Sajni

The beginning

This is going to be my first diary entry which would describe my entire journey through the world of music in the last 5 years. Let's jump straight to the story.

I started playing guitar for the first time in April 2014. It was the time for class 12th boards and JEE mains. But, for me, learning something beyond studies was important. Everyone at my home was really disappointed when they first saw a guitar in my hand. I practised for 1 hour every day. Every day, I would start with the same high e string and practice the tune of National Anthem (frankly speaking even after 5 years, I had not mastered it yet). Thanks to my friend Satyendra Choudhary for lending me his guitar as well as helping me tune the guitar every day. The guitar was broken. It had to be tuned again and again.

Satyendra is a budding musician. He is passionate about creating original music tracks and singing. The only problem is - he lacks confidence. On the stage, confidence is much more important than the number of hours you invested in practising. Everyone lacks some confidence. But he lacks a lot.

The tuning part was a nightmare for me. I had absolutely no sense of music. I watched youtube videos and blindly followed the exercises. I think this is where you need a music teacher. They can tell you if you are doing it right. I practised so many times on an untuned guitar. I was doing it all wrong. But, I never gave up practising music. Slowly it became a drug. It relaxed me when I failed in Physics. It was all that I had. I somehow managed to save money and buy a new Pluto guitar (cost INR 3500) which was my favourite for a long time. Within 4 months, I was beginning to play some basic bar chords and easy strumming patterns. After January 2015, I discontinued and decided to play after JEE advanced. Mom bought me a new Pluto guitar (jumbo size - cost INR 6000) on my birthday.

After several months of depression over the choice of college, I finally picked up my guitar again in August 2015. At that time, I was getting a feel for music. Beatles and A.R. Rahman were my favorites and I used to play their songs most of the time. It was also during this time that I started composing some small tunes. I was good at melody. But I was very bad at the most important thing that every musician must know - Rhythm. Metronomes used to give me nightmares. Lukka Chuppi, Blackbird, Roobaroo, Mother nature's son were some numbers that I played very well.

It was during this time that I met PratitAman, and Pradeep. They are the ones who were going to be a game changer for me. Pratit was into hard rock music. His primary love was a heavy metal drum. But deep down he was also a fan of soft Bollywood songs. He used to sing a lot of such songs like Ae kash ke hum and my personal favorite in his voice Tumhe jo maine dekha. He had a perfect sense of timing and rhythm. For him, the most important thing was to never go off beat. Aman played acoustic guitar. He was good at vocals too. Pradeep was an encyclopedia when it comes to music. There is not a single genre in the world that he has not listened to. He knows all the music - from classic rock to coke studio to classical music.

Fast forward a few days. I met more musical talents. First among them was Abhishek Kujur, who was really good at fingerstyle guitar. I was always a fan of his fingerstyle version of Titanic theme. He was very generous. Next, I met Anuj who was going to be another game changer in defining my music career. He used to sing Gulabi Aankhen like 40 times a day. Lastly, I met Akarsh who is my partner in crimes in duos. Anuj and Akarsh played for a band in their school. They were way ahead of others. They had a good sense of rhythm. They were good at sound check. Music drove them. With time I met others - Nivedita, Shobhna, Samadrito, Monal, Anant, DJ, and Manish.

The first Live Jam that we ever witnessed was on 21st Sept 2015. Live Jam 1.0 was not so impressive for us. The speakers were only making distortion sound. Where is the music? Is this how people perform here? Pratit told me that it is always difficult to control distortions on speakers, especially when they had to be placed so close to each other. He was, indeed, sharply learning from mistakes made by our seniors.  We saw them for the second time in Pantheon. This time we had a better impression, especially by Atal bhaiya and Sparsh bhaiya. Also, for the very first time, I saw Somnath Mukherjee (the person I respect the most) perform on tabla. Anant was an experienced guitarist. His father is a guitarist and his mother is a Sitar player. He got a chance to rock on Pantheon's stage. As far as I remember, he was not even auditioned for Dhwani. He got a direct entry for his talent. Rest all of us has to go through a two-step audition. I almost spoilt my audition, until finally, when I played Blackbird to save my day and impress Abhishek bhaiya.

