA, 70's rock, PINK FLOYD, etc. A rock pub, if there ever was one. The only pub in the city where there are live performances by the city's top rock bands every day of the week. A pub where the country's top bands come over to play live as well. Situated on Kolkata's posh Park Street area. In the premises of the posh Park Hotel. A pub which I love. A pub which has successfully turned me into a blob of alchoholic junk!!!

Saturday. Thought I'd study in the evening. Then my pals Diya and Aniruddh Sur call me up. Tell me they're going to SPE (short for SOMEPLACE ELSE), and do I wanna come along? And I wouldn't have to pay! Well I'm only human right? What could I do... I gave in to temptation!

So I joined them, and I was expecting a normal Saturday night with the booze and the babes and the blues, courtesy the SATURDAY NIGHT BLUES BAND (yup generally Saturday is a blues night at SPE)... but HOW WRONG I WAS!!!!!

We reach SPE and find out that it's a special night - the group SPAN are gonna be playing a set of alternative and modern rock tracks... SPE has named this the NIGHT FOR THE NEW FACE OF ROCK!!!

For those of you who don't know, SPAN comprises of Neel Adhikari (ex-Krosswindz and currently in the Saturday Night Blues Band), Stuart Munro (current bass guitarist of the Saturday Night Blues Band), Chirodip Lahiri (currently the drummer of Krosswindz), keyboardist Raja Deb, and super-talented lead guitarist Tajdar Junaid.

So what did they play and why am I so ga-ga after last Saturdays performance? Man, they played grunge, they played alternative, they played modern rock - they played just about anything that a person NEVER gets to hear at SPE. And for someone like me who prefers heavy metal/alternative more than the blues/60's-70's rock, it was like finding an oasis in a desert!! I was also struck by the sheer volume of the crowd that poured in - this was a mega successful night for SPE. And it also proved to me that Calcuttans love the alternative/modern rock stuff just as much as they love the Doors/Pink Floyd/the Rolling Stones, etc.

SPAN... I've been pubbing at SPE for god knows how many years - and I honestly never even bothered to come on the nights that SPAN played. But going by their performance this Saturday, well, maybe I was wrong! They used to play on Mondays, but now their slot's been changed to Thursdays, so I think I'll sample them on Thursday nights. Unfortunately they supposedly don't play the same modern rock set that they dished out on Saturday - but what the heck, I am a big fan of SPAN now!!

They started off with OASIS and Wonderwall, then followed it up by R.E.M. and Losing My Religion. Great guiatring and drumming... the music was slowly getting me high. Then they played Clocks by COLDPLAY (they actually played 4 songs by COLDPLAY, they love this band), and GREENDAY with When I Come Around... by now I was screaming my head off from the back of the pub - it was waaaay too crowded in front of the stage though, as usual, so I didn't try getting freaky with the crowd. Actually I never do - I'm alwayz at the back shouting like I've got a microphone attached to my voice box. Helps that I have a booming voice! Heh!

Anyway, then they played MAROON 5 and She Will Be Loved followed by RADIOHEAD's Creep... I love that song! With the intro of Creep I sorta lost my power to think straight. Shit, and it's only now I realise that 2 gorgeous women were standing right beside me, knocking my elbows while I was screaming out loud "I Wish I Was Special, So FUCKING Special"... I was so engrossed and high with the music that I just ignored them (Sorry ladies wherever you are, I hope you understand... I'll flirt with you 2 some other time! )

The opening bars of HOOBASTANK's The Reason - and I totally went bonkers. I left my unfinished drink and shoved myself all the way to the front of the stage, much to the astonishment of my pals whom I left behind!
Shoving your way to the front of the crowd during a rock show is an art which I am yet to master, and I stepped on the delicate toes of quite a few pretty dames on the way. My God, if eyes could throw daggers I would have been stabbed multiple times within that 30 second "SHOVING" time-frame... gosh I'm never ever gonna get a date now!!

