Music is an incredible force which stays with you forever and creates an impression on you, over the various timelines of your life. Doesn’t matter if it’s a song that you once associated with your now forlorn lover, or a song that pulled you through your darkest times.
I can’t imagine a life without music for it has made me who I am today. Countless albums and tunes out of which some have broken me down and built me up again, into a fresh perspective and understanding. One such album has been Bruno Mars’ 3rd studio album titled 24k Magic.
People who know me know that I am a huge Bruno Mars fan, simply for the fact that Locked Out Of Heaven was my Eureka moment which helped me to steer myself towards developing my abilities. And then towards the end of 2016 came 24K Magic, with it’s blingy music video and some pumped up punchy beats. I was hooked instantly to the song. So much that while traveling i decided give the entire album a shot.
Was I disappointed? Heck Not! Those were the amazing 34 minutes of my life at that moment. To my untrained nascent ears this music struck a chord within me, especially cause of the groovy bass and drum lines which created a strong foundation for the other instruments to blend in. As a bass player my focus back then was just to pay attention to the bass and not really care about what else was going. The album for me became an instant favorite, though at that moment I didn’t really think it would grow on me to an extent that it would influence my growth heavily.
24k Magic is an album where we could see Bruno metamorphose into the artist that he is today, for his use of soundscapes not only brought the forgotten sound of 80s and 90s but also breathed a fresh air into modernity. What that did to me gradually, especially in 2021 was stir my curiosity and interest towards a new sound, the electronic sound of the synthesizers. And as I write this in the second month of 2022 I can proudly say that I have decided to take a plunge into this new world of Synths and I am enjoying the journey so far.
Thank You Bruno Mars, not once but twice for being the shaping force behind my music. First on my primary instrument ‘The Bass Guitar’ and now through 24k Magic for showing me the magic of synths. Bruno, I tip my hat to you!!!
Hello everyone, in my previous post i spoke about my love towards aviation, in this post i would like to introduce you to the world of Railfanning. Like aviation i used to be amazed by the locomotives and the trains during my travel to Kerala or in the Mumbai Suburbs. And again with internet i found a whole community of railfans(RF). Few among em were planespotters too!! Voila, i found the perfect people with whom i could enjoy my hobby.
Having been to railfanning sessions within the Mumbai Suburban section and during my journey across the country via train, i always wished to go to picturesque locations and click these heavy metal snakes. And then happened Shindavne.
A scenic hilly area on the outskirts of Pune, Shindavne falls on the Pune Miraj railway line. A trip to this location was RF Adil’s suggestion to which me and RF Tyrone agreed immediately. We originally decided to visit this place in April but eventually we rescheduled it to May and the date chosen was 21st May 2017. Our initial plan of action was to take the Pune Kolhapur passenger train and alight at Shindavne station. However the drawback of this was that our session would be limited to the station itself and we wouldn’t be able to access the hilly terrain. Also there were chances that this train could be delayed, thereby casting a doom to our plans. Thankfully Tyrone had researched about this place and with the guidance from senior RF Apurva sir we soon discovered that if we would undertake a road journey we could reach the hills easily and without much efforts.
Everything set, we hired a car and left Hadapsar at 8 30am. Driving along the Pune Solapur Highway, from Uruli we took a turn towards the Uruli Belsar Road and continued towards Shindavne village. The roads narrowed down from the four lane concrete road to single lane unpaved dust roads. The mammoth hills and the tall Shindavne Viaduct was visible from quite a distance, and our driver was equally thrilled and enthused as much as we were. We reached Shindavne village and with the help of the villagers we soon found ourselves inching closer and closer to the viaduct and the hills. After a point, we reached the base of the hill and all four of us jumped out of the car and were engrossed in observing the magnificent beauty surrounding us.
We guys were so lost in the surrounding that a lound honk of the train suddenly startled us. All three of us looked at each other in surprise and we scrambled to take our cameras out and aim ourselves towards the oncoming train which was on a higher ground. Turns out that train was the Karnataka Sampark Kranti heading towards Pune, running with a delay of around 90 minutes. Delighted at a beautiful catch we inaugrated our railfanning session. We three decided to trek up on the hills near the tracks from where we could get a vantage view of not only the viaduct and the tunnels but also the entire city of Pune. The trek was a fairly easy one and soon we found ourselves by the side of the tracks,a few hundred feet above the ground.
