Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Västerås tales - Deep Purple Nite - 14th Juli

This has been one event which I have been waiting for quite some time now. I feel good for the fact that Deep Purple is performing right in the city within a month of my coming here. Yes, they are old, but neither am I young too. It had been my desire to watch them live and "Smoke on the Water" was probably one of the only few songs I used to know when I started listening to rock.

The Bombardier arena, where the show was to happen, was around 2 kms from my apartment, so I just decided to walk down. The gates to the hall were supposed to open at 6:00PM. I started walking for the venue at 5:30PM and was at the arena around 6:00PM. Already, there was a long queue for entry. I initially felt that there won't be too many people since the tickets did not carry the seat numbers. But, I could see enough crowd at the entry point. The gates opened at 6:45 PM and people rushed inside to capture the best of positions. I choose a seat right on the 2nd row of the gallery, probably around 200 metres from the stage. The place is basically an indoor stadium and there was space for standing near the stage just ahead of the point where the gallery starts. I wanted to go and stand right next to the stage, but then I had my backpack on with camera and spares and so decided to remain seated and watch. Slowly the indoor stadium was full. It was 7:30PM when one of the headlining bands started to perform. The band name is called Eclipse ( and they were not bad. They belted out 5 of their most popular numbers till 8:00PM. I liked one of their numbers, probably a very popular one - "How to mend a broken heart" (

At 8:15 PM, the next band, Everygrey ( took over the stage. I have not heard of this band, but they seemed to be pretty popular in Sweden and I could see many of their fans shouting and cheering them. They performed on stage for around 45 minutes or so and there was no doubt they were good. I could see from their webpage that they are an old band and they have quite a few albums released over the years. They started with Fear ( and continued with another few numbers, two of which are Obedience ( and A Touch of Blessing ( The crowd liked them and their antics on stage... Now it was time for Purple to take over... The stage was cleared and the instruments were quickly arranged at the right places and Deep Purple stormed the stage at 9:15PM...

There was a huge applause and the atmosphere was electrifying as soon as Ian Gillan (vocals), Ian Paice (drummer), Don Airey (keyboardist), Steve Morse (lead guitar) and Roger Glover (bass guitar) took their positions on the stage and immediately got the rhythm of "Highway Star" underway. Thats it.. Thereafter, it was non-stop action with all their chart-busters being belted out one after the other. The next number was "Things I never said" and Ian Gillan was exceptional in the way he rendered the song. It was followed by "Strange kind of woman", "Rapture of the Deep", "Perfect Strangers", "Space Truckin" and many many more. In between there were several solo pieces on the keyboard, lead guitar and bass guitar. The crowd was on their toes all throughout. It was tough to imagine the energy of all the artists on stage who were probably 60+. Ian Paice on the drums was extraordinary with his speed and me being a small time slow paced 4-4 drummer myself, I realise that I would have to take a rebirth to play at his level. I was lucky to be right at the front to have a feel of the vocals, the music, the stage antics and everything. The sound was probably too loud and my ears are still heavy and whenever I speak on the phone, i can hear two sounds :) Par chalega, thats all part of the game...

The crowd was constantly cheering with their hands up in the air with every number and Steve Morse was trying his best to involve the crowd in singing by playing short lead pieces... The crowd erupted when Gillan started "Smoke on the Water" and there was a total frenzy... Everybody in the crowd tried to accompany Ian in singing and that was a scene to watch... I wanted to take lot of pictures, but in the beginning itself, I was told by one of the bouncers that SLRs are not allowed inside it seems, but then somehow I managed to click few photographs whenever the surrounding was total dark and the crowd was at their feet... I missed the long lens which could have made me take some close-up snaps...I think the best camera to have for these shows is the small digital pocket ones which has a good zoom, becos they are allowed inside... I thought "Smoke on the Water" was the last rendition as immediately afterwards, they all came towards the front of the stage, bowed to the crowd and started to go backstage... But they were back on stage in another 5 minutes and then it was time for "Hush"... It was already 11:00PM and they had performed for 1 hr and 45 minutes already... And they had the perfect ending for the night... "Black Night" which followed after "Hush"... That song was just awesome with some very good lead guitar interludes thrown in... Then, it was time for the final bow and the throwing of sticks and t-shirts and all...

