“Where the hell is this guy? Is he alright?” asked a worried Dg
“Why don’t you call Demon and check,” I suggested.
Sam was Demon’s good friend and he might be with him outside college. So, Demon was called. After five full ring calls, Demon picked up the call.
And what he said really made us worry.
Apparently, Rumi had gone back to her ex over a fight with Sam. This had left Sam devastated. He had borrowed Demon’s bike and was missing.
“I always knew, she wasn’t the one for him. He deserves better.” Shouted an angry Dg.
Though we all were angry on the girl for cheating our friend, but the sense of emergency was still more than the anger.
“What is wrong with the guy? What the hell is he up to?” I asked, really worried.
That night we called all contacts and searched frantically for him but in vain.
His phone was still switched off.
We all were at Demon’s place trying to handle the situation and finding the broken heart soon.It was the next day morning when we were seriously thinking of an FIR, Dg gets a call.
What I figured out of the conversation was something like this.
“Where the hell are you?” yelled Dg
And then there were a series of “Hmm”s and “I understand” and even “this is not the end”.
After talking for about 3 minutes, Dg ended the call.
We all were curiously looking at him to say something. But he was quiet.
“For God’s sake will you please let us know?” asked Demon.
Dg still took his time, lit up a cigarette and broke the ice.
“Let’s go to Jamsawli”.
“What?” we asked in unison.
Jamsawli was a place in Madhya Pradesh, some 70 kms from Nagpur.
Apparently, Sam out of frustration rode all the way to Jamsawli and forgot to get fuel for the bike. So, on his way back he is stuck somewhere where he managed to charge his phone and call back.Finally, after much difficulty, Sam was located and brought back
And then it was a season of getting stoned.We started smoking up seriously.For 15 days we smoked up, day and night.
Sam got a new excuse.
“I can write well when stoned”, he used to say.
But we knew it was crap. He was just escaping the situation.
Rumi came back and apologized for her behavior. But Sam didn’t forgive. We were happy because we felt that was right.
So another semester ended in month. The rosy romantic days came to an abrupt end for Sam. But the solace in writing a song was missing for him.
He was still going through the “writer’s block”.
We chucked “Keep Smoking” and created a song named “Don’t think I am insane.”
The lyrics were gibberish and were funny. So we created the song in punk rock progression. The song turned out to be good although.
Sam however was slowly lost in his life. He still could not accept the infidelity. He would stay high half the time and was still in search of that “song” which would satisfy him.
The summer vacations were to begin. All of us were ready to go back home. We were sitting at the “tapri’ smoking, when Sam appears all excited from somewhere.
“Guys, I am going to ‘Shantiniketan’ this summer. It’s the Tagore festival. Anyone in?” He asked excited.
“Shantiniketan” is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, approximately 180 kilometres north of Kolkata .It was made by the famous Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who created a University with classrooms in open air under trees. Shantiniketan is a place where you find peace and is equally enriching in cultural aspects. It is perhaps the most developed cultural hub in any University in the country. This time of the year, there is however a huge festival; 8th of May marks the birth anniversary of the poet Tagore. It is a different sense of euphoria out there. People gather to celebrate his works.
Sam, I don’t know why decided to go and witness this cultural fair. May be he thought he might get some ideas, or maybe he thought he would find peace. Whatever was the reason, we four decided to join in for a 3 day trip to the abode of peace ‘Shantiniketan”.
The Shantiniketan Phase.
The Band reached Shantiniketan not expecting much. They had a booking in a small lodge near the institute. Though Deep, Dg and Sam enjoyed the vibe, Daddy was a bit bored because he was the only non-bengali in the group. It’s a government holiday on the birth anniversary of Tagore. So families and many such working class people opted for a break utilizing the off and the weekend to the festival. The result however was not that great, especially for Sam.
“It’s too crowded. Damn” said an irritated Sam.