Despite being there in the peak of summer the weather was still pleasant, thanks to the continuous cool breeze soothing each senses of ours. Once we settled for a spot we patiently were awaiting the metal monsters. Moments later a honk reverberated the surrounding and we got into position. Me and Adil were standing on an elevation whereas Tyrone who was behind us positioned himself near the viaduct.
The snake emerged through the tunnel and we saw WDG4 twins leading a fully loaded freight towards Satara. Tyrone decided to do a Facebook live video. The video ended on a hilarious note as towards the end we could see an excited Adil running towards the viaduct in order to get more shots.
The WDG4 diesel class of locomotive is originally known as EMD GT46MAC, manufactured by the American firm General Motors Electro Motive Division. These locos entered service in the year 1999, the first few being imported in full form. There exists a passenger variant namely WDP4 series, also known as EMDGT46PAC which was imported in the year 2001. Since then these locos have undergone quite a few modifications to suit the local conditions. Some of the modifications have been aesthetic as well.
Half n hour later we were delighted to see a freight train again led by WDG4 twins. The delightful thing about this loco was that this was one of the original EMD locos which were imported and assembled in India. The train was inching closer and closer to us and we got ready for the clicks. The Assistant Loco Pilot delighted on seeing three railfans acknowledged our presence with a smile and a wave, and so did the guard in the end. Nothing can be more joyous for a railfan than a crew acknowledging their presence.
All eyes were on the Kolhapur passenger which should have crossed us by now but it was nowhere to be seen. Moments passed and then we saw the passenger, led by WDG3A series loco negotiating the curves up in the distance and heading towards us. The train was delayed by 90 minutes again. No sooner did it emerge out of the tunnel our hands instinctively pressed the shutter button and we captured some beautiful memories. This time the Loco Pilot acknowledged us with a honk and a wave. Wow, another memorable moment!
The WDG3A belongs to a class of locomotive known as the ALCO locomotives ( abbreviated for American Loco Company). These series are the mainstays of IR since the late 1960s. These locos were chosen to replace the ageing steam engines. The locos were originally known as ALCO DL560C. Like the EMD the initial Alcos were imported into India. Since then the locos have evolved with time and at present the latest tech w.r.t to Alco is the WDM3D and the WDG3 series loco. The Alcos are famous for their chugging and the furious smoking while accelerating. However the Alco locomotives pose a threat to extinction because of the cleaner and efficient EMDs as well as the electrification project undertaken by the railways.
Now with the reduced train movements not only did we engage in photoshoots but also we changed our locations, trekking upwards. From here on there weren’t much movements with the exception of two freight trains towards Satara. However, the valley offered us solace and we three were lost. Nothing spoken, as if each of us were talking to our inner self, soul nourished by this new experience.
As all good things come to an end, this too had to end. And soon we descended back to the base, and bid goodbye to the hills, but not before taking a group pic.
See you soon Shindavne, before the line doubling and the electrification kicks in, which would deface you with obstructing electric poles. Thank you for your beautiful aura which cannot be explained but only felt.
What do you do when you hear a roaring sound of jet engines flying above? Look above and get fascinated by the sheer size of the jet and forget it, or go gaga over it and find out more about the aircraft and the aviation industry. Most of the people fall in the first category, however there are a small number of us who are awestruck by these metal birds. This fascination often leads us to explore the world of aviation and everything related to it. I am one such person who is in love with these beautiful piece of technology right from my childhood. I am a Plane Spotter.
I spent first seven years of my childhood in Sakinaka, a place which lies in close proximity to the airport. The fuel of my passion in aviation was ignited by my dad, who used to show me the planes landing and taking off near our home. Also since he was working with a logistics firm he had access to the cargo terminal, I remember he used to take me in his scooter to a viewing gallery in the airport and from there I could watch the planes taking off. I never knew the names of the jets, the only one I remember was Boeing 747 Jumbo. The size of the jet itself left me awestruck.
“And in that young mind was etched a frame that lived with him”.