Well, the local newspapers the next day did not carry a very positive article about the performance.. They felt that probably their stage presence, antics and energy and crowd interaction was not up to the mark, but then I feel that one should give them the benefit of their age... How many bands at that age can entertain a crowd like this... Overall, for me, the show was fabulous and it was a dream come true... Hail Deep Purple...

Hej da...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reminiscence - The Diary Unfolds

I can't help but write this blog today itself. The poetry begineth here... This doesn't suit the blog, but this particular poem is the first one I penned down... And its about me... I don't know myself what I wrote and you might laugh your heart out.. But thats how it is...

There will be quite a few poems coming down slowly in the days ahead...

This is all due to Arun B... He is one of those good old friends from school days... We had lost contact a few years after we left our school in Chennai, then we got connected again... Again we lost touch... And now we are connected again... This is all due to his efforts to get connected and rejuvenate our old friendship... And his efforts have got many of us schoolmates together as late as last month, at least on the email though... And I am sure we are going to meet together soon at the earliest possible opportunity... Cheers to Arun and all my other friends - Sachin, Killi, Jagat, Nitin, Williams, Satish...

Three Cheers to Friendship...

I had actually forgotten those days when I used to write a bit of poetry. And its Arun who recollected this fact with the exact title of one of the poems I had penned down. The grinds to earn a living to sustain oneself for the future takes a toll of everything. I had long forgotten all what I used to do. Well, whenever I wish, I see that luck is always on my side... I think u guys should also try this out - If u r very eager to do something from your heart, luck will be always with you... Anyway, I remember that I had written all those poems in a diary and when I packed my things to come to Sweden, I had packed a couple of age old diaries with me. But at the airport I had to drop of several things to maintain the plane weight restrictions and so I was not sure what I brought finally and what not. I searched the bags I got here and to my surprise and joy, I found a couple of diaries. When I opened one of the diaries the pages of which had become brown, I was overjoyed to see that it contained all my poems and many other personal stuff which were all part of me at some point of time and something which I used to cherish a lot. Man, thats what is luck and its all to Arun... Without much delay, here cometh the poem...
Date of entry on the diary: 12th May 1991

The Unknown Stranger

A simple flower of the wholesome life
Got a lone ray of light
The days of sorrow feels underground
More to the future lane.

The more you like the charms of life
The feelings of brightness soothes the face
Heaven knows what lies in faith
Simple to have a sight.

One more ray of the shining mirror
Be the hope of the twilight hours
I am only one of those flowers
Waiting to have a feel of the powers.

Hail the poet... thats me :)

Now the surprise... When going through the pages, I found this brown page with this picture and two stickers...

Remember which movie is this - Maine Pyar Kiya with that faltoo kabootar (gutar goon)..

Well, this picture must be giving you lot of ideas by now... This page has been actually troubling me for the last couple of days - Why the hell did I paste this on my diary.... Maybe,

Yeh Oon Dinon Ki Baat Hogi
Jab Jawani Ke Daayre Mein Mere Kadamon ki Aahat Ko Sunte Hee
Simat Liya Kisi Ne Mere Dil ki Bechaini aur Dhadakti Aarzooon Ko
Apni Machalti Parchaiyon Ke Aaghosh Mein...

Par Kaun Thi Woh... Mujhe Sochne ke liye aur thoda time chahiye... Agar Aaplogon Ko Pataa Chale to Please Bataa Dijiye... Badi Meherbaani Hogi... Tab tak ke liye...

Hej Da !

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Västerås tales - Its raining and raining and raining


Its raining and raining hard in Västerås the last few days. I am totally stuck up at home, just sleeping and doing nothing. After breakfast, a nap, then lunch and another nap and then evening tea and another nap. Oops, that was too much. "Aaloo" (potato) khao aur so jao, that is my routine. Potatoes have become a daily diet and I am buying at least 1kg every week. But the excitement in life never stops for me. I watched a movie and then went for a walk in the rain.