The second live jam was held in the month of November. And this time, Dhwani rocked it. I realized the potential in the K12 batch. My love for classic rock music started that day. I could have never imagined Highway to Hell being performed by any BITian. When he turned towards me and said 'You say! Highway to hell!', it was one hell of a moment. Utkarsh bhaiya and Atal bhaiya were my favorite singers now.  I started listening to classic rock bands like Led Zepellin, Pink Floyd, Queen, Red Hot Chillies Pepper, Limp Bizkit, etc.

Anuj, Abhishek, Akarsh and I jammed together several nights before we were offered our first performance in Nov 2015 (Well Anuj and Abhishek had already performed at Dandiya night, where, their performance was hugely praised). We occupied a corridor and jammed even at 2 AM. Popular numbers were - Madari, Paani da rang, Tum ho toh, etc. We had to perform for Radio Capriccio - college's radio on LAN. Akarsh performed Mera Mann & Bakhuda tumhi ho while Anuj performed Paani da Rang. Our performance was appreciated. But I was blamed for raising the tempo. Motivated by this performance, I decided to buy a keyboard. We had our first exam in creative arts. I barely passed by somehow managing to sing Raag bhairav. In the month of Dec 2015, I asked INR 5000 from my grandfather and bought a new keyboard. It was an amazing piece.

I joined the keyboard workshop on Jan 2016. I was mentored by one of the greatest musician in the history of BIT Mesra - Rohit Philip Mathew. He taught us western music reading and, most importantly, he introduced me to the concept of rhythm and timing. I didn't believe when he said I was doing this all wrong till today. He asked me to take up a metronome and practice from the very beginning.

Soon we got a chance to perform for the first time in a Live Jam. It was 25th of January 2016, a few days before Spring Fest. Two new bands from the fresher year were going to perform. Indus Wave consisting of me, Anuj, Akarsh and Abhishek & The Unknown Genre consisting of Pratit, Pradeep, Preetam, Sumit bhaiya, Aman, Kushal, and me. Indus wave performed two slow numbers - Atrangi Yaari and Tum ho Toh. Both were acoustic and very nicely performed. It has never been difficult for me to coordinate with other guitars in the band. The real problem with me was to sync up with the drums. The next performance was of  The Unknown Genre. Aman had bought a new electric guitar and we were ready to rock. I was on acoustic guitar. All set for Take a look around. Aman started off. The crowd cheered at the top of their voice. 

Now, let me describe music through words (I know only musicians can hear me). Aman was supposed to play three notes in one bar. He was so nervous that he slid his fingers and only two notes were audible. He was supposed to play Ga Re Sa and he plays Ga ...., where ... is the note we are still trying to figure out till date. I was on acoustic. It was not even audible to me. It was like, I was miming. Pratit forgot lyrics midway. Everyone got nervous as the most dreadful thing happened - the thing that must never happen in a music performance no matter how much stage-fear you have - We missed a beat. And now we continued the song off beat unless Kushal somehow gained back control. The final song was Sinbad the sailor. My keyboard was sounding like Bulla brass band party. WTF!. It was very bad. I just waited for the performance to end somehow. I got a feel of how easy it is to perform off stage and how the difficulty rises when you are on stage.

It was Papon Live at Spring Fest 2016. It was the first concert that I had watched in my life. It was an awesome night. Banao Banao and Jiyein Kyun were my favourites. Indus wave performed at Lakeside dreams. We performed Let her Go and Wake me up When September Ends. Abhishek was under trauma for some stupid reason. Anuj carried my keyboard throughout Spring Fest. On the drums was Amrit Kujur - one of the finest drummer of K15. Akarsh and Anuj were on vocals. The time limit was too strict. For the first time, I realized that they turn off the sound system as sos the time ends. That was so rude! I missed my solo. We did came 3rd though (or we believe we did). It was Amit Trivedi next at Spring Fest. I spent an amazing night with Anuj and Sumit bhaiya. We enjoyed.