I used to come back home after such trips and my dad used to help me in drawing those jets, for that he specially bought drawing papers and various pictures of different aircrafts from his office. With this I came to know about the different airlines operating in Mumbai and around the world. My school also had a role in shaping up my curiosity for aviation. From my classroom window and the ground I could easily see the approaching aircrafts. My first distinct memory was the Korean Cargo coming to land. I always waited for the jumbo to arrive and the moment i spotted it my attention was fixed to it. I also had few posters of the classic planes which were with Air India and Indian Airlines back in the day. The L1011 Tristar, Lockheed Constellation, the DC3 etc. Alas i misplaced it. (only if i knew the importance back then)
At the age of 7 I shifted from Saki Naka to Mira road, this meant no more roar of the jets, however I still kept on drawing and identifying the aircrafts from the pictures I got. (Since there was no google in that age and computer was a luxury) This went on for a few years and the curiosity in me grew. I kept wondering what kept this metal birds flying. Here came Discovery and Nat Geo to my rescue. I keenly followed aviation documentaries shown on those channels, and during those days the sensation in the industry was the mega passenger jet Airbus A380. Damn, the prototype itself was amazing, and i was very much impressed by that aircraft. Also watching Air Crash Investigation gave me insights into the functioning of the civil jets. Meanwhile I got introduced to the fighter jets of IAF USAF and RAF. The most fascinating one being the Russian Sukhoi 30 and US made F 22 Raptor.
Then came the age of computers and internet (obviously in the stage of infancy unlike today) and on a trip to our family friend’s place I stumbled upon a pc game which featured the F 22. Thus I was introduced to a new genre of gaming “Flight Simulation”. With the power of internet I soon began researching about various aspects in aviation, and I always dreamt of flying one of these beauties.
And I still remember stubbornly asking my dad to get Microsoft Flight Simulator X at the age of 13 and ultimately he had to. And Oh, the joy I derived from it. Slowly I got acquainted with the flying procedures and the flight deck of various aircraft. Alas, the joy was short lived, my pc went dead and my parents were so pissed on me that they didn’t repair it for almost six years (my mistake :P) .
Those years my passion for aviation ebbed, I had a career in science which eventually took a toll on me and after four years of struggling and experimenting I finally dropped out of it and unleashed my creative streak. And with new beginnings and the power of social media, I stumbled across some famous aviation pages of India, and it dawned upon me that there is a huge community of plane spotters, right in the city of Mumbai, and there are locations from where one could watch these beauties, up close. KABOOM!!! Man! it feels so good to know that you are not alone in this so called weird hobby.
The inner child in me awoke and I was back to my old self, the world of aviation opened up to me in a new perspective. And I always wished to go to these locations and spot myself. Well, and then one day I hopped out of my place one early morning and set out for the spots, I had trouble locating the places but somehow I landed up at the right place, and Lo, the sight was such a spectacle. The whole Mumbai Airport lay in its vast expanse before me, the roars of those engines reverberated in my heart and yes, finally I felt like a child again, at the age of 22! the same joy which I experienced as a child. And from there I have befriended quite a few people from the plane spotting community, some who have been through the 80s and have seen the legendary classic birds which we unfortunately couldn’t see. It is so good to see that folks younger than me are more informative then i am, and their skills are on a different level than mine. At their age i was unaware that there exists a term called Plane Spotting. Internet has really opened up avenues i must say.
Some things in life are meant to last a lifetime, and for me my love for aviation will never wane. My friends and acquaintances may call me crazy, well i won’t deny that, but the joy which comes from watching these jets is something which can never be explained. And yes, flying a jet is one of my dream, which I want to accomplish. But right now it isn’t a priority since music is another passion which I want to make my career into. Till then, I will keep dreaming, I will keep doing whatever it takes to feed my inner child. Happy Flying Folks!!!!!! Spread your wings of passion under this expansive sky!!
All images are clicked by me except wherever mentioned.
Thank You Gaushal Gandhi for the Featured Image in the beginning of the blog.
Thank You Prashob Chandarn for the Etihad A380 Image.
If you want to check more of my aviation photos follow me on instagram
One of the perks of being a musician is that you can visit new places. And this year I am a bit lucky to have visited ten new cities in the past six months. Recently I went to this historic city of Lucknow which is also called as the Land of Nawabs or Constantinople of the East.
A two hour flight from Bombay and I landed in this never been before city. As excited as I was for my stay and the gig in the city, I was a lot more excited for my flight journey. Being an aviation enthusiast I always have a childlike first timer enthusiasm for the flights. After all, pilots have the best office in the world, and with a window seat you can experience the same. Can’t believe? Here I prove it.
