America, Bangalore, Melancholia, Music, Serious Writing, The things that happen only to ME..., Thoughts

Boarding a Spaceship with KRAFTWERK and The Man Machine

I follow one principle when buying vinyl records:

Never order online.

There is no romance to it. The real excitement lies in digging through hundreds of used and new records in record stores and finding that one awesome album that you never expected to find. Every time that happens, I feel like a kid in candy land.

However, after over 2 years of unsuccessful search across the country to locate this particular album, I had to give up on my coveted principle and order it online.

The one that made me compromise: The Man Machine by Kraftwerk. 

Kraftwerk: The Man Machine

I just received this record in my mail and I headed straight to frame the album cover on my wall. Then I headed to my record player and started the record spinning. And then those sounds – possibly straight out of a Stanley Kubrick movie – a prolonged bling, then another and another, and then…..

We’re charging our battery
And now we’re full of energy
We are the robots

Fuckin’ A!!

As far as I am concerned, The Man Machine easily has the best album cover ever made. A minimalist photograph of 4 expressionless German dudes in blood red shirts with black ties and faces as pale as they had seen a ghost – or maybe they ARE the ghosts – standing one behind the other and staring sideways at something that appears to be commanding all their attention, respect and admiration. The inner sleeve contains more haunting photographs of what appears to be wax models of the 4 men playing instruments and posing for photographs. Try coming up with something more awe inspiring and profound than that and you will make your mark in history.

There is something otherworldly about this album art. Holding it in your hand while listening to the music makes you feel like you are holding a product – a creation – from a world far far away in both space and time. While this music is definitely not from the present, it definitely makes you wonder if this music is from the future or from some mysterious time in the past when 4 strange looking men envisioned how music in the future would be.

To me, the reason this album holds special significance is because I was exposed to it when I was a kid. Of all the people, my dad had brought this album home on cassette. Till today he does not remember how or why he got hold of it. He has not heard to any other Krafwerk’s albums and he does not even recollect the exact name of the band. But when I asked him a month ago here in America, he distinctly recollected owning and listening to the album (in his own words, it was an album “which showed 4 white faced men staring blankly away from the camera”) when I was a kid of maybe 5-6 years old. For reasons I do not recollect or comprehend, I did not play that tape a couple of years after I first listened to it and had never listened to any of that album since then – even by accident.

As a 5-6 year old kid, The Man Machine had captivated me to no end. I remember playing it on a loop for hours together. It transported me to another world –  a world in my own imagination filled with space ships in which 4 strange expressionless men in red shirts captivated thousands of people with their hypnotic music. It filled up my imagination with the same intensity as comic books or sci-fi cartoons.

It is hard to describe the sudden and intense rush of memories from the past that comes about when I listen to a particular song or album – something that was strongly associated with that particular time or person. It is stronger than nostalgia. The Man Machine took me back to a time when the biggest worry in my life was to do my homework, eat my vegetables and polish my shoes. It reminded me of squatting in front of a Phillips 2 speaker system, putting in the cassette, rewinding it all the way, hitting play and then just staring at it in eager anticipation for that hypnotic bling to take me to a spaceship far far away. And it never failed to do so.

And then today, almost 20 years after I had last listened to that album, when the needle of my record player landed on the brand new vinyl, I was back on that spaceship. I was back on that spaceship and I did not get back to Earth for more than 2 hours.

There are a few people and things on this planet who/which can make me smile and laugh and feel happy in an instant – just to have known or experienced them or to be able to experience them again. The right music can definitely achieve that for me.

The Man Machine by Kraftwerk had me smiling and laughing and dancing in a spaceship like I had not done in almost 20 years.

Fuckin’ A!

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Alcohol, Arbit, NITK, The things that happen only to ME...

My Last 24 Hours @ NITK

This post is exactly 1 year late but I guess I deliberately waited for this day (or maybe I was just plain lazy).  Here I will be recollecting whatever I can of the last 24 hours of my life in NITK before I left it for good.  I left NITK on a bus at 9:30PM on April 24th 2008. And so my recollection starts at around 9:30PM on 23 April 2008.Aft

After the last Cricket match (titled the Aneesh Ghoshta and Sadanand Memorial Cricket Match) in the evening and subsequent bathing and dining, me, Sadanand, Logik, Hiran and Suhas decide to have one last TEA at the Nestle Maggi Center which was such an integral part in our first year. After ending up spending 100 bucks for “TEA” with some unexpected company, Hiran hit upon the idea of revisiting all the rooms that we stayed in the previous years. And so we began our “trip down memory lane” from 2nd Block where we first roomed (Room No. 16) to 3rd Block for my 2nd Year (Room No.19) and then to 4th Block for my 3rd Year (Room No.3). We all tried to recollect each and every one of our neighbours in the entire wing and it was also heartening to see my old room(19) still proudly displaying all my writings on the door and wardrobe. It was really a trip down memory lane.