So there I was, somehow managing to slither myself to the front row despite my portly shape (I guess people get intimidated by pony-tailed guyz and just move away!), singing my voice hoarse and even head-banging (The only one in the entire crowd who was head-banging actually, much to the utter amazement of the lead guitarist who I was standing in front of!!). But can you blame me? I loved the music they played. So after the excellent HOOBASTANK rendition, came THE RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS with Californication, PEARL JAM covers of the Last Kiss and Even Flow (the latter being the last song of the night - but I'm mentioning now anyway). COLLECTIVE SOUL - Gel and December, FASTBALL's Outta My Head, JAMIRAQUOI (yuck!! they coulda skipped this artist), EAGLE EYE CHERRY's Are You Still Having Fun, COLDPLAY galore like I previously mentioned - Yellow, In My Place and Trouble, a souped up modern rock version of TOM PETTY's Free Falling, and finally, the song which I hoped they would play, and which made me head-bang so much I have a dislocated neck bone now... NIRVANA and Smells Like Teen Spirit. Whew - what a night!

About SPAN and the set they played. I believe in most parts of the country rock bands get to play similar sets, and on a pretty frequent basis too. Places like Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Delhi obviously have more pubs and more indigenous rock groups. Plus at mopst colege fests u will the bands playing these songs. But the fact is, the scene is a lot different in Kolkata - bands hardly do this stuff over here - and at SPE, this was a 1st. So SPAN - u guys did a realy commendable job. Hats off to you folks.

I know a lot of you reading this are thinking "Big Deal" - well let me tell you, it is a big deal. I am seeing the face of modern rock/metal/alternative finally coming into the open in Kolkata. Before my very eyes. And I am absolutely thrilled - it's like a dream come true for me.

The new manager of SPE, Gautam Singh, is doing a good thing by trying to change the music scene at SPE. Change is inevitable, and changes such as these I warmly welcome with open arms.

Shit, I forgot... French... I wasted an entire evening screaming my guts out and head-banging, and I forgot all about my up-coming exam!! I am DOOMED!! :(

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

For Mz. Poodle Lahiri!!

Well, as promised - a silly poem for a special woman!! Hope she likes it....

There is this cute woman, as sweet as a poodle,
Chirpy and pretty, and who loves to doodle.
So sit back you all and read her grand story
Of how she has struggled to gain fortune and glory.

She was born in the hills of the north and the east,
Where lived the magical joogoogoojoo beast.
Now, this beast fell in love with our pretty lass
But his heart of stone broke into fragments of glass,
The day she left home and went to the South
And started to stuff idlis into her mouth!

For years did she study 'till she got her degree
For years did she live on just idlis and ghee
For years did she long to be wild and free
But all that went boom when she became a YUPPIE!!

So now our dear poodle is a workaholic
And sketching and shoes are her only tonic!
Sometimes she splurges on hand-bags and clothes
And dreams to go PUNK, and get a ring on her nose!!
She works and she works and goes home late at night,
Too tired to be cooking or to fly a kite.
Too tired to meet friends or handsome young guys,
Too tired to eat pizza or crunchy french fries!
Too tired to go pubbing or even to SNOG!!
She just seems to work or occasionally BLOG!

But along comes the eccentric beast of the hills...
Once high on the booze and the fags and the pills -
He's changing his ways - no time for cheap thrills,
He's working his ass off to pay all his bills!!

From afar (i.e. Kolkata) he sees the girl of his dream,
And he's thinking to woo her with some crazy, cool scheme.
He logs into orkut and starts driving her silly,
Our very own poodle, Miss Ritu Lahiri!!

Who knows what will happen to the joogoogoojoo beast!
Will he find success with his scheme from the east?
Or maybe he'll fly over and live down in the south,
And stuff his fat gut with idlis into his mouth...

Well whatever he does, he is on a mission
To save a sweet poodle from her current position.
He's gonna make sure she don't work off her ass.
He's gonna try hard to save this cute lass.

So this, my friends, is the saga of Ritu
And how she's been tormented by the beast joogoogoojoo
Who knows what will happen at the end of this story...
Will she keep on working for her fortune and glory?
Or will the beast from the east have his own way?
Corrupt and brain-wash her... well, we'll find out SOME DAY!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

10 Reasons Why I Love The Star Wars Saga...

1. It makes me feel young again - 100% an unadulaterated fun-filled sci-fi-fantasy saga - all stories should be like this.