At Bitotsav, the Unknown Genre decided to be back on stage. I was not a part of the band this time. They were joined by the great Suprio Dubey.  He was a tabla player. He had a good sense of rhythm and timing. The sound check was done (the band members had learned from our past mistake). Aman was ready to roll off his riff which he was practising for a long time. Drums rolled. Aman's guitar started to make some fart sound. Sumit bhaiya stood up to see what happened. Pratit asked to raise the level of guitar (he was trying to cover the mistake that Aman committed). The sound check guy said, and I quote, "Hume kya bol rahe hain, sab full hai, Aapka guitarist hugg diya hai!". The Unknown Genre was out in the prelims round. Oh, BTW, they performed Marghat. Divyansh (DJ) played acoustic guitar whose presence was hardly noticeable. Next, it was time for a duo performance by me and Akarsh. We performed Allah ke Bandeh in Acoustic alchemy. The performance was well appreciated by the audience. Next, I also rolled Beatles' Blackbird in a solo performance. This time only Abhishek applauded. I was so happy that day. Monal bagged the second position in the same competition by singing Jar of Hearts. I can still hear the echoes of her beautiful voice. I thought that I had got quite good at music. Akarsh won Solo singing competition. He sang Saiyaan. Mrinal Pathak was extremely impressed by him.

Pratit, Yash and I joined to create our own composition in Make a Jam during Bitotsav. We secured the first position by singing a terrible song with great lyrics and guitar riff. That remains the only achievement of Unknown Genre in music. Pradeep, Nikhil KD, and DJ were in another team and they lost.

We were all so much excited for our first hostel night. I got to perform Ye dooriyan on the keyboard by sitting on the stage floor. DJ and Aman gave most performances. Also, it was during this semester that Yash asked me to teach him how to play the guitar. I told him a lot of times that guitar is not so easy to play. He bought my favourite Pluto guitar (I needed money to buy keyboard) and I taught him basic chords and rhythm. He practised religiously and finally, he was able to play basic songs by the end of the 2nd semester. I got myself my first student in music. I had two pluto guitars. I sold off both to buy a keyboard. Later, in the month of February, I bought a cheap Givson guitar which was actually good.

The first year ended. It was time for me to raise my level in music. I practised scales all through the summer of 2016. I tried playing short solos and also learned to play Neele neele Ambar completely on Guitar. Also, I played the keyboard. I almost mastered Hey Jude on the keyboard. Yash was my student during this time. He is the only one who has been able to learn music under my guidance.

The fall

Begins the sophomore year of college. I was at a new high. I was very confident about my music skills. We were already there. Akarsh, DJ and I formed a band named Sangeeta sound (which was later renamed to 'Musical taxi' by Akarsh). We prepared 4 songs for the first Live Jam. Soch na sake, Na Tum Jano Na Hum, Mujhko Barsaat Banalo and Tu Jaane Na. It was the time for the audition for Live Jam (Auditions were a new thing and it was to ensure that you don't play shit on the stage). Judges were Rangeet Bhattacharya (President of the music club) and Rohit bhaiya (my keyboard guru). "Start!" said Rangeet bhaiya. Soch na sake and Tu jaane na were performed flawlessly. I was on keyboard playing piano and strings respectively. The third song was Mujhko Barsaat Banalo. Akarsh was supposed to play drums for that. The tempo of the song was 80 bpm. He raised it to 140 at least. I and DJ got confused. "What are you doing?" said DJ through his eyes. "I can't slow down. Play to this now!" "Nice tempo! Something great is coming up", thought Rangeet bhaiya. DJ started singing at almost twice the original speed. Then came the bridge part. I was supposed to play a solo on the synth. The tempo was so fast that I got confused. I played 'Sa re ga ma pa dha ni sa.. sa ni dha pa ma ga re sa' twice. And then 'sa sa sa sa ....' four times to cue the drummer to take a roll and exit the bridge. I saw Rohit bhaiya looking at me. He was surely disappointed although he didn't say anything.  The good thing was we didn't miss any beat all this time. All instruments were in sync. The bad thing was, we were not selected for the live jam.

