Tag Archives: Bangalore pubs

Eddie’s Day Out

Ever since I had heard that Iron Maiden will be coming back to India for the third consecutive year to perform in Bangalore, I had promised myself and almost everybody else that I’ll be there. Last year I had attended their Mumbai concert (\m/) and I have a T-shirt to prove it. But this time round I had to face the grim reality that I was not earning anymore. The ticket was 1600 bucks. Pretty steep for a guy with stagnant funds. But I thought heck with it. I’ll go anyway.

Ignoring my parents’ raised eyebrows I boarded the bus to Bangalore hoping for a performance that would be more brutal than the last one (the last one literally brutal….I had been punched, kicked, jabbed without being in the mosh pit!….I had to come out of the crowd for water which made me and Alok miss Fear of the Dark…..my apologies Alok). The journey was like the many others that I had endured in the last two years- loud Kannad movies, uncomfortable seats, erratic air conditioning and a co-passenger who either snores or farts all night long. The latter is almost always constant.

On reaching Bangalore I had the familiar nauseating feeling. But this time I was just a tourist. No quick showers and making a run to the office. My roomies picked me up and by noon we were on Palace Grounds. On our way there we could see scores of metal heads coming out of pubs like Purple Haze, Guzzlers, Pecos after finishing the traditional pre-concert binges.

Every time I enter Palace Grounds I get goose bumps. That place has so many awesome memories- Scorpions, Megadeth, Machine Head, Satyricon, Parikrama…The excitement starts right from the entrance where you can see rock fans sporting and representing their fav bands which vary from heavy metal like Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Sepultura, Bodom, Dimmu Borgir to the oldies like Frank Zappa, Led Zep, Sabbath, Floyd. It’s like a heavy metal red-carpet. You just want to be one in the crowd. People trying to sneak in- cigarettes, weed, lighters, digi cams or other contrabands- is not an unfamiliar sight. At the end of the day I think that place has more cigarette butts than all of Bangalore!

The arena was the same as the Megadeth concert. Two stages- Smaller one for the opening bands and the bigger one for the headlining bands. The smaller bands started at about 2 pm. The first band to play was called ‘Slayed’ (Obvious Slayer rip-off). Their songs were okay-ish. The second band up was a Pune based band called Abraxas. They had recently won the CRI contest and I was really looking forward to see a Pune band perform. And boy were they awesome! Their lead vocalist was a skinny guy with an absolute brutal voice. After singing about four originals they did a Lamb of God cover. That song had the biggest mosh pit. It was crazy. But I ended up banging my head on the periphery of the pit. The last couple of encounters in the pit were rather unpleasant (I know they are supposed to be that way). A hard kick in the stomach in Mumbai, a blow on the nose at the Satyricon concert and a vicious punch in the chin at the Megadeth gig (the last one was a result of my own drunken jive-my roomie Nikhil had later happily informed me) 

The bands that followed were Bangalore’s own Synaps and Kryptos, a British band called Cyanide Serenity (stupid name….stupid band) and an Italian band called ‘Brandon Ashley & The Silver Bugs’- I wish their songs were as interesting as their name!(also I’m pretty sure that one of the ‘Bugs’ was gay)

The main act was opened by one of my fav Indian bands- Parikrama. They belted out a few originals only after starting with a trademark AC/DC cover.  The crowd had started to gather in front of the main stage. With military precision everybody took out their cigarettes, joints, bongs or other inebriating devices and started smoking. The atmosphere was already hazy. I don’t smoke- but a rock show is not complete without that familiar revolting smell of marijuana. A guy in front of me had managed to sneak in a joint under his collar. After enjoying a few cushes (I hope that’s the word) he passed it on to a friend. After much cursing he got it back with only the butt or what was left of it. Poor bloke….he was really disappointed!

After Parikrama the stage was empty for  twenty minutes. The crowd was almost at its wits end and we could here the familiar catcalls like ‘Start the f*cking show!’ After shouting ‘Maiden!’ for what seemed to be an eternity suddenly the stage went dark…..and we heard that awesome opening riff of Aces High. I went crazy. We all went crazy. Everybody ran and tried to get as close to the stage as they could (A common phenomenon triggered by mass hysteria and mounting impatience). After the crowd found its rhythm and I found my other hand, everybody started banging their heads and throwing up the devils horns. The regulars were swaying wildly to start a pit while the less regulars (like me) were busy taking pictures. Iron Maiden was in business.