2. Han Solo - wish I could be as cool as him (I still have some miles to go!)

3. Light-sabres - the coolest weapons around - wish I had one - even though my Rebaca colleagues think they look like tube-lights.

4. Jedi knights - always had a thing for knights, be they Arthurian ones - or the ones on the chess board. Plus their power to control and manipulate the "FORCE"... awesome!

5. John Williams - and his theme for the film - in fact the theme for all the Star Wars films - I have no words to describe the beauty of these pieces.

6. Yoda - and wasn't he just awesome in the battle sequence in "Attack Of The Clones"?? - plus, he showed how speak English we must - cool Jedi Master he being!

7. Darth Maul - he had by far the best light-saber of them all - and for a villain/Sith Lord who hardky spoke, well lemme just say - he gave Darth Vader a good run for his money in the evil quotient.

8. Darth Vader - how could I leave him out? The best villain in the history of cinema - and what a voice! (courtesy James Earl Jones)

9. Chewbacca - YAWAAAHHWYAAHHAAA - don't ask me to translate that from Wookie speak to English!

10. The satisfaction of seeing everything fall into place - I can't say how absolutely marvellous I found the various plot loop-holes getting tied up in "The Revenge Of The Sith". Now I know why Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Now I know why Padme Amidala died at child-birth. Now I know why Senator Bail Organa adopted Leia and why Luke lived with his uncle and aunt. And why Obi Wan shifted base to Tatooine. And why C-3PO/R2-D2 do not remember a friggin incident about the past. And why there were no more jedis... blah blah blah!

I could list another 100 more points - but this will have to do till now...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

ARSENAL - "2005-2006: A New Beginning".... You Think???

OK, so lazy bum and coach potato intellect supreme that I am (on top of being a self-proclaimed football guru - although my shape resembles that of a football these days!) - I have decided to dissect/criticize/put forward my highly opinionated views on my favourite soccer team - "ARSENAL".

After Arsenal's majorly mucked up season this time around, son't you think there is a huge scope for improvement for the Gunners? Well I do... so here are my views on what Arsene Wenger and his team of trusty helpers should and should not do for the forth-coming season:

1. OK, so task #1 - lets take a look at the current 1st team that they have:

Goalkeepers Strikers
Jens Lehmann Jose Antonio Reyes
Stuart Taylor Dennis Bergkamp
Manuel Almunia Robin van Persie
Chris Wright Thierry Henry
Jeremie Aliadiere
Adam Birchall
Arturo Lupoli
Quincy Owusu Abeyie

Defenders Midfielders
Ashley Cole Patrick Vieira
Lauren Robert Pires
Pascal Cygan Fredrik Ljungberg
Philippe Senderos Francesc Fabregas
Gael Clichy Mathieu Flamini
Sol Campbell Edu
Kolo Toure Gilberto Silva
Emmanuel Eboue Sebastian Larsson
Justin Hoyte Olafur-Ingi Skulason
Sebastian Svard Ryan Smith
Ryan Garry Jermaine Pennant
Daniel Karbassiyoon David Bentley
Johan Djourou

Heh - I even included David Bentley and Jermaine Pennant in the list, even though they're on loan to Norwich Town and Birmingham City respectively.

OK, so goalkeepers 1st: Lehmann and Almunia both seem to be making the same types of mistakes while on the field - they are both susceptible to the high ball - and what's worse, they both lack a basic sense of positioning for set-pieces (read corners and free-kicks). SO what Wenger needs to do is sell Almunia - no questions asked. Lehmann is at least an old-warhouse with European club championship experience (if memory serves me right, he did pretty well for Borussia Dortmund), as well as having represented Germany at the World Cup and at the Euro Championships. Plus, he is desperate to perform well so that Klinsmann selects him for next year's World Cup in his home country. So my gut feeling says - forgive and forget his current mediocre season - next season he's gonna be a monster (desperation has always been a great adrenaline charger for most players!)
I always liked Stuart Taylor, and he had an excellent season when Seamen was injured a few years ago - but he needs more opportunities from Wenger - at least they should play him in the Coca Cola matches. That should be a good morale booster for him. Chris Wright?? Who's he? If he's one of those young 'uns, then okay - warm the bench and get the big match feel. For another season at least.