I was done with drinking alcohol the previous night (for a full detailed description, see Post BTech High Series) and was just downloading from DC++ when Gayru and Choukkar turned up out of nowhere-with a bottle of Old Monk Rum in their hands. And so while we chatted for some time, they forced me to gulp down some of the Old Monk rum saying that THIS was the last night that I would be staying and so I had to do it. I did gulp down a bit. I remember playing “Another Harry’s Bar” by Jethro Tull while they were there and appreciating the relevance of its lyrics. Soon after they left, I realized that I couldn’t really waste my last night at NITK by sleeping.

And so I stayed awake the entire night-downloading stuff from DC++ and writing it on my DVDs. I ended up with about 60 DVDs of stuff by the time I was done. Bo and Bloodshot were the main sources of the downloads-both of them having been awake till late in the morning. And at around 5 in the morning, Vig, P and me went to Thadambail to have the early morning hot buns for the last time. It was as blissfully tasty as ever and I also learnt how Riise had scored an own goal in the dying seconds of the Chelsea-Liverpool Semi FInal FIrst leg of the UEFA Champions League that had got over a few hours back. We parted ways at around 6 and I left my computer for the final downloading session and went to sleep.

Got up at around 8 and began packing immediately. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was the fact that my computer-one of the biggest aspects of the 4 years- met a rather unceremonious end when I had to shut it down when the power went off. Too bad..coz I had planned on a final playlist that I would be playing before I would pack it. Well, that was not to be. But what was sure was most of my day being spent in packing and sending it through the courier. By late afternoon, I was more or less done with the packing and thought of meeting all the profs once before I left. But unfortunately none were to be found. But I did meet someone special on my way back to the hostel after just missing out on saying Goodbye to Gokul.

I did meet some interesting people for the last time. The 1st and 2nd Block cleaner-the guy who goes by the name of Darwin- was the recipient of a cool 50 bucks from my side for having been of immense help many a time during all the 4 years. I wanted to meet the mess workers of Mysore Mess 1 and say goodbye to them, but unfortunately I was really running short of time. So much so, I refused an invitation to accompany Sad and Hiran to the beach. Went around hunting for people to sign the yearbook but was disappointed by learning that many of my classmates had already left.  So I came back to my room and wound up my packing.

Then I just sat there in my room, taking a long last look at my room. There wasnt much to really look at. But it was still everything that I had. I put on my shoes and tossed my backpack around. Kept all my bags outside slowly and took the lock in my hands. Went out of the room and stood facing it. Hesitated for a moment and then I just shut the door and locked it for the last time. And that was it- Room 11, 8th Block, NITK. I went down the corridor and took one last look back and then went on to Pai’s room where I stayed for some more time. Pai offered me a ride to Reddy’s where my bus would come. But I declined it for I didn’t want to miss the last campus walk. Royan accompanied me to the bus stop where a sizeable crowd had already gathered to say goodbye. I for one, went around saying bye to people and enquiring what they were planning to do next. Then finally as my bus came, I realized that practically everyone I would have wanted to see then were around me. Royan, Shodi, P, Pai were all there. Sad and Hiran finally did turn up after their long visit to the beach.Even Logik turned up just before the bus left. I never could really part with Royan-what with me owing him so much for introducing me to alcohol- and so just told him that we dont part and that we would meet again. (I still haven’t met him after that). And so as I waited in the bus for it to leave, I began to think if I was going to actually get so sentimental that I would begin to cry. It didn’t take me long to answer that question. As the bus started and sped past the college campus, I just simply broke down. And the only thing I could think of was to open my bag and wear my NITK ring……

PS: I am writing this post sitting in the same hostel that I spent my final year in. Had come to meet all my teachers and having acheived that, spent my time well here with some alcohol and quite a bit of stuff as well. All thanks to my juniors who were still in the hostel when everyone else had vacated for the holidays.

Alcohol, The things that happen only to ME...

At a Loss for Words…..

If there is one thing that I am sure of about myself, it is that good stuff very rarely happens by itself to me. The kind of stuff that happens just by pure luck or co-incidence. That stuff hardly takes place with me. But when it does take place, it makes it big. Real big. And so was the case when I bumped into someone special yesterday after a gap of about a decade. There were so many ways things could have gone other than the way they eventually turned out, prior to me seeing her. At that moment of realization when I was face to face with her, I suddenly got transported to a dream. To a dream I had been undeniably fantasizing ever since I can remember. And things suddenly became very surreal. “Is it really you?” “Yes it is me!” “Then HI!” “Hi!” And then I say, “ And oh yes, Happy Birthday!” And only after I wish her, I realize that it is her birthday. “Hey thanks!” And she offers me some sweets.

What did we speak next? I have no damn idea! But what I do know is that I half expected her to say bye after 5 minutes of talking. But instead she said, “ Can we go have some tea? I am really hungry!” And what did I reply? Well, what the hell else do you think I replied? But what did  I do? Well, apart from trying to fathom the magnitude of this sudden stroke of lady luck, and realizing that I had been waiting for and imagining this moment for so damn long, I really do not recollect much.  Meeting her once more in my life was something  I never really believed in. And meeting her on her birthday and spending 90 minutes with her, watching her talk while she treated me was something I had dared not to even conjure up in my head. And so, all the time, I was just floating in air, not able to believe and accept the fact that all this was actually taking place. 