Friday evening, I watched "The Deer Hunter" with Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep in the lead. This movie won the Oscar in 1978. This is a great movie and I would rate this as one of the best performances of Robert De Niro. As for Meryl Streep, I don't have words. Her fantastic performance just added that extra charm to her extremely beautiful face and expressions. I would suggest people to watch this movie if u haven't. If you are scared of blood, then u have to be slightly careful. The first half opens to friendship and togetherness, the type of relationship which is often showcased in movies only, but probably never happens in real life (according to me). Today, people are concerned about self and what works good for them and thats the basis where all relationships are formed. Anyway, coming back to the movie, its more of fun and romance in the first half and a few of the songs are worth listening and prompting. Listen to this ultimate romantic number "Can't take my eyes off you" by Frankie Valli. What lyrics - it pinches right where it has to - the heart :). The youtube links are here:

1. In the movie "The Deer Hunter" - ""

2. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons - ""

It was a great time for all the three friends till the time when they have to get separated to serve the country in the Vietnam war. They bid goodbye to each other at one of the friend's wedding ceremony. As luck would have it, the friends again meet each other during the war and all three of them were captured by the Viet Cong. They were able to run away together from the camp and yet again, they get separated. De Niro comes back to the US mentally disturbed, one of the other friends stayed back in Vietnam playing Russian roulette and the third friend also came back to the US crippled. The friendship though still remained and each one of them was doing their best for each other. This movie is a story about the intricacies of life - the ecstasies of good times, the pains of separation and the sufferings created by different situations. In spite of everything, life has to still go on and all dreams need to be restructured time and again. I admire the performance of young Christopher Walken as Nick.

Now, the best scene: the Russian roulette scene at the Viet Cong camp. A bullet is inserted into the revolver cylinder and the Viet Cong leader rotates the cylinder. Then the prisoners have to take the revolver and shoot at their temple. The soldiers will put a bet on whether the bullet will fire or not. Finally, one of them dies when the bullet fires. In this particular scene, just to excite the commander, De Niro suggests putting 3 bullets in the cylinder and rotating rather than just one. You have to watch the movie to see the drama. You can watch it on Youtube too, but be careful if u r weak-hearted. Here's the link:

And for all those who want to watch Meryl Streep, here's the link. The first portion is the scene from "The Deer Hunter".

Saturday was total rest day, eating and sleeping as I mentioned. Today morning (Sunday), I woke up with a slight headache (probably due to excessive sleeping) and I was in no mood to stay at home. Had my regular talk with a friend over the net and then decided to go to the city center for a walk during lunch time. It started raining just when I was about to go out, but to hell with the rain. Indians are not scared of the rain, right ! There was another reason for which I have to go to the city center. That was to get my already reserved ticket for the Deep Purple indoor concert ( or this coming Tuesday at Västerås. U r right. Its a Deep Deep Purple Show... Yahoo... Can u imagine - everything what I like is happening here in Västerås one after the other. Purple has been one of my favorite bands and it has been my desire to watch them perform live. They were in Bangalore too, but I could not make it to the show. Chalo, hopefully ek aur ichha bhi puri hone ke chances hai. I thought I would be the only one walking in the rain with an umbrella, but I was surprised when I saw quite a few people on the streets. There were few ladies too walking, but without any umbrella and running around from one shed to the other. They are the free and modern ladies - the ones who want to be always free. I think you are prompting the same song with me - "ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si, soti raaton mein jaagi si"... The only difference was that I was sleepy and they weren't. Yes, it was fun walking in the rain. The rain umbrella was just for show actually and I was drenched. I could reach the tourist information centre where the ticket was booked for me well in time. Today being Sunday, most of the shops in Västerås were supposed to close around 14 - 15 hrs. In fact, this being semester time out here, several of the shops are temporarily closed for a couple of weeks while the open ones are open only for short durations. When there are no customers, who will buy? I didn't have much work to do, so roamed around the shops and ended up spending a good amount of money... I don't have much photographs to put up this week...

I am now eagerly waiting for the Purple show... Hope they put some Smoke on the Water in wet Västerås...