“What did you expect then? You and a bunch of intellectual musicians around?” replied Dg
“No. But what is the point. The rawness of this place especially the peace is affected by these city people. Disgusting” Sam said.
“Oh, which village are you from then?” joked Daddy.
It was an open amphitheater where stalwarts from Bengal as well as Bangladesh performed for Tagore.People sang, danced on his songs, recited his poems and even enacted his plays.
“Man, this guy wrote a hell lot of things. He was a genius’; Deep said realizing the quality and quantity of the poet’s works.
The entire day the four sat going through a different level of music session which had soul and not metal in it.
By the time, it was night, four of them started looking around the place, explore rather. The sound from the open stage echoed the skies. The whole atmosphere was peaceful with a calm breeze blowing from the trees.
It was around ten in the night, when the band decided to go for dinner but there was a problem. Sam was missing.
“Why is it always the same guy?” Daddy was irritated.
After searching for a while, Sam was found.He was sitting with his guitar with a bunch of ‘baul’ folks.
Bauls are a group of saints like ‘Fakirs’ in Bengal. They are marked by their traditional saffron clothing and an “Ektara”, a single stringed musical instrument. They are a religious group of saints primarily Vaisnavs and have a traditional folk genre of music. These songs are generally in the praise of the lord, and has a lot of impact both in lyrics and music. It is said even, Tagore was inspired from their music.
Sam was however sitting with them around a fire. One of them was singing in the praise of ‘Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’, the saint who preached Vaishanvism in Bengal, Bihar, Odisha in the 16th century.
There was a chillum lit. And the chillum was passed in the circle.Sam was smoking up with them.
Dg went and intervened.
“Sam what is wrong with you?” asked Dg.
Sam was however startled as he was disturbed suddenly. The baul stopped singing on the intervention.
“Oh you guys? Can you guys sit with us for some time?” asked Sam.
Then he introduced his band to the bauls.
The bauls though looked nomads were however very happy to welcome them in the bon- fire.
One of them said, “You guys are so young and it is nice to see the passion for music in you”. Then pointing to Sam he continued, “If peace is what you are searching, then my friend, you have to search it inside yourself. No place can be peaceful than your inner self”.
He was Nayandas Baul, the most elderly in the group. Looking at him, you can sense a different sense of spirituality. His eyes looked satisfied and happy when he sang. Although, he appeared to be in his mid 50s, he looked strong. The power of his voice penetrated deep inside the soul. And with the weed acting in the background, the process was even faster.
Daddy didn’t like the idea of sitting and smoking up with some random singing sanyasis. But then it was all about the experience. And he decided to give it a try.
Sam passed the guitar to Daddy to play along Nayandas Baul. The four of them sat with the three bauls experiencing a different level of folk music all night, talking and singing life.
Nayandas even tried singing a Bengali song Sam had composed back in his school with him. They spent the entire night jamming, listening more to the Sanyasis trying to grasp the meaning of their music.
Early morning, the saints had to go. They had to go to a nearby village to gather alms and preach through their music. Nayandas, however had developed affection for the band. He never had the opportunity to meet people who were so passionate about music at such a young age. He was even more amused when he knew how the band was formed.
Before he left, he told Sam, “When things go wrong in life, search for the music in you. If you hear it, the lord is alive in you. If you don’t, it’s time to praise him back. I will pray to god that all of you get what you came searching for. “
A musical night out in open sky had left everyone tired. The band rested the entire day.
Dg had recorded few of the baul songs that night while jamming with them.
Sam was listening to them. They still had another day to spend there in Shantiniketan. But Sam suddenly, decided to call off the trip and go back.
As it was anyways his plan and he decided to return ,everyone was more than happy to go home and enjoy the vacation.
The only thing Sam said in the entire journey back was, “How would a Baul rock sound?”
It seemed, he got what he was searching for.
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 dreamed to make it Big.
The result was Hoax Call, an alternative rock band which started well but could never end!