After a delightful flight I stepped into the city, excited not only for the delicacies and the history which awaited me but also for my debut gig with this beautiful band ESHAN. A half n hour taxi ride from the airport my initial impression of the city shaped up. A common sight here is hordes of cows roaming around freely, some sitting and chilling in the middle of a highway!!! Also in this city people drive whichever way they like. Anyone ever heard of rear view mirrors? Nah, Lucknow folks haven’t. Some even have got it removed from their vehicles. I have vowed, never to drive in this city. Not my cup of tea. But this city despite the flaws is really beautiful. The locality I stay in is so peaceful throughout the day and night that I can spend hours gazing at the view which is being offered.
After settling down and getting fresh we went to our vocalist Eshan’s place. His family is very hospitable and we were greeted with piping hot glasses of lemon tea. No Starbucks or any other coffee shop can beat the lemon tea which Eshan’s mom makes. I am definitely gonna miss it when I head back home.
Everything done we went for a tour of the city, that too at night. It was a sight to see the Chota Imambara lit in all it’s glory. Since it was closed to visitors we could experience the place in peace and tranquility. Chota Imambara was built by Muhammad Ali Shah, the third Nawab of Avadh in the year 1838. It is a mausoleum where he and his mother are buried side by side. The building is also called as Palace of Lights because of the lights which adores the place during Muharram and other festivities. The chandeliers inside were brought from Belgium. The palace is intricately carved in verses from Quran.
By the time we left it was quite late so we headed back home to relish some Lucknowi platter all thanks to Eshan’s mom.
Second day after a heavy peaceful sleep we made our way to Lucknow’s famed Tunday Kababi. The place is famous for it’s Paratha and Kababs. So we ordered a few plate of it and ate. Second we ordered Chicken Korma and Paratha followed by Chicken Biryani. Alas, I couldn’t finish the entire thing because the place was stuffed and my body heated up so much that I had to gasp for fresh air. Happens at times.
My verdict about Tunday is that I found the food to be heavily salted, more than my liking. Also after eating the kababs and biryani prepared by aunty no one else could match her preparations. Not even Tunday. Hence, Aunty:1 Tunday:0. But if you ever come to Lucknow you should definitely visit Tunday.
After this we took a walk through the various lanes of Lucknow as my bandmates wanted to do some street shopping. Rest of the day wasn’t as eventful and we were lazing around.
Third day was the D day which I was looking forward to. It was my first gig with ESHAN ever and I was pretty excited and nervous about the same. We reached the venue and within hours we were done with our soundcheck. Now it was time to rock the stage. Our set list consisted of a mix of bollywood and original songs. Throughout the set we enthralled the audience with our wonderful arrangements of the songs as well as an energetic stage presence, syncing the entire band together. The band ended their set to the thundering applause from the folks present. Truly, a day to remember. Here are the glimpse of the madness which unfolded.
Picture Courtesy: Kati Patang Films.
At the end of the day I went home with a feeling of satisfaction of having give my best. Mistakes were made but everyone in the band handled it professionaly and hence the audience couldn’t get a whiff of the same. Also this show motivated us to strive for betterment and perfection. And such were the happenings of my first three days in the city of Lucknow. I will follow up with part 2 soon… Stay tuned.
Another year passes by and another number adds up. Last year somewhere around this time i started blogging, although i disappeared for quite a few months. Writer’s block and lethargy is really a bad cocktail!!
Well, i am 23 this year and i already feel like a grown up who is clueless and lost in his path. Choosing an offbeat track has it’s own challenges, especially in a society where you are expected to do a conventional living. And the pressure is real and heavy. It’s EVERYWHERE!!!!
But HEY!! My journey isn’t as bad as it seems. Time is a magician who can do wonders. Although i haven’t got a big breakthrough which everyone looks for, i am still at a better place than before. Burnt bridges were rebuilt again, became a better person than what i was before. Met some beautiful and humble folks who have motivated me. If not for the amazing people i had in my life, right from musicians who i look up to and i learn from to my close friends and family i would have had a tough time in this huge system that we all are in.
Some days i am brimming at my creative best; Man! i love those days! i have an energy which takes my skills to a higher level. And i wonder how the hell did i end up playing so beautifully. But just like the ‘sine wave’ i hit the bottom real hard and low. I hate such days!! Makes me feel dreary and like a madman who is fed up with the ways of the world. I get demotivated and everything around me gets so frustrating that i cannot even focus on my daily practice routine.
