Lucknow Diaries Part 1

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.

Takeoff from Mumbai
Cruising at 37,000 feet above the earth
The rain-soaked earth gleaming from the sun’s reflection
On final approach to Lucknow

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.

The evening sun welcomed me with this beautiful view

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. 

Imambara as seen from the entrance
Naubat Khana (ceremonial gate)
Close shot of the Imambara
Calligraphic verses
Tomb of Princess Zinat Algiya, Taj Mahal Replica.
The bronze fish is an anemometer (instrument to show the direction of the wind)

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.

Outing at Tunday

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.

Pre Gig Selfie

(L-R) Fardeen, Eshan, Ashwin, Nikhil, Siddhesh, Navneet

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.

Meanwhile you can follow ESHAN on

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