Apr 30, 2012

My music and nature soaked weekend

I had heard about it through a friend, but I wasn't really sure what The Great Gig in the Sky really was. I read up the page, I asked around, I tried to figure it out, but in my head, there were still a load of doubts. I can get pretty introverted in social situations, and I wondered, would I feel lost here. Add the fact that my musical inclination is sporadic and very mood-induced.

But my love for the outdoors, hikes, treks, open air and more got me going for it. And let me begin with - I am glad I did.

To introduce the concept, The Great Gig in the Sky is something started by a group called Jumpstart India. They travel with a band / singer-songwriter to a location that is nestled amidst nature, and that is where the gig is. No frills, no equipment, no fancy lights or speakers, no set-up or stage. Just a small selected audience, and the performer. This is usually an overnight camping trip, and the best part is that you get to travel, interact and get to know the musicians you are listening to. Music is better appreciated when you appreciate the people creating it. Isn't it?

Now that I have explained it, about the one I went for.

We travelled with a band called Dischordian. Here emerged my second hesitation. I had never heard the. Or heard of them either. They describe their music in these words: Spanning multiple genres, but primarily grounded in folk, punk, and blues, Dischordian’s sound is difficult to categorise or describe. 

But would I like it? Would they be a bunch of snooty band members who just stomped around?
Fast forward to the bus ride. Hot as hell, and sweaty, it was where we awkwardly smiled at each other. A courteous hi, and a basic ice breaker round of introductions. We arrived at Kondivane, gasping for something cool, a breeze, a gush of air, something. Heading for a local hut, the fan turned into the second ice breaker, as everyone plopped under it.
Lunch and lazy bonding, some talk and getting to know each other was followed by impromptu jamming as a Ukulele was discovered. Cut to looking for a decent spot to swim, in the parched stream. As one of the band members put it, Dhiren from Jumpstart tricked us into a mini hike by guiding us to a spot a little further ahead, before we decided it wasn't large enough and walked back to the main stream. Loads of fun followed, splashing about, and even recreating 'We will rock you' with water splashes (yes, I am not kidding!) To my utter delight, the band members turned out to be total fun, with no airs, and a great sense of humour.

We learnt how to pitch tents and pitched our own tents in an open field. The band was working with us, clearing ground, pitching tents, moving stones and more. Then we headed to a 'chowk' sort of area, under a tree, for the main event of the trip - the gig. There were just a few of us on this trip, and that transformed into a more intimate setting and performance. The band played some really nice songs from their latest album, and I discovered a new sound. I was also fascinated by the number of different instruments they could play and used for their music. They had us jamming along, as everyone drowned in the general mood of the night. And it was even better, when all the lights were turned completely off.

We were told that this gig that lasted over two hours was one of the longest Great Gigs. Did not feel that long if you asked the audience. Tired and sleepy, everyone headed back to the freshly pitched tents, and decided to sleep under the stars! I was still hungover on music, so it was my headphones, my phone playlist and me gazing up making shapes out of the stars for a long time. I even got to use my brand new sleeping bag, but that is just a personal landmark! :)

The next day was pretty hot (still!) and lazy. Some decided to go back for a swim, while the rest just lazed around chatting, sketching, writing (only I did that!) and generally vegging out. More random jamming ensued.

If I had to, I could point out things to dislike. But the best part about this little trip was that it made me not want to point those out. Except the heat of course. You cannot ignore that. Nor can you do something about it. I dived in expecting no luxury, nothing big, and returned with some good friends and fond memories. A cooler time of the year would have helped a lot, but that did not stop us from having fun.

Jumpstart is a company that is new, young and has just kickstarted. They have a brilliant concept in this, and over time, they shall probably make it more professional. But I do hope that does not happen. Because, for me, the charm was in doing things together, in figuring out solutions to a glitch together, in a joint recce to decide on the location of the performance, and in the exchange of ideas that actually brings a group together.  I would definitely recommend something like this, but I will also throw in a warning. Do not sign up if you are used to luxuries everywhere you go, if you expect a prim and proper world around you and if you cannot bear the thought of roughing it out. That is not the purpose of these gigs. Sign up with an open mind, no huge expectations and a drive to have fun no matter what, and you shall have an experience you will be proud of.

Also, if you are travelling in the summer, carry shorts!

You can find Dischordian on Facebook here or check out their website.
Check out what Jumpstart is and does here.

Photos Clicked by Manish Usapkar and Vilas Chavan. All copyrights with Jumpstart India.

Drunk on Music

So, I spent the weekend on a musical-nature trip with a band (more on this in another post). Nature has always inspired me to write. Words flow in like the rain, and peace just drowns me. I can sit quietly and watch the sky full of stars for hours. And this time, we had music to lift the mood a notch higher. Obviously then, my pen could not be left alone. I scribbled some things and here is one of them:


Rhythms that fill, the streams and the hills,
The strings hum tunes, singing with the wind,
The stars blink, drunk on the music,
Nature moves, rejoicing in sync.

We've carried backpacks of joy,
We've brought along smiles,
All we need is our music,
And we can carry on for miles.

Miles turn to minutes, and minutes just dash by,
When you're drunk on music, the world all passes by.
Let the birds chirp with you, for they too want in,
No one's left out, even the trees are jamming.

- © Haem Roy
29th April, 2012.

I also wrote another one in Hindi. But I don't have a title for it yet. Here it is. If you have any suggestions, let me know:

Chuppi si chaayi hai, aankhon mein dhundhlaahat,
Saans dheemi dheemi, bas dhunon ki aahat.