In the same Live Jam, Anuj formed a separate band with me, DJ and him named Sangeet sound. Rangeet bhaiya commented "What man? Why don't you guys dress up in a brass band dress and perform in a baarat?" We prepared two connected songs. I was on lead guitar. DJ on the rhythm and Anuj on keys and vocals. We played Tum se hi and Tere bin na hi lage jiya. Both songs were soft and soothing. After the song ended, I was told that I was completely out of tempo all the time, though I didn't realize it at that time. We were again not selected. This was my second rejection in a row.

Meanwhile, The Unknown Genre consisting of Pratit, Pradeep, Aman, Yash, and Akarsh prepared a heavy number Kryptonite. They literally practiced days and nights for that. I had never seen so much dedication in them. Everyone knew they were going to rock. They were selected for performing in that Live Jam. UG is going to rise to power after this performance, until of course, Aman accidentally pulled down his guitar volume. He was playing the lead guitar with a heavy riff and a long solo. He was completely audible on the monitors but nothing could be heard out of the sound system. Yash's acoustic guitar dominated. Drums were perfect. With Pratit, you can hardly think of missing the tempo. The performance ended. We saw some friends banging their heads. But most of them had no clue if it was a rock or soft performance? Unfortunately, the performance was not so great as it was supposed to be.

We were a little low in confidence after all this. We needed a break. We were supposed to practice harder. But all of us had ego problems. We started finding nooks in other performances to cover our flaw. "Look Samadrito's mike is not working", said someone when Advitya (the then best rock band of college) performed Dil Se Re.

It was time now for Live Jam 2 auditions. Anuj was mad at me for spoiling the lead last time. Unknown Genre prepared Kholo Kholo Darwaze. I and DJ were playing the riff. The twist was - Akarsh was on vocals this time and Pratit was on drums. What was hell was Pratit playing? He was beating the hell out of drums. Akarsh was moaning on vocals. I was out of tempo again. I saw Samadrito laughing all through the auditions. We were rejected for the third time. "No more experiments, please. Everyone, please stick to your own instruments." We had again disappointed our beloved seniors. Even our new juinors got a chance to perform and we didn't.

This was not the end. This time, Saurav Jha approached me for performing at Dandiya night. I got Abhishek and Akarsh together with me. We didn't even practice once. We landed directly at the music room for auditions. I was deceived by everyone. It was like everyone planning revenge against me. Abhishek was not playing at all. He was just sitting and staring me. "My guitar was not connected", he said. I played rhythm and solo alone and spoiled up. "Akarsh!!!! What are you doing????" Why are you so off tempo. The only one who did something was Saurav - Har kisi ko nahi milta. We were rejected for the fourth time. This time we have to admit that it was our fault. It is one thing to see someone playing it wrong and its completely different to see someone not playing at all. I never performed with Abhishek after that. I think he also gave up a guitar, after that (performance).

Suprio, Aman and Amrit Kujur joined together to play Om Shanti Om on dandiya night. They were kicked out of auditions. Rangeet bhaiya was very angry with all of us. Rohit bhaiya asked us to get a bassist.

BIT unplugged was going to be performed for the first time ever in the history of BIT. It is the most prestigious event of the music club and young chaps were given a chance to perform. UG could never miss this one. At that time, my taste for music had shifted away from classic rock to classic Bollywood. I spent most of my time listening to Kishore Kumar and Rafi. We decided to create a Kishore Kumar mashup. We practiced very hard days and night. I was on keys. Akarsh on drums. Pradeep on bass. Aman and Manish Gandhi on guitar. Manish had finally joined UG. Pratit was on vocals. Our performance was very tight in the auditions. We didn't miss even a single beat. All instruments were in perfect sync. The results were declared. 

