Sajni: 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.