Yaadon ke palchinnhon ko hum sang liye,
Jholi mein lamhon ko sanjooye,
Apni dhunki mein sabko sang liye,
Sab sunn liya hamne kuch na kehte hue.

Chuppi si chaayi hai, aankhon mein dhundhlaahat,
Saans dheemi dheemi, bas dhunon ki aahat.

Palkon ke neeche chipe manmauji khayaal,
Chaahein woh fal latke jo taaron ki daal,
Jhoomte gaate hue khushi se behaal,
Phool bhi chale dekho tumhari hi chaal.

Chuppi si chaayi hai, aankhon mein dhundhlaahat,
Saans dheemi dheemi, bas dhunon ki aahat.

- © Haem Roy
29th April, 2012.

Apr 19, 2012

The butterflies

All is calm as you walk ahead,
On the road your gaze is set,
Bam! Wham! You spot him then
Forget the who, what, where, when.

Within you they start to rise…
Don't you love the butterflies?
I do. I do.
Don't you love the butterflies?
Don't you?

You look at him, he smiles back
Sparkly eyes and you lose your track
Clouds of a dream floating in
On your face a nervous silly grin.

They follow his little bright eyes....
Don't you love the butterflies?
I do. I do.
Don't you love the butterflies?
Don't you?

Your oyster is the world
Headlong you are hurled
Dizzy at the ride yet wanting more
You love the rush. encore! Encore!

They discovered where happiness lies...
Don't you love the butterflies?
I do. I do.
Don't you love the butterflies?
Don't you?

You think of him, the voice, the hair,
You love yourself, sniff the air,
The tingles, excitement, sober highs,
Leaving you with a bundle of sighs.

You just can't control the smiles...
Don't you love the butterflies?
I do. I do.
Don't you love the butterflies?
Don't you?

- © Haem Roy
19th April, 2012.

Apr 11, 2012

The story of my dreams

Just a blink and it's gone
It didn't wait too long
And now I try to remember, the dream that's left in embers.

It started black and white
A glimmer, some shapes, a little light,
People I know, people I don't,
The star cast sometimes totally unknown.
Thats my voice I hear
And me I follow
I see love and romance
Smiles, laughter and all that hey-ho!

But just a blink and it's gone
It didn't wait too long
And now I try to remember, the dream that's left in embers.

Colours are filling in,
A movie in my head.
If I was on a seat I'd grab it
In anticipation of what's ahead.
Suspense and thrills, chase sequences,
Location switch, even surreal experiences.
Some people lost but I cling on
The heart racing like a marathon.

But just a blink and it's gone
It didn't wait too long
And now I try to remember, the dream that's left in embers.

I jump off cliffs, escape into tunnels,
A spy, crook, lover, so many role reversals.
I try to keep up with my REM cycle,
The deeper I sleep, the more my dream tangles.
Carried away into a strange world every night,
I wake with a start, a smile or a fright.
Without a goodbye, I forget and we part,
Good morning to a world I know by heart.

Just a blink and it's gone
It didn't wait too long
And now I try to remember, the dream that's left in embers.

- © Haem Roy
11th April, 2012.

Apr 3, 2012


A little road goes winding down,
A little turn, comes all the way around,
Before you know it, you are back,
Among those same familiar sounds.
Square one they call it, the rigmarole,
The trapdoor, the hidden hole.
No matter what journey you make,
You come back and land at the same place?
It's no coincidence, it can't be fate!
It's just that your eyes can't see a new way.

May be you need to look under the bushes,
Over the trees? A little nudge to the left, or blindly follow the breeze.
Stumble and fall, and lose your way, no breadcrumbs, no milestones,
No guide to find your way back.
Then you may be on the right track,
Never look back at old horizons,
Then you may break the circles.

- © Haem Roy
3rd April, 2012.

Apr 1, 2012

Why the seasons change?

A few people have that effect on you, where even the hottest day will seem breezy, or you will feel the joy of a rainy day in the dead of winter...

Smiles start pouring as you walk in,
Like rainy droplets,
Like leaves in autumn,
Like colours at sunset,
Like the summer sun.

The world starts shining with your eyes,
Like the sparkling dew drops,
Like the little snow flakes,
Like the colour on flowers,
Like the shimmering lakes.

Music is in the air that breathes your scent,
Like the morning chirps,
Like the first thunders,
Like the pitter patter on tin roofs,
Like wind whistling in the ear.

You bring warmth in winter,
With you comes the the rain,
The summer breeze follows you,
You, my love, make the seasons change.

- © Haem Roy
1st April, 2012.

Ek taar

Ever think of how, when you strum a guitar, the tune doesn't leave the string for some time. It clings on, it fills the air, and it lingers around for a while.That's where this verse started for me...

Ek taar pe dhun jo chid jaaye,
Itni jaldi chhod ke na jaa paaye,
Dhun koi mann ko bhaaye,
Toh mann mein basera kar jaaye.

Hawa mein mehek jab saje,
ghanton woh leher bhatakti rahe,
Khushboo se koi kheencha chala aaye,
Duur jaakar bhi woh bichad na paaye.

Saaya toh kuch hi pal rehta,
Par pair mitti mein ishaare rakh jaaye.

Khayaalon mein chori se koi aa toh hai gaya,
Mushkil yeh hai ki kahin woh kaid hi na reh jaye.

- © Haem Roy
1st April, 2012.