My Verdict: Sell Almunia. Fast-track Taylor. Give him more responsibilities. Buy a new goalkeeper to provide competition to Taylor. Also ensure that the new guy is a more than capable back-up for Lehmann if there is an injury down the line. Suggestions anyone?? Howz about Mart Poom?
Of course, ideally I would love it if Arsenal bought Carlo Cudicini - that would worry the pants off Lehmann!

And off to our defenders we shall go: And yes, this is where we got screwed big-time this season - we scored tons (as usual), and as usual we conceded tons as well. But this time it was open season at the Arsenal defensive line - like, "Score one, get another goal FREE!".
Sol Campbell is old - there is no running away from that. And Pascal Cygan is NOT his best replacement. Toure is a good intelligent footballer. But every so often his "midfielder" instinct goes to his head. And he forgets the basics of central defending. Just look how he screwed up against Bayern Munich. Anyway, this is what, his 2nd year as a hard-core central defender? He'll improve - but please, when you're a defender, at least play like one - no fancy foot-work ala Lucio!
Campbell needs to get his England career out of his system and concentrate fully on his Arsenal career, becoz slowly but surely he is going to lose his sharpness. And anyway, he's fast turning into Arsenal's sick-note. (I beg your pardon Monsieur Darren Anderton!)
Ashley Cole MUST NOT be allowed to leave Arsenal at any cost. Gael Clichy and Senderos both have an excellent future over here as well. Lauren must stay but we definitely need a youngster to come up fast as his rival/back-up - if a player as good as Silvinho could be ousted by Ashley Cole, then surely we should be trying to get some one in such a similar situation on the right-flank of the Arsenal defensive line. Hoyte, Svard and Eboue (reminds me of Cristiano Ronaldo once in a while with his fancy dribbling) still need to be nurtured further - next season is still too early for them. Similarly it goes for the other young defenders as well. (I can't even pronounce the name of one of them!)

My Verdict: Get rid of Cygan - buy a real central defender!! An Italian preferably. (I can dream can't I?) Send a few kids out on loan (Hoyte, Eboue, Svard). To me, selling both Moritz Volz and Matthew Upson were big big mistakes. Especially Upson. They could have done it on the Arsenal stage as well - they just needed time to get it straight.
Anyway, we need a central defender, and that is final. And a good one too. Alessandro Nesta is my choice (someone pinch me, I'm dreaming!)

The midfielders now: Vieira, Edu, Gilberto Silva, Flamini, Fabregas … notice a pattern here? Aren’t all of these central midfield players? At least the 1st 4 are – and Fabregas started the season in that role too. So my question here is, where are the creative midfielders a.k.a. the goal-scoring midfield maestros?
Pires is a magnificent player – but he’s growing older and injury susceptible too. Ljungberg is another outstanding servant of Arsenal, who similarly spends quite a bit on his medical bills. Pennant and Bentley are 2 extremely talented and creative players – and Wenger both loaned them out. I would have thought a season at Leeds (where he was absolutely amazing, by the way!) would have been enough to go by for Arsene Wenger. In fact, half a season would more than have made a man out of young Pennant. He definitely should have been given more chances this season. I seriously fear the same thing might happen to Bentley as well, i.e. he isn't going to be getting many opportunities to play in the Arsenal 1st team. Wenger should have more faith on his English-bred youngsters. They definitely can do the job.
So now the big question – our midfield is solid in the middle – Vieira and Gilberto are quality supreme. Edu should be made to stay back because he’s versatile player, and can even slot in on the flanks. Flamini… hmm. Was he really necessary? Yes, he has had a few good games, but he’s a player who doesn’t add any new dimension to an already heavy-duty Arsenal midfield. We need a solid classy midfielder. David Beckham. He’s suddenly regained his old form and has been instrumental in driving Real Madrid forward. Where’s an Overmars when you need one!