U all keep enjoying as always :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Västerås tales - Power Big Meet


I was also surprised like you all when I heard for the first time last week about "Power Big Meet" which was to be held in Västerås. This was one of the many events which I found people to be waiting for since so many days. The first impression I got was that the heads of the world's superpower nations are probably having one of their tea-time meetings here. Quite natural, this is a small and beautiful place and the weather has been great. It is only when I started inquiring the details of this so called meet that I came to know what it is about. It is a meeting of the big cars - the cars of the 50s and 60s and 70s which used to be huge in size. They are supposed to go on a rally through the main streets of Västerås. Oops !! What a shock. I think, in India, we basically term such rallies as the Vintage Car Rally. But there's more to it than the rally itself and the details are available in this link The meet is usually held over the weekend during the first week of July. Can you imagine that the event in 2008 had 14,200 cars and had participation from 42 countries !!

Its almost a month since I landed up in Västerås and I have not been able to take good rest over the weekend. There's something or the other happening which is keeping me engaged. I had never expected that Västerås is the most happening place in Sweden. I had initially thought that this rally of old cars is something very simple like the vintage car rallies in India and I was not planning to go and see today, i.e. Friday. But I don't know why, I came to my apartment and decided to go. I walked down to the city center and I could see several people rushing towards the city on the sidewalks - both on foot and on cycles. It was around 5:30PM and my friends had told me that the rally was supposed to start at 5:00PM. Fine, I went to the city center and I could see many many people lined up on the sides of the road. I slowly started to have this feeling as though this rally is something which is really "big". I also stood along with those people and then saw a few of the old cars being driven down. Well, it was interesting to see the cars but to me I didn't find it so interesting as to wait for them on the sidewalk. I stood there for quite sometime and then decided to go towards the railway station and near the lake. I was already told that the major gathering happens near there only and I could also see lot of people moving towards that side. As I started nearing the road which runs close to the lake, I could feel that the number of people were increasing exponentially. The enthusiasm levels of the people were also on the higher side. Most of the people were having beer and they had brought chairs and were seated on the side of the road. Many of the families were in a picnic mode as I could see them on the grass, with sun protector umbrella, lot of beer and of course food. This, I found was a nice and different atmosphere for me. I kept on walking till I could find a vantage point from where I can have a good view of the cars coming down. The point was a slightly wide divider right in the middle of the road and this point was good to take pictures. There were quite a few photographers with long lenses there and I also got into their midst.

If you have ever thought about what the branded cars of the modern era looked like during its 1st or 2nd generation, you got it all here. You name the car, you can see it - mustangs, lincolns, chevrolets, street Rods, corvettes. Somebody told me that there were 16,000 such cars this time !! Can you imagine? There is though a big difference between the "Power Big Meet" and any other vintage car rally and its in the people who are inside the cars. Every car has few people with each one of them dressed in style which suits their image with the car. For the macho cars, you can see the macho guys and gals.. Gals? Well, they are probably the major attractions during this meet and you can see some of the bold and beautiful ladies inside those cars. Unfortunately, I did not have my long zoom lens with me, else the present story would have been a different one. Each of the cars had the occupants in many different styles and it was very interesting to look at. And of course, I can proudly say that this indeed was a sort of an attraction with a difference. I was at one point for almost an hour in the centre of the street when cops came up and told us to go to one side of the street. I started walking on the sidewalk. I can call this event as a festival. The sidewalks were all lined up with small makeshift shops selling memorabilia stuff related to the cars or food items. The sidewalk was totally full and it was difficult to walk. The stretch of open space between the sidewalk and the road was totally filled up all along the length of the road as far as I could see. Since it was a friday evening, I would rather think that most of Västerås would have been out there at some point of time or the other. I spent more than 2 hours at the venue, sometimes looking at the cars and sometimes at the people. It was a nice experience. I could not wait to watch all the 16000 cars coming, so just moved out of that place, went towards the harbor for some time, came back to the city center, bought few mangoes and came back home. Thats it - the end of a beautiful evening. I should actually thank the weather God for this wonderful opportunity since it had rained in the afternoon and I was planning to have a nice time at home watching some movie ! Västerås is truly a great place.