Sam B speaks.
“Let’s make a band. I had dreamt of it every time since school!” I said.
“Even I wanted to do something with music. But are you sure? We are no way ready.” Asked a doubtful Dg.
“You are a tabla champ dude. And it’s you who told me that you can deal with any kind of percussion instruments. Then why not drums?” I insisted.
“Am not worried about drums dumbass! I’ll manage the drums. But can you sing? And besides, we do not have a bassist or guitarist yet.” Said Dg.
It was just 2 years since we joined college. I was already famous as a singer.
But what Dg said made absolute sense.
I had never been a singer my entire life. It was only when I was eleven, my mom realised I got her genes. She was a trained classical singer. She tried teaching my sister but couldn’t succeed.
“She couldn’t manage scales”, she used to say.
I was never an option.
One fine day, my mom found out that I could sing. Then on, I sang during various functions in school but always in chorus.
When I came to college, nobody cared about my background. It was in my first year, that I shook the entire auditorium with a daring act of singing “chatura naar” from “Padosan” all alone.
I managed both the parts of Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey so well that I was instantly famous as a singer in the college. But what I lacked was proper exposure to rock. Till now, I heard sufi bands and some Bengali pop songs. Dg’s question about my ability was just.
“I’ll manage. But what about the bassist? Will Shrek be ready?” I wanted to focus on other important things.
“Shrek” as he was famously known was the best bassist in our batch. He was a NRI from Middle-East. But what separated him from the rest of the lot was his down-to-earth nature.
“He’s already playing for ‘Morphine’, besides he wouldn’t play with amateurs like us. He has a class dude”, said Dg.
“Then?” I wondered.
“Well Deep was interested in learning Bass from some time. Let’s boost him up. May be he will be a saviour”, said Dg.
Dg always had a softer corner for Deep. After all, Deep was his first roomy as well as his first friend in the college.
I had no option but to agree. I accompanied Dg to his room where I saw Deep fidgeting with his brand new laptop.
“Hey Guys, wassup? Look what I found on LAN. A new MMS scandal.” Said an over-excited Deep.
“Deep, we need to talk.” Said Dg firmly.
Deep was not the serious kind of guy. He was always casual. But the best part was that he was innovative. Whatever he did, be it watching movies or dressing himself, he was unique. And that’s what made him special. He was that fair, fat, bi-spectacled Bengali guy who could change your mood in seconds with some stupid joke.
Within seconds, I saw him getting serious for the first time.
“Well, I’ll start taking lessons from Shrek today itself. I’ll try to learn asap!” said Deep.
And suddenly, there as he spoke, I saw a different zeal in his eyes. I knew at that very moment, he was the guy our band needed.
After having sent Deep to learn Bass guitar, the next hurdle was to find a guitarist. And that was tough.
For weeks we tried the stalwarts famous with the six-strings in our college. But none of them agreed. Either they already had a band or thought themselves to be too professional to jam with amateurs like us. We had almost lost our hope.
“Let’s wait for next year. May be we can get some new first-years to play for us.” Dg said.
But deep inside I did not have the energy to wait another year or maybe I felt that getting along with a junior would not be easy in a band.
But then, God had different plans. It was a Sunday night. I was enjoying the chocolate ice-cream, Shukla ji had given me after dinner in my college mess, when I saw him. I had seen him play the guitar during our “Freshers” eve in our first year. But I didn’t speak to him ever.
He was sporting a long hair and a full length beard. He was wearing a Nike T-shirt and something that was a bit more than underwear but way too less to be considered a short-pant. He had a table tennis bat in his hand and was giggling like a fool with some fat guy near the mess.
I always had an ego problem right from my kiddo days. And that look on his face made me feel he might show some attitude. So I decided to go for some background study before approaching him.
Two days later I had all information I could gather. He was Prashant Agarwal, Metallurgy Dept., Rourkella and a “trained” rhythm guitarist.
The last part especially the “trained” word resulted in an extra urge to approach him and forget the word ‘ego’.
So, Dg and I decided to talk to him. We were going to his room when we saw him on the way itself.
“Damn! He was wearing those pants again. Doesn’t he have a better pair of shorts?” I wondered.
“Umm.. Prashant!” I called him.
He was busy giggling again. On calling him he came towards us. We were expecting some tantrums and some extra pleadings from our ends to coax him to join us. But he surprised us well.
“Well, a band seems a great idea. But I am not that well a guitarist guys. I can just play chords. Let’s jam and see how things turn.” He said.
We were surprised that he agreed so easily. And we were really impressed but the impression he gave us was short lived when he decided to turn and add,
“And by the way guys, call me Daddy. My friends call me so”, he winked.
We didn’t know how to react.
“Daddy? Seriously?” I thought but decided to stay mum or else he could change his plans.
“What do you think? Can he manage?” I asked Dg after ‘Daddy’ left.
Dg didn’t answer but gave me that same look which he gives me during exams. It meant, “No bloody CLUE!”
It took another three weeks for the three of us to prepare ourselves to jam with a trained guitarist.
My part of the journey into the world of rock was a little bit tricky though. Some friend of mine whom I had opted for a suggestion to try some rock bands as starters had some unknown hatred towards me. He didn’t tell me on my face but I guessed it when he suggested me to listen “Lamb of God”, “Marilyn Mansion”, “Slayer”, “Bullet for My Valentine” and similar likes to start.
As a sufi-fan and zero rock idea I ended up listening to Gothic death-metal bands. For nights I couldn’t sleep as the heavy music jammed my ears completely. It was after few days of ‘torture’, I took the help of my ever-friendly companion named “Google.”
Slowly I started with alternative rock starting from “Guns and Roses”, “Pink Floyd” slowly to punk rock with “Green Day “, “Dashboard Confessionals”, “Fallout Boy”. The world of rock suddenly seemed to be so thrilling, so soothing that I realised what I had missed all these years.
For weeks I tried singing trying to change the texture of the voice I had, which to some extent was possible. Then one day Dg calls me to inform that we would jam for the first time.
It was our first step. The first day at music room was pathetic.
Daddy started playing some famous Hindi songs which either I didn’t know or which Dg couldn’t manage in drums. And forget Deep. He was busy figuring out the notes on the Bass guitar with each chords Daddy strummed.
Finally, after repeated trials, we did “Adat” from “Jal”. It was Daddy’s favourite song and so was mine. Dg gave a normal four-by-four beat to save the day. And I couldn’t hear the bass even though Deep promised to have played throughout.
Two nights later, Dg called me.
“Dude, listen to the song ‘But It rained’ by Parikrama. Try getting the lyrics and the song. Next week we will try practising that.”
Next week when we met we had a song in our mind. And each one of us had prepared our parts.
The chord shifted well and so did the beats. In all, the cover of the song was nicely done. For the first time I felt, there was a side of mine not yet discovered.
And that night, we realised, we had that “different thing” inside us. What we needed was a pinch of luck and a tea-spoon of experience. The recipe for the dream band was ready!
That night the only question we had in our minds was, “What do we call ourselves? What could be the name of our band?”
to be continued….
(This is a semi-fictitious and more of an original account of a musical journey of four different souls who at some point in their lives dreamt to make it Big.
The result was Hoax Call, an alternative rock band which started well but could never end!)