My Verdict: It’s great that we have so many quality and up-and-coming central mid-fielders – but maybe we have too many. Time for the AXE! And I vote for Flamini to go.
Bring back Bentley and play him next season for Chrissake! Pennant looks like a lost soul for Arsenal – another creative player down the drain! So okay, buy one! Beckham, Robben, Duff – or someone who has similar skills. Sheesh, there must be someone out there good enough to score and create goals. And who has a good intelligent footballing brain as well. Joe Cole? Owen Hargreaves? (well maybe not thaaat creative, is he?)… oh I know, how about Shaun Wright-Phillips?

And finally, the strikers: You know, how can I complain about the forwards? They score soooo many goals. And Henry on his own is like a Godzilla for goal-scoring! But what happens when he’s out injured? What then? Well lets look at our options:
Bergkamp is like GOD to me. But I think this just might be his final season. He managed to roll back the years last season, but this time he’s been a peripheral figure on the field, most of the time not being able to keep pace with the flow. I would be very surprised if he was here for another season. At the most, he could play the role of a back-up striker – launch him at the opponent team in the last 15 minutes or so. Roger Milla style.
Persie? Wow! Yes, he has a future. He just needs to take it slow. He’s not gonna be playing each and every match next season too. But he is 100% the next Arsenal star in the making – provided he doesn’t get too many red cards.
Reyes? Aw, I am totally disappointed with him. He started off like a rocket this season – and suddenly, phhhft! The lights have gone out! I hate to say this – but maybe he needs to be shown the door. Either that, or he needs a good shrink. Because it’s not his skills that are letting him down – it’s his attitude. His mind isn’t into the Arsenal mold of things. He needs to ask himself a few hard questions, like, why is he at Arsenal? Anyone who moves to a foreign country and who doesn’t speak the language is gonna take time to adjust. But what’s the point of making that an issue. Be mature boyo – try and adjust faster. Your career is at stake here!

My Verdict: As long as Henry lives, so Arsenal shall continue breathing oxygen. Bergkamp? Ok, sentimental favorite, give him one more year – but play him in a Roger Milla type role. Persie and Aliadiere need to stick around – they are the future. Reyes? If he’s gonna act like a dodo, well, then sell him! To Real Madrid if necessary! And yes, buy someone new for sure – another established forward wouldn’t be a bad idea over here. Suggestions? Ho hum – that’s a toughie – Shevchenko is a wee bit over-the-top money-wise I guess. Then, what about that Argentinean chap Javier Saviola? He’s sorta lost direction in recent times, but under the able guidance of Wenger he might be able to strike the right chord here. Can't think of anyone else actually. And for some reason Dean Ashton's name is floating in my head! Now that would be the suprise of the century.

Final Verdict: We need new players – a new central defender, a few flair mid-fielders, a striker… even a goalie. We need to chuck out a few useless players with redundant playing styles. And finally – with so many excellent youngsters around, Wenger needs to re-vamp his team selection policy and give them a chance. Make them feel wanted. Make them feel a part of Arsenal.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


When I grow old (oops!! I already am!),
And can't tell the difference between jelly and jam,
I'll be thinking of geetika and the poem she wrote,
About my sweet eyes - and I'll make a small note -
That whenever I meet her I'll give her a smile,
I'll hold her right hand, and we'll flirt for a while,
And then I'll sit down and take out my ink pen -
I'll fill up a form and smile once again!
Oh aren't I sweet and a swell sorta guy...
Hey Geets, I filled up a form to donate you my eye!!
Left eye or right eye - you take your pick!!

Whatever you choose, it just gives me a kick,
That a pretty lass like you could write me a sonnet,
Oh lord in heaven - there's a bee in my bonnet!!!!

I wrote this nonsensical poem for a lovely and charming friend of mine - Geetika, currently living Baltimore, Maryland (in the big bad country we all know so well!). I kinda returned a favour to her becoz she wrote me this:

in your eyes I have beheld:
the mischief of youth,
the cynicism of age,
held in balance by their humorous light.

in your eyes I have seen:
a subtle fire
a curious kindness
unexpected reflections
of your enigmatic heart.