NOT SELECTED. What!!! What happened? Where did we go wrong this time? "Our performance was very monotonous". Monotonous! How can someone even think so? Everyone was disappointed. Pratit decided not to come to the night. Aman and Pradeep played for the flash mob. Aman swore not to come back to music club again. For me, it was the 5th rejection in a row. I didn't get a chance to perform even once through the third semester. See, this is how you fall. In a moment you are everything and in a moment you are nothing. The 3rd semester remains the most disappointing semester for me in terms of music.

The rise


Last semester ended with us drowning in the ocean of hopelessness. But no more. Unknown Genre decided to rise again. It could fall no more. I was not able to join them this time due to some prior commitments. Aman, Akarsh, Pratit, Manish, and Pradeep joined together to bring the next song that would take Unknown Genre to the next level (the next level is where you were only auditioned for name shake; you are already selected before the audition itself, i.e, your name is enough). They pushed days and nights to prepare for Sargam (Spring fest '17). No one slept. Everyone sang the same tune - Shaktimaan. Pradeep played the best bassline to date. Pratit was roaring on vocals. The guitar riff and drums were so tight that it could force anyone to bang their heads against the beat. Were they competing for the finals? No, they were competing to get back their lost pride.

They were all prepared for the performance. Everyone reached Spring Fest except for Akarsh who decided to come one day late. On the night of everyone's arrival, Akarsh dropped a message to our WhatsApp group:

Akarsh - "I won't be able to make it to SF this year. I am not feeling well. I am getting a high fever"..

Pradeep - "Kya bol raha hai be?"

Everyone was shocked. A band without a drummer is not a band. It is a failure. (Later we came to know that a girl ditched Akarsh and he fell sick due to that). What was going to happen tomorrow? To save the day, came Sumit bhaiya, the drummer of band Adwitya. He is an extremely versatile drummer. You just tell him the rhythm by words and he will repeat it on drums.

Next day, at about 11 AM, Tagore Open Air Theatre (TOAT) roared with Pratit singing the heroic number. Everyone gathered near the stage. The stage was on fire. UG rocked it.  Thanks to Sumit bhaiya (and the man on the sound check) for saving the day.

That was not it yet. A few days later, UG was auditioned for a Live Jam. They were selected and given the second last slot just before Adwitya. It remains one of the finest performance ever by UG. Everyone in the crowd was banging their head. UG rose to power.

A few days later, UG was called upon to perform on Rostra night. I joined them this time on keys. We modified our so-called monotonous Kishore Kumar mashup that we had prepared for unplugged. Auditions were taken by Shubham lal (Lal bhaiya has always been encouraging. He supported us very much). Monal swayed the audience with her vocals. We couldn't disappoint them. We got the crowd singing along with us. Pratit was in a high mood. Not a single beat was missed. Unknown Genre declared itself as the next level band. We were going to carry the legacy of band music.

Somewhere during the same time, I had taken a break from music. I wanted to learn how to play to the beat because this is where I always failed. I practiced the song Wish you were Here days and night. Whenever I picked up the guitar, the same song came out of it. I used to place a metronome and play to the rhythm, trying my best to exactly reciprocate the song. I mastered the solo in a few days. And then I began to modify it to develop my own version of it. (Till today, I play the modified version. It comes naturally. It is something that I would have played if I would have recorded the song). During the Bitotsav weekender, a Live Jam was planned (the same in which UG performed Shaktimaan). I asked Anuj if he had some plans to bring back Indus Wave? We decided to get together and try our luck again. We were joined by Pradeep on bass, DJ on rhythms and Amrit Kujur on drums. I was going to play electric guitar for the first time and Aman taught me a lot of techniques from handling volume to changing patch. I was mentored by Jerry Challam (the god level guitarist of K15 batch). Jerry has been playing guitar for more than 8 years. He is a very experienced guitar player and extremely generous. When he played, it was so soothing that you just fall asleep. When he played Love Story, we all just went crazy. He had such an amazing control on his guitar. In the same Live Jam he played Aadat by Jal, sung by Debjyoti. Jerry taught me a lot of stuffs like making a harmonic sound and finger tapping.