By now you reader must have guessed what’s my current state. Yeah i am at the bottom right now, i know i have to practice and make myself better but there is something which stops me. I have YouTube but i don’t know what i should listen to. I have things to do but all i want to do is nothing. Yeah! The only thing i am doing right now is ranting and whining about my life at 23 on WordPress.
Well, never mind. I would be over this soon and i will be back again to my world of music, just like i am in this picture. Signing Off! Peace!
Though I am a native of God’s own country; Kerala, i never had the chance to go for trips to explore my state and my Kerala visit was limited just to my hometown and my relatives.
Bored with the monotony of my native place this year I planned a trip wherein I could explore the unexplored areas before and also be there in my hometown for our onam celebration. The first onam celebration in Kerala.
Everything planned, I departed Mumbai on 17th August and reached Kochi two hours later. My first flight ever and being an aviation enthusiast I was quite thrilled by the journey.
The 1.5 hours journey was very memorable. What made my day more special was on landing at Kochi International Airport, in the bay next to us was the Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 777 which was preparing for departure. That huge jet is one of my favorite and the sheer size dwarfed me. The shutterbug in me soon set in action clicking shots until the bus came to drop us to the arrival lounge.
I had coordinated with our family friend who picked me up from the airport and drove to his place. The feeling I had was something beyond words, I was relieved, leaving behind the madness and braced myself for the adventures that were soon to come. Uncle guided me about the local area and how to get to the places I wanted to. My evening was spent in familiarizing myself with the local area. I had my plans for day two.
I planned to go to Marine Drive and spend my time there. I left my home at 10am in the morning and after an hour of bus ride I got off at the High Court junction as I was advised. A little ahead and I was at the place where I wanted to be. Excited and nervous I stepped in and soaked myself in the calmness of the waters, all I could hear was the cries of the water birds and the occasional horns of the ships entering the harbour. A stroll down the promenade I saw a gang of boys strumming guitar, a conversation followed up and revealed that they just set their feet towards music, particularly towards metal music.
Now from here I would let my clicks do all the talking. Brace yourself to a visual delight of Kochi.
At equal distance exist such beautifully designed walkway bridges.
After spending some time here I was fatigued by the humidity and sweltering heat, I walked out and refreshed myself with a chilled lemonade. A little ahead I walked along the main road parallel to the promenade and again entered the promenade, this time at the place from where one could enjoy a view of the harbour by a boat ride. I enquired about the ride and the person took me to a boat which was about to leave. Grabbing a seat I could see the entire Kochi Harbour and the city. The one hour ride was worth every penny paid.
The boat ride was an experience in itself and after an hour I was back to the shores. Hungry I walked to grab some decent food and after a bit of scouring I ended up in a Chinese joint since I didn’t want to trade a chance with my stomach and spoil my holidays. Once I calmed my hunger pangs I returned to my onward journey home and this was the final image of the port of Kochi which I took from the last seat of the bus.
An hour later I reached home and the sun embarked on its wayward journey to the otherside of the world, bidding goodbye with a fireglow hue in the sky.
There couldn’t be any better way to call this a day for nature never ceased to surprise me.
Twenty two revolutions round the sun and still I am taking baby steps towards my dreams.
In this city, home to countless dreams and aspiration, I wander across uncharted territories;
Out to make a mark in this world.
Born in a suburban town of Kerala and brought up in aamchi Mumbai, I discovered the various nuances of this city which is very close to my heart thereby bringing me closer to my own inner self. From the late night drive in the woods of Aarey to the immersive magical serenity of the waves at Marine Drive; this city gave me solace in its myriad shades.
Transitioning from an institute which just presented a world of Black and White to an institute which allowed me to explore the Grey world was a turning point altogether in my life. From there, there was no looking back and I was on my own like a bird who spread its wings for the first time. Soon I started drifting in the flow and enjoyed in all ways, experimenting.
However, life keeps going tough and I took time to realise it. A city with a chaos, a chaos which reverberates often in my head, pulls me down and makes me feel like giving up on the very things that I wanted. But I am determined not to give up, and I realise that everything I go through has a reason, a reason to mould my individuality through experiences, a reason to experiment and learn through my decisions, a reason to endure and carry on with the a resilient spirit, for I know somewhere in time I am meant to be there at the top. The day I make my dreams come true would be the day that I know I made it despite the hardships I faced. As it is rightly said “A calm sea never made the most skilful sailor.”
Here I am staring at the vast expanses before me and preparing myself to face the eventualities that are coming through. For life always moves on and on…