Thank you Geetika - your the first person to have ever written a poem about/for me!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

7 Months - and change

7 months.

I feel empty. I feel like I've lost direction. I feel unhappy. I feel like the whole world is ganging up on me. I feel like I'm a whole new person - a stranger.

I don't recognise myself anymore.

Can 7 months really make so much difference to a person? Can a person change so much in 7 months? Introspection. Like that helps!

7 months back:
1. I was the office clown.
2. I made a decision to stick to a certain company despite the pay being lousy and despite the fact that the work was even lousier.
3. I signed up to learn French.
4. I had trouble tying my hair in a pony-tail!
5. I stopped my Sunday morning football outings - my only source of wholesome sweaty physical exertion.
6. I became a privileged member of SOMEPLACE ELSE - more booze on the house!
7. I was just getting over the migration of my best pal and his wife and kid to hip 'n sunny California.
8. I was listening to HOOBASTANK, LINKIN PARK, EVANESCENCE, SLIPKNOT and other similar nu-metal/alternative bands.
9. I was partying at least twice a week (in Kolkata "twice a week" is majorly frequent!!).
10. I was merrily planning ahead for the Puja festivities - still a month-and-a-half away.
11. I was more vulgar and uncouth than a pimp from Dharavi.
12. I was vibrant and fun to be with.
13. I looked forward to spending time with friends, families and colleagues. I enjoyed socialising. I enjoyed dating.
14. I looked forward to each day with enthusiasm.
15. I was still searching for "THE ONE".
16. I was different.

7 months down the line:
1. I have stopped cracking jokes at office - I am not in the mood for clowning around these days.
2. I sometimes feel that my decision to stick to a certain company was wrong, despite the work now being interesting and my pay being a helluva lot better than what it was back then.
3. I still can't speak a friggin' fluent French sentence despite having gone through 3 semesters of elementary French these past 7 months. And I am about to start my 4th and final semester any day now!
4. I have hair so long that people mistake me for a woman when they see my pony-tail from behind.
5. I have grown so fat that even my underwear feels tight and if I walk too fast my bones ache all over. My engine is all fucked up.
6. I have cut down on booze and cigarettes - and SOMEPLACE ELSE too.
7. I have stopped missing my friends, because they don't miss me. Apparently.
8. I listen to KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, IN FLAMES, LACUNA COIL, CRADLE OF FILTH, DIMMU BORGIR, CHILDREN OF BODOM and other such death/black/goth/grind-core bands these days (and the other stuff I listened to as well, 7 months back) ... and I'm enjoying these extreme musical genres immensely.
9. I go out so infrequently these days that I've forgotten what the inside of a discotheque or a lounge bar looks like.
10. I have stopped making plans anymore - they never turn out properly anyway.
11. I hardly talk much these days - so in a way I have stopped being vulgar and uncouth - some improvement that!
12. I have stopped being a fun person to be with. Period.
13. I feel like taking a sword and decapitating a few people around. I feel like my colleagues either don't like me or don't take me seriously. I feel pissed off with everyone around me.
14. I don't look forward to the new day anymore - I think... nay, I know, I am stagnating. I want change.
15. I have stopped searching for "THE ONE".... she doesn't exist in my life-time.
16. I am different.

I'm a morose nut-case with violent tendencies.
I'm a wordly-wise individual frustrated with the system and his surroundings.
I'm an old foggie who can't keep pace with this mucked-up world.
I'm looking around for brighter days, for better times.
I'm searching for my old self. Please help me find him. Whoever you are. Please.

The Times They Are A' Changing....

I haven't written in quite a while, and my fingers were itching today to be CREATIVE! So here I am. Again. And no, I am not gonna bad-mouth the IT sector in this blog. Passe it has become.

I think my last post was in August - that was like a millenium ago! And it feels extremely weird trying to chain up a few words into coherent and interesting sentences. And worst of all, I don't even know what I'm typing about here. I'm rambling. Like an old man.

I think I've changed - well my attitude has at least. Maybe more. 7 months it's been.