After the first song, Bruce Dickinson informed us that we were ‘one fu*king wild lot’. He took a moment and happily let us know that Iron Maiden had outsold Pink Floyd and Beatles in the last year. So why not celebrate? What followed was a relentless onslaught of some brilliant operatic vocals and five minute guitar solos.

The setlist was like my own fav playlist- Aces High, 2 minutes to midnight, Number of the beast, The Trooper (during which I went berserk…..I hit three guys in the head and kicked one in the shin), Run to the hills, Wasted Years, Powerslave, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, The Evil That Men Do, Phantom of the Opera, Children of the Damned, Fear of the Dark and Hallowed be thy Name.

After getting Fear of the Dark and Hallowed back to back I was dizzy with ecstasy. I shouted every last word I knew from the songs. I think I even shouted the guitar solos. I banged my head till I could bang no more. I punched everybody within an arms distance. I also got punched by everybody within an arms distance.

Andy Murray played the perfect guitar solos (which I have by-hearted after a million repeats), Steve Harris’ bass was spot on and Bruce Dickinson was just himself- crazy, energetic and entertaining. Be it changing into outrageous costumes after every song or monkeying across the stage-he kept the adrenaline pumping. Before the last song they promised that they’ll be back the next year.


So, my second Maiden concert was a blast. Picked up another tour T-shirt this time. Only 800 bucks. Given the cash deficit after this concert, I really need to start saving for the next one.


(Eddie is the Iron Maiden’s mascot. ‘He is a perennial fixture in the often violent album cover art’- Wikipedia)





Filed under Lifestyle, Non Fiction


The Preface-Prologue-Disclaimer Thingy –

Ok. My first blog. Big deal right? (Not!) Nowadays many want to do it. Most don’t do it coz they don’t find a good topic to start with. C’mon lets face it, others don’t want to know when you woke up today or why you scratch your *** only in odd numbers right away! I found myself in a similar dilemma. I did plan to write about heavy metal, a Tarantino movie, White Tiger (which I still haven’t read btw) or any other pop-centric trivialities, as most do write about them and others (me included) write pithy comments under them. Its not that I won’t write about them (chances are they’ll be all I’ll write about), its just that I needed a simple idea. Coz I don’t know how these things go- their length, their content, their punctuation (or the lack of) or the optimum funny-ness in every para. So I chose ‘me being fat’. Coz that’s the only thing I have truly done in quite sometime-be fat. What follows is a mostly true partly fictitious account of my coming-of-weight episode. Also try and not get distracted by the rather liberal use of brackets. (I’ll use less of those in the next one!)

The Catch-38 Thingy-

On January 5th 2009 (totally made up !) while I was looking at myself in the mirror (don’t ask why) I realized that I am fat. It was more like OMG I AM FAT! An epiphany of sorts. As the seconds passed I realized why most people addressed me with apparent misnomers like fatso, jad, jadya, gubbya, mote, lathth among (many) others. As (a few more seconds passed) I thought about it and it occurred to me that they all were true. Why I was Alok’s chubby friend or Anuj’s big-boned brother or the healthy fella at Nikhil’s wedding or That Fat Guy On Third Floor (ok…you get the gist right?) I felt guilty. I remembered all those moments of honesty in which I told myself ‘You don’t fit into those jeans anymore…..buy new ones’. I got the answer to the seemingly rhetorical question- ‘Mirror mirror on the wall…who’s the fattest of them all?’ (Overkill?…)

I got over the moment (rather quickly) and found myself standing on our very loyal weighing machine hoping for a refuge. That bastard! That twofaced, back-stabbing liar! ‘Omega-R200’-us you too!! I couldn’t believe it. I was 82kg! Overweight by 17kg. That’s a lot for my rather small, vertically challenged stature. But why? I always considered myself to be on the wrong side of seventies. This was just unacceptable. I was not planning for this. I had never planned for this. As I dug deeper into my loose T-shirt and my mind for a remotely conceivable reason I realized (yet again) that it was inevitable.

For the last year and a half I had lead a life of absolute freedom. You see I was working in Bangalore. Where beer flows like water and people drink it like water. The quintessential pub-infested, rock loving Shangri-La that undergrads long to be in. In Bangalore it is hip to be fat (pun not intended!). IT geeks come together on weekends and chant ‘If you are fat then you are doing well. Then why not eat more, so more you will swell. If you are not fat….work harder and catch up rat!’ This ill stated maxim guarantees a 38 inch waist if not a promotion. These IT geeks flaunt their bulging waist lines like sultry starlets do with their plunging necklines. Flab is a sign of opulence. May be the following can perhaps elaborate on this:

IT Geek 1: Hey look at my waistline. I got the Catch-38

ITG 2: Been there done that. I did that last quarter. I’m a 40 now!