Finally, the day for audition came. We prepared Zinda and Emosanal Attyachar by Amit Trivedi. Zinda starts with a beautiful piano intro. I was on the keys for this song.

"Which song are you going to perform?" asked Rangeet.

"Bhaiya, Zinda hoon yaar", said Anuj.

'Wow, let me give you the cue. 1 2 3 4..'

Rhythms rolled. I started playing the intro and I messed up. My hands were shivering. I just lost control. Pradeep was staring at me. Anuj was confused as he thought there was a patch issue on the keyboard.

"Stop. Stop. Stop. I couldn't hear the baseline. Raise its volume. Can you guys start again?" said Rangeet.

Ah!. A bit of relief. Let us start again. 1 2 3 4.... This time I started on a wrong scale. DJ and Pradeep gave me a ghastly look. Anuj started singing and he was confused.

"Stop! Stop! Stop!. What is wrong with the mic. You are singing out of tune. Start again." said Rangeet.

All this time Rohit bhaiya was staring at me. He knew that it was me who was messing up the entire band. (I think Rangeet bhaiya also realized the same, he was just trying to cover up).

"You play it wrong this time and I will fuck you like a pig", Anuj said to me in an angry voice.

1 2 3 4... Rhythm rolls again, I started on the right scale. I was missing some beats. I was playing the wrong chords. My hands were shivering. The song ended. We received an applaud. Ronit Ghosh (another god level keyboard player) came to me to check what was wrong with the keyboard. Seriously, was everyone trying to cover my mistake? Only my band members knew I screwed up.

The next song was worse. I screwed up the patch on electric guitar. Drums were missing beat. Only Anuj's vocal was sufficing. This time the entire band messed up. We were disheartened. Anuj swore not to perform with me ever again. I cursed myself. I cursed my whole life. What have I done?

Pratit, Pradeep and Akarsh came to me at night. I was holding my head. I was really ashamed of what I have done. "Your band is selected!" said Akarsh. "What! Really?" "Yes, and you guys have been given the longest slot." Seriously! For that shit. I called up Rangeet bhaiya and thanked him. He has always been supportive of me. I asked Akarsh, give me the rhythm, I will nail it this time. 1 2 3 4... I practiced very hard for the next 2 days. 

On the day of the performance, Anuj came to me and said "You had lost everything now. you have nothing more to lose. Now you have everything to gain. I am performing for this band for one last time. Get this thing right and make this special." Rhythms rolled. Anuj started with the Farhan Akhtar's poem that he always recites before the performance. We started. It was successful. No matter how much we performed badly in auditions,  we were always good on stage. I think this was what everyone believed. We did miss some rhythm in the second song. But it was good enough (the only man whom we failed to impress was Suprio Dubey).

Later on, Anuj left the band and Indus wave never performed again. He joined a band named Destine. He has always been a rockstar. I am a fan of his confidence and calmness on stage. We performed together for one last time on stage at Dhwani - a three-day music fest. It was just a duo performance. A rather soothing Atif Aslam mashup.  Abhishek Kujur betrayed us again. He went home and didn't come back. He was supposed to play the rhythm. Curse him.

Akarsh has always been my partner in duo crimes. We performed Wish you were Here at Acoustic alchemy. We absolutely stood no chance of winning. But this performance was largely inspired by Atal bhaiya's last performance in BIT unplugged. His voice was so soothing. The intro of the song is something I can never get bored of.

