Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Follow your dreams

You know how our parents, teachers and other older people we're supposed to listen to always said follow your dreams. Well, last weekend I decided to finally take their advice and did just that.
I followed my dream all the way to Nasik.
And my dream was called Karsh Kale.
Now, I may sound like a stalker to you but I am just another ardent fan.

I somehow never made it to any of his gigs.
When I planned to go for the Ladakh Confluence in 2010, it got cancelled (and I still haven't got my refund).
And when I wanted to go for NH7 Weekender in 2011, my cousin decided to get married on the same weekend.
And even though he played at Blue Frog a million times, that didn't happen either.

So, I took some advice again and decided to try and try until I succeeded.
I wanted to test my luck and entered a lucky draw on I thought if I won it would be a true sign that I was meant to be there. Since my life is not a movie, I didn't win. And since I was too desperate to go I decided to buy my ticket online and make the trip anyway.

I went with an equally enthusiastic group of people which made it even more fun.
That day, I woke up even before my alarm rang which is a true indication of my level of excitement.
We left Bombay at about 9 am and drove down to Nasik for the festival at York Vineyards.
I really dislike long drives and in the past have been drugged by friends (with anti-nausea tablets that also happen to put you to sleep) who want to avoid having to listen to me complain during the journey.
But this time no such thing happened. I enjoyed the drive and it didn't even feel like it was a long one.

My friend, Purva and I were already dreaming about Karsh who we fondly called Kersh (roll your r when you say it) since that's what some people call him. While we discussed what a special person he was with his musical talent coupled with his drop dead good looks, the boys in the car kept smiling and saying 'it's the beard'.

In the middle of this interesting discussion about what percentage of our love for Karsh had anything to do with his beard, we stopped at a Dhaba for lunch. The Dhaba was called Old Prabhu ka Dhaba and is about 20 minutes away from Nasik close to the Samsung factory that I don't remember ever seeing.

Now one of my pet peeves is people touching food with their hands while making it, especially cakes and other desserts which I like to believe come straight out a machine, virginal and pretty looking.
So when we were on our way to the dhaba, I began discussing how while I love watching shows like Ultimate Cake off and Fabulous Cakes on TV, this pet peeve of mine sort of makes it hard for me to watch such shows. This information only won me strange girl points and ten minutes later helped us decide where I'd be seated at the Dhaba i.e. not facing the open kitchen.
After a scrumptious meal, we headed towards York Vineyards which happens to be just a minute away from Sula Vineyards. We got lost a couple of times and everytime we asked a man for directions he either asked us "what are you doing here?" like we were going the wrong way on purpose or he'd point his hand to the right like our destination was just across the street. Clearly the people of Nasik think we're stupid.

We reached Nasik by the middle of the afternoon and began our tour of the vineyard. While the owner of the vineyard showed everyone around (nice touch) and explained how everything works, I decided to pose next to the wine barrels (what else can I call it?) and take some pictures.
We then headed to the Tasting Room which overlooked the lawn where the performances would be, beyond which was the vineyard bordered by the lake.
We tasted the White, Rosé and the Red wines which were fairly good but I decided to skip my wine appreciation shenanigans since I couldn't pretend to have the knowledge of a sommelier and was drinking out of a plastic cup.

After our wine tasting we headed down to the lawn and began watching the performances.
Nasik had great weather and the lawn had 0 insects and since not too many people had turned up, it was just perfect for everyone to sit out on the grass and enjoy the performances while sipping their wine.

Alisha Pais opened the show. She had a nice powerful voice but I don't remember her singing any original songs.
She was followed by Something Relevant - a very large band. They have individual musical talent but together end up singing slightly wannabe cool lyrics (about women and drugs) to a somewhat Jamaican tune. This was when Purva and I decided to hop into a wooden barrel and stomp on some grapes and kill time.
Here's a question: Do they ever serve the wine made by women stomping on grapes?

Getting back to the gig... then came Mr. Woodnote and Eva Lazarus. Their music was extremely catchy. Loved it. Mr. Woodnote seemed to have more music in him than the whole Something Relevant family.

