Tag Archives: Bangalore

A Bullet from my Valentine

It’s not easy to get a girlfriend in Bangalore. It’s even harder to keep one.

She used to work in my office. To put it in a better way-we worked together. She was a developer and I a coder. She was funny, sexy, cool, and confident and I was not. She was on her way up and me-lets just say I wasn’t.

When she agreed to go out with me, everybody showed genuine disbelief. Myself included. I just stood there with a loss of words and came up with something silly like, ‘Cool!’. She had giggled. They always do. But then I made what I call a super awesome comeback and made her giggle a little more and fixed up a date. And that was that.

‘She’s using you man!’, Wilfred had told me when I had broken the news to him. He sat next to me in the office. He loved football and loved Amisha Patel even more. He had an opinion about everybody and everything. He was a gossip queen. And also he lied a lot. “No she’s not. And even if she is, I don’t care”, I had replied with all the annoyance I could summon in two seconds.

But seriously I didn’t care. I really didn’t. Her ex was a finance guy who worked on the seventh floor and had an MBA degree from a shady institute whose name sounded like Sunny or Happy or something cornier. He liberally used double entendre right from the cafeteria to the boardroom. But the guy apparently had a way with numbers and the guys on the tenth floor were happy about it. ‘Mr. Bottomline’ as he was affectionately called by the female staff, had relentless pursued her and she had relented. But they had broken up in six months. Apparently someone from HR too, had relented-much later than her. I knew this because Wilfred knew this. And Wilfred knew everything.

Our first date was like most first dates-uncomfortable, tense and at times embarrassing. For me it was all three. But she didn’t mind. She gave me a two out of five and asked me to promise her that the next one would be better. And I did. And it was. A Shahrukh Khan movie, a stroll in the mall and a dinner in a Punjabi restaurant. Safe. I was in and she was too.

She liked Sidney Sheldon, SRK, Priyanka Chopra and Backsteet Boys. She thought Metallica was a girl. ‘Is she like Madonna?’ she had enquired. Her favourite movie was Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. She liked Forum better than Garuda Mall-‘Its just better’, she had observed. She used words like ‘anyways’ and ‘precisely’ all the time. She always wore a watch on the right hand. She said that she liked me a lot. I believed her.

‘She’s still using you man. She’s gonna go back to whatshisname’, Wilfred had repeated after I had told him that I was planning an expensive date on Valentines Day. He also informed me that Mr. Bottomline had saved the company like a zillion dollars and avoided a major lay-off. The guys on the tenth floor were planning to move him to the eighth. It was that or an extended stay in Europe. That bastard. She really hated him. She always let me know how much she hated him. It was kinda amusing. I used to come up with really funny jokes about him. Funnily, she didn’t find them funny.

‘No she’s not. She told me she was over him on our last date. And besides, why would she care if he’s headed off to Europe. He’s stupid. She told me that. Mr. Bottomline- I wonder why they call him that’

Today morning I woke up with a smile on my face. It was the first time that had happened. I actually had a date on Yash Chopra’s favourite day. I had it all figured out. Right to the minutest detail. I was gonna buy 23 roses- one for each time she had gone out with the formerly worlds-most-eligible-loser. Then I was gonna take her to an expensive restaurant in Indiranagar. It was gonna be perfect.

I had managed to get real Swiss chocolates from a guy I knew in finance. She loved Swiss chocolates. She had told me that. I had bought a new shirt for the date. I did buy 23 roses. Man they were expensive! I even bought a huge bouquet just in case.

She lived in Kormangala. I was supposed to pick her up. It was tricky to make my way through the traffic not messing up the bouquet. Many people offered expletives in Kannada. I returned the favour in Marathi. Couples were already getting comfortable. Not too comfortable though. Some outfits were calling on them in the Lord’s name.

I made it in time to her place. She lived in an apartment complex. Romeos with half of southern India’s flowers were already there picking up there respective Juliets. Understandably there was a rush at the elevator. I resisted the urge to take the stairs. A sweaty and panting version of me wouldn’t exactly be a welcome sight. So I stayed in the queue for the elevator with a dozen other thoughtful individuals. I fought with a guy who had a smaller bouquet than mine. I won.

The elevator was small and stuffy. All the guys were reeking with the Axes and Zataks and Bruts. I felt like throwing up. I made a funny expression at the guy next to me who responded by finding something interesting in the elevator safety manual. Slowly I made it to her floor.

As I got out of the elevator I made my way through the hallway, trying to figure out where to go. For a moment I forgot her surname. Then I remembered. I headed to her apartment. Apartment B-23-C.

She was already at the door. She looked stunning. She was wearing a Punjabi dress for the first time since we had started going out. I had not expected that. Her hair was not tied up. That was a first too. She was wearing pretty earrings. My girlfriend looked beautiful.

She had another bouquet at her feet. It was way bigger than mine. She had a smile on her face that I had never seen before. With her head resting gently on his chest and her hand resting firmly on his bottom, Mr. Bottomline was giving himself the high five and punching the air.

Mr. Bottomline – I get the name now.

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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)

    

 

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Filed under Lifestyle, Non Fiction