The fourth sem didn't end on a very high note. I realized where I had to improve. I had to practice harder to get back my confidence.

The fall again

I was quite busy for the next semester. Internship and then Pantheon was eating my head. However, we did find some time to create a combo of Ankhon ki Gushtakhiyan and Game of Thrones theme. It was largely inspired by Priyanshu (my murga friend), who one day randomly started singing Ankhon ki Gushtakhiyan when I played the Game of Thrones theme tune.

Unknown Genre decided to play at the pantheon stage. Pantheon stage probably the most prestigious place to play for after Bitotsav. However, K15 messed up the stage setup. It was a terrible stage. It was as if UG was going to play for some tent house party in a village. The power went out just after Unknown genre left the stage. Saviour.

Let me describe one more persona here. Monal was a powerhouse when it comes to singing western classic rock and pop. She had such a beautiful voice. She had performed terrific numbers like Sweet child of mine (Axl Rose's version), Set fire to the Rain (Adele) and Jar of hearts (Christianna Perri). No matter how bad the stage is, how bad the speakers sound if you have Monal on vocals, she will rock the stage. Among the girls, she was the rockstar.

The Unknown genre was asked to perform at Bitotsav '18 weekender. Yeah! You heard it right. We were asked to perform. The problem was - all the band members were now rusty. We had not touched our instruments since several days. We had to practice everything from scratch. We were preparing Mere Bina by KK (Well a rock version of it). I was on the keys. Manish on leads. Aman on rhythms. Pratit on vocals and Pradeep on bass. Everything was dependent on Gandhi's riff. If that goes right, the performance would be awesome, else we were messed. Gandhi used to get very anxious even during the practice hours. The riff used to sound like a farting horse. "Don't worry! You will get this right on stage", Pratit used to repeat this whenever his guitar farted. I was also hoping for some magic to happen.

On the stage, after missing a half beat, Gandhi started an awesome riff on his electric guitar. The drums joined and it was so awesome that it immediately boosted Gandhi's confidence. It was an awesome performance by the band. Thanks to the awesome sound check by Pratit.

Another performance that shook everyone that night was by Adwitya. They performed the same number that they performed for Spring Fest that year Ujlebaaz. From Ronit bhaiya starting a riff on keys to Chakru bhaiya's solo, it was a performance of the lifetime. Over the years, I have seen several people grow in music. Professor bhaiya (lead singer) was always a pro. He has been trained in music for 14 years. He was so generous as well. Chakru bhaiya started with rap music, then played bass for a few bands and then became the lead guitarist of Adwitya. What a growth!. His guitar roared, when he played Hotel California solo at 1.25X speed, on his final stage performance. Ronit bhaiya was so free folic man. His primary concern was to experiment with music and come up with new pieces of stuff always. When Sumit bhaiya was on drums, you can't think of missing a beat. Adwitya was a guiding light for UG. We learned a lot from them.

Inspired by the race to become the number one band, UG decided to perform at the opening night of three days music fest. The song was Carnival of Rust. I was on the keys. Gandhi on the lead guitar. Yash has joined us after a long time to play rhythm. Pradeep on bass, Akarsh on drums and Pratit on vocals. Our sound check was being delayed repeatedly. The lead guitar was not audible through the sound check. We were asked to start ASAP as we were running out of time. Pratit introduced the band and we started our own nightmare.

Gandhi's riff was not audible. This is what that happens when you don't get the sound check correct. OMG! Is anything even audible to the audience? Akarsh was playing an egg shaker during the verse. His rhythm was not audible. Bass was going out of sync. In the first verse itself, Pratit missed the lyrics and started singing the second verse. What the hell was going on? Somehow we reached the end of the second verse, drums and rhythm rolled hard. Pratit was back on rhythm. Everything was back under control and all of a sudden the most dreadful thing happened to the drummer. His stick slipped from his hand. Imagine a hard rock performance backed by heavy strings and drums. And suddenly the drums disappear and its only the strings making all the sound. Pratit was disheartened. As soon as the outro ended, we left the stage in a hurry. We were a 3rd-year band now. We were supposed to rock the audience. And we messed up on stage. Pratit didn't show up in the club for the next two days. Akarsh and I were heavily disheartened, but still, we performed at Surreal symphony (western band competition). We spilled out two numbers - Blackbird and Wake me up when September ends. It was awesome though we didn't win anything as we always did.