By now Purva and I had enjoyed a bottle of Rosé that we thought was made in the machine (or however it's made) since according to us, it didn't smell like feet.
Then came 2 other acts - Ayush Shrestha and someone who called himself Tek.
They were followed by Shri of Shrilektric. Now that's what you call true musical talent.
Shri plays this instrument that he has made by himself. It looks like a guitar. He sometimes plays it like a violin/cello with a bow and sometimes he manages to get a drum-like sound out of it. It was original, catchy and entertaining and made going all the way to Nasik worth it. And when I made him take several pictures till we got a good one, he was just so kind about it. 100 points for Shri.

Being in such a good mood, I decided to treat myself to a Vadilal's Raspberry Dolly which is when for a short while I probably looked like Dita Von Teese or like I had just eaten paan.
And a pint of White wine later Karsh finally arrived.
He played the drums, tabla, some other instrument and even sang. He is a self taught musical genius and knows just how to create the perfect kind of fusion music. Now as obsessed as I may seem with him, he had much bigger male fans standing next to me ready to jump onto the stage.

To be honest I may have enjoyed Shri's music a little more that day. The Dholak just makes you want to dance.

But, I left Nasik lovestruck.
Karsh's music + voice + gentlemanly demeanor + dimples + the beard (Yes, it plays a major role) is something you just can't ignore. He makes your heart just drop to your feet.

Fact: He looks even better than his Google image.

So, here's something to sum up everything - even though I'm not quite sure about what exactly it means.
As one of the many male fans of Karsh said... "Karsh Bhai, You are within it".

If you're reading this post on your mobile phone, you've probably missed the first few paragraphs so read it on your computer.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cheers to us!

It's a little late in the day, but Happy New Year anyway.

They say, the way you spend the first day of the new year is what the rest of your year will be like.
So, it looks like 2012 for me will be filled with sipping wine at breakfast, going for a swim and carrying a stomach full of french fries and OJ. All this awesomeness sandwiched betweeen 366 sunrises and 366 sunsets.

Who am I kidding? That can't possibily happen everyday. Can it?
Will 2012 be that good a year for me?
Will it be that good a year for the world?
For India atleast?

India for me, is my life. It's everyday. It's so a part of me that I don't notice it anymore.

Besides being the birthplace of many religions, 
we also invented the number Zero, 
wrote the Kama Sutra, 
invented Yoga 
and were the first people to make buttons.
Yes, buttons!

Now, I love saying we, and indirectly taking credit for all those things by just being Indian, but living here everyday even while being surrounded by the chaos, life does seem pretty prosaic.

Or atleast it did until I met some friends visiting from another land who helped me find the poetry in our everyday lives.

As much as we think that India is pretty similar to the rest of the world on many levels, here are some questions I was faced with which give us an idea of what the rest of the world thinks of us:
I provided them with some answers, while the rest remained in my head.

1. Why do Indian men stare so much?
Because they're fascinated with white skin.

2. And why do they stare at you?
They are also fascinated with brown skin.

3. Why do some old men have orange hair? Is it henna?
Yes, that's how they dye it.

4. Do you not get hair dye in India?
No, we do. They just think orange hair looks super cool.

5. Why do random people like to take pictures with us? 
Please refer to Answer 1.

6. What do they do with these pictures?
Upload them on Facebook?

7. Why is everyone trying to cheat us?

8. Is it safe to eat this?

9. Do all girls marry early?
No. Not enough men in the sea.

10. Is a girl not allowed to talk to her father-in-law?
Only in Hindi serials.

11. Wow! they sell a lot of stuff on the street (looking at a man selling drums).
Yea, so you can do your shopping while being stuck in traffic. And then get home and start a band.

12. Is he talking to me?

13. Why?
He's just drunk.

That made me realise - we are pretty different/ weird/ interesting.

Their evaluation: Bombay is a lot like Tel Aviv. 
I suppose it's the sea and the whole bag checking exercise.

Here's to 361 more days in the awesome land that we call India.
And some holidays away to keep us sane.
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