ITG 3 (To 1 and 2): Keep it down you two! Did you see the email HR has sent    us? We need to have an average of 41 from last Feb. Else all our leaves will be cancelled!

ITG1: Damn it…Hey isn’t that our T.L.  Mr. Lippofatsrulerao. He’s a 42. They say he’s trying hard for a 44.

ITG 1, 2 & 3 (together) :Sighhhh …

Well such conversations can be overheard quite frequently. So I was quite intrigued with the Catch-38. I mean who wouldn’t? You get to have two of the three best things there are-beer and money (third being girls). I was hooked. I started drinking beer with monotonous regularity. I went to beer-buffets.  And beer makes you hungrier (a world known fact!). So I used to order the cheapest side dish available in pubs-finger chips. Also, after a delightful evening at the pub why ruin it with a heavy dinner? McDonalds, KFC here I come!

In retrospect I can only say,” It figures!” (Quite literally!).

With renewed enthusiasm I started to think on deciding when I should join a gym…..fourth attempt in the last eighteen months (the previous three were compromised because of my rising faith in the now fabled Catch-38). Joining a gym is a natural response to any urban youth dealing with weight issues. So like any other urban youth I confirmed with this established notion and decided to join a gym. Me and a couple of other guys, in our college days had always fancied joining a cool gym with a spa and a lounge. Me and my buddies wanted to join such a gym primarily to gawk at the girls (who appeared out of nowhere) who adorned the treadmills and the blessed ‘aerobics floor’. These things were now reachable (not affordable) since I had made a few bucks by tricking an MNC into hiring me.

Without my friends (who are a 40 and a 41 now….rich buggers) I joined the most renowned fitness club in the city called ‘Exorbitance’. It was love at first sight. The gym is in a multiplex. They have a greeting desk where members have to do a fingerprint check to punch their attendance. They have glass cabin which sells those frighteningly big cans of whey or wheytever and have pictures of even more frightening guys with impossible abs and biceps. The men’s changing room is bigger than my previous gym. The person at the ‘greeting desk’ even farts in English. All the ‘Customer Relationship Executives’ are female (my first sight!). One such Petite, Impressive, Mod and Pretty C.R.E approached me. I think our conversation went like this:

P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: Good Morning Sir! How are you today?

ME: Oh…Good Morni….

P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: Is there anything I can help you with?

ME: Yes….I was planning to joi…..

P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: Please follow me in to the office Sir.

(I am pleased to follow her into the office)

P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: Yes Sir. You were saying?

ME: Yes….I was planning to joi…..

P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: This is our membership inquiry catalogue.(handing it over to me)

ME (going through the membership inquiry catalogue): Ummm…

P.I.M.P. C.R.E. (without being asked): Sir the weightloss batch is included in our regular hours.

ME (without taking offense): Oh…ok….then I think I’ll opt for tha….

P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: Will that be cash or card Sir?

I was out of the office in less than three minutes with a considerable deficit in my already desiccating finances when an intimidating man with burly muscles approached me and introduced himself as Chandrashekhar. The P.I.M.P. C.R.E. then happily informed me that ‘C’ will be ‘handling’ me. ‘C’-as helpful as he was- took me through a guided tour of the gym. He showed me all the machines and their use. He also informed me that in my ‘case’ I should do more of calorie-burning exercises (which basically meant that I will be confined to the fat corner). My workout for that day was

1. Jogging for five minutes

2. Elliptical cycle for five minutes

3. Lifting miniscule looking dumbbells over my head in a variety of rigid patterns

4. And stretching-apparently the most important one ! (I couldn’t get my hands below my knees)

I went home that day totally exhausted. I decided to stop eating junk food (my first idea was to stop eating), stop snacking, no drinks- NO BEER! It was a sacrifice I had to make in order to dissociate myself from the other f-word.

It’s been almost a month now since I joined Exorbitance (I think the name is making sense now!). I have not missed a single day. I haven’t lost a single kg. But I have learned that cardio-exercise and thrash metal is a pair made in heaven. With Hetfield and Mustaine screaming in your ears who wouldn’t be charged with energy? I still gawk a girls on the treadmills. I want to be back in the comfortable seventies. I want to use those discarded jeans again (yes I still have those….everybody does). I want a helmet that fits. I want my relatives to recognize me at a wedding. I want to look in the mirror without an epi-funny. I dont want a 38 inch waist anymore. I want to be thin again.

J. Heller Forever.


Filed under Choice, FAT, Lifestyle