She told me she had read my complete blog just the previous day and so knew practically everything about what I was upto. So there wasn’t much I had to tell her to fill her in. And so she spoke a lot, and I listened, happy to just drop an opinion or a comment here and there. But it wasn’t as much about the talk as it was about the fact that this whole thing was really happening. The suddenness of the situation left me at a complete lack of relevant things to say. All this while, I had imagined over and over again what to tell her when I would meet her, and here she was-right in front of me- and all I was talking about was some useless stuff about how I consider alcohol not to be an addiction and stuff like that! I tried to recollect all the things that I always wanted to tell her but the best I could do was to just repeatedly tell her how she hadn’t changed a bit and about how difficult it was for me to comprehend the sudden meeting. I also happened to tell her that frankly, for quite some time, I half expected someone-anyone- to suddenly tell me that she had got married. She just laughed at that! And what also happened was that it wasn’t ‘anyone’ who told me she was getting married. She herself did. She told me the groom hunt was on and that anytime now, she could find a suitable match- match being defined as an approval from her parents. And that news didn’t as much shock or disappoint me as it brought me to accept the eventual reality that I had been simply over-ruling-the fact that people I know will never get married!

90 minutes is a long time if you have to wait in a queue or for a concert to start. But it surely is the fastest duration of time that you would have ever gone through when you are living your long fantasized and hopelessly unfulfilled desire of meeting someone special for just one more time. It was quite literally, a dream come true. And so as I finally parted in the evening, I felt that perhaps I had indeed seen her for the last time. And like last time around, I just wished our meeting didn’t have to end. But it did. And amidst all that sudden development of events, I realized, albeit a bit too late, that I had blown my chance of fulfilling that one other high school dream of mine, and that that one thing will be a wish unfulfilled- always. And in spite of that, I found I had a genuine smile plastered on my damn face- again (the last time being the day I got stoned after my project submission at the end of Final Semester in NITK.) Atleast now, I have something to draw from my memory bank whenever I want to.

Like I said, it was all too surreal for me. It still is. It might have all been just a dream. The way things happened so suddenly and so very much in my favor- its really hard to believe. I usually don’t write emotional and sentimental posts. But this one warranted an exception to be made. And so here I am-telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. God Help Me…

Arbit, NITK

III Block Night Canteen Beckons……

 

What do you do when you just refuse to get sleep and want to go eat something? Now I dont know. I guess I just drink some water and try getting some sleep anyway. But some time ago, there was this thing called III Block Canteen at NITK.

“Swami, Ondu Half Fry matthe ondu Lassi….Swalpa Bega Kodi!!”

And somehow I was always captivated by the menu, so obnoxiously explicit in its acknowledgement of the fact that the canteen owner was more interested in the prices part rather than the item part, that I had to do this piece of free publicity. But of course, this was the state of the menu sometime in March this year. I would really like to know what the state is now though. Any updates anyone?

PS: Photos Courtesy Paul Savio

Alcohol, Arbit, NITK, The things that happen only to ME...

As Close as I am going to get to getting SENTI…

Needless to say, I am quite drunk now. Quite high, considering the fact that I am getting high more frequently nowadays at home with my dad than with my friends at my hostel. But I would any day exchange any number of my highs here with my Dad for 1 high with my friends at hostel. But thats just not possible now…is it? I am done with my college and hostel. I have got high enough number of times-largely encapsulated in my Post BTech High Series. But like I said, I would gladly exchange this blog post for a walk around NITK campus-my campus- at 2 in the night with the company of fellow drunkards-P, Royan, Sads, Suhas, Logik, Shodan, Nikhil Balaji, Ghoshta, Guru Sub…… anybody at all…. But I have to painfully remind myself that I am out of NITK and that I will probably be going back there only sometime in December to get my degree. And even then, Royan or Suhas or Shodan or Nikhil or Guru Sub will not be there at that time- as they would be half way around the globe doing their MS. Cant really comprehend that. Its too much for me to digest-even when I am high… After I came back from college and hostel for good some time 1 month back, I have gotten high some 3-4 times. Thats maybe probably more frequent than I had in my hostel. But like I said, I would give any number of highs at home for just one high with any of my fellow drunkards and for a midnight walk around my campus. Damn! Those were the times man! Those were the times! Why the fuck did it have to end? I just wish those midnight walks never ended…. The one during which Sads, P, Logik,Royan and Me went around the campus, tenting at the Basketball Court for over an hour and talking shit was probably one of the high points of my Final Year! But again, there is not going to be another campus beat at the dead of the night with all of them…. Still cant believe it… I don’t think I ever will….. And so every time I get high at home, I will keep wishing that there was some way I could transform my high to a drinking session in my hostel followed by a midnight inebriated walk around the campus….. I guess this is what they call WISHFUL THINKING….. God Damn it! Why the hell did it have to end????

I guess this is as Sentimental and Nostalgic as I was going to get over my college and hostel life. Not that I dont have anything more to say. It is just that I am not sure if I would have ever made the effort to write about it…. So in continuation of the Senti posts, I believe this is just as far as I would go to becoming Senti about my 4 years at NITK.

Again, WHY THE FUCK DID IT HAVE TO END?????