Again the year ended on a bad note. How man? It was so terrifying to see how one can mess up performance even after so much practice. You have to be terribly focused on the stage. Once any one of the members loses control and goes out of sync, the entire band is messed up.

The final chapter

The fourth-year started on a low note. None of the band members were interested in arranging a band performance. Everyone was occupied with their placement preparation. I was already having a PPO. Pratit was placed by the end of August. Aman & Pradeep were also placed in about the next 15 days. Only me and Akarsh were available. Dhwani's fest was scheduled in the month of September this time. I and Akarsh decided to perform Carnival of Rust and Dil Chahta HaiCarnival of Rust was so awesome. Everything went so smooth. Though we didn't qualify, it remains one of the best performance by us. Akarsh was praised for his use of egg shaker. Dil Chahta hai was also nice except for some parts where solo went out of rhythm. Anuj performed Yaariyan at the opening night. It was one hell of a performance. He was truly a rockstar now. Also, we covered DK bose for an online contest. It was well praised by everyone.

We all were now available for Pantheon weekender. What should be performed? We went to performing old numbers which UG has already performed - Kryptonite and Shaktimaan. The performance was easy going and we were quite used to it. We rocked the crowd. In the same fest, Anuj performed Wo Haseena Zulfon Wali with his band Destine. He rocked as expected. Whenever he is on stage, girls went crazy. Akarsh had dedicated his entire fourth year to music. He had given tons of performance in a single year with at least 5 bands.

The date for the biggest event of Dhwani was announced. BIT unplugged was scheduled to held on 16th November 2019 (obviously after much resistance from the administration, it was finally going to take place). Pratit, Aman and Pradeep were leaving for internship and this was supposed to be the final performance of UG at BIT. Pratit, Aman, Pradeep, Akarsh and me geared up for one final performance. We decided the song named Sajni by Jal. It is a rock number and we were going to perform it on acoustic. I was on guitar for the first time with UG. We practiced days and night before and after Vajra (annual sports fest of BIT). We had never got a chance to perform at BIT unplugged.

I heard people saying "The audition is going to be the last performance of UG". We have to do something for one last time. Auditions were taken by Samadrito. We definitely had an edge for being in the final year. We were selected and given the last slot.

The night has arrived. For one last time, UG would be on the stage and every else our audience. Drums rolled, bass began, the sound check has started on stage. All things were set up. We were ready to begin. Akarsh tapped his drum sticks and all the instruments rolled at the same time. For everything that has happened to us till date, we wanted to live every moment for one last time. Aman started with a beautiful riff and Pradeep replicated the same on the bass line. Pratit's voice echoed the stage. The sound check was perfect (believe me, with UG, there had never been a problem of the sound check). All instruments were going in perfect sync. Not a single beat was missed. The performance ended. We headed back to the green room. We were all sad. No, this time we definitely did an awesome job. It was because we were taking back so many memories with us.

Being a part of a college rock band is an experience that can only be apprehended if you are a part of it. IT IS NOT EASY. I repeat. IT IS NOT EASY AT ALL. It takes years of dedicated practice to get a sense of rhythm and play with a band. I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of my musical journey throughout. Pratit still makes vocal covers. I and Akarsh gear up sometimes to Jam. I made my final cover with Anuj Wish you were Here in a single take. We are definitely not going to let the music go away from us.  There are at least a thousand more things that I forgot to mention. I didn't want to make this long. But this is my story of music so far.

Thanks for giving it a read.

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