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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Dreaming Reality

Waking up in the middle of the night,

the dream is gone with the wind!!!

Looking out through the window frame,

the world has stopped in my eyes.

The flickering flame of the candle light

makes my shadow larger than life..

(The stones slip away as my feet touches the ground,

As i lay wide awake, among the stars,

her visions are the only sight)

I feel your presence everywhere

but i just can’t get to you.

I hear your voices in my head

but i just can’t talk to you.

Numbed down by the illusions

Paranoia reigns over me!!

Staring at the horizon

the stars seem to burn away.

Time drifts us apart, leaving us no option

apart from living with the memories we left behind!

(Nobody knows the way I am treading through;

The sorrow in my rage blinds me away.)

I feel your presence everywhere

but i just cant get to you.

I hear your voices in my head

but i just can’t talk to you.

Numbed down by the illusions

Paranoia reigns over me!!

How do i resist

the urge that’s ruining me?

Will you hold me in your comfort & guide me through?

Taking me over into a new beginning!!!!!!!!!!

You

An emotional tumult inside my head,

everything upside down, everything disintegrating into chaos.

Where every path lead to a dead end, failure staring me right into my eyes.

 

What are we fighting for?

is this worth a fight!!

In a state of despair, i find myself hurt!!

Broken down, hated upon

Oh, this is not what i have asked for.

 

I need your love, the tender love

which comforts me from the dreary reality.

I want your faith, the faith

which could move the mightiest mountains.

All I ever asked from you was to stand by me!!

 

But where are have you bought us now?

Stuck in the past!!

whereas i made peace within itself.

How hard is it for you?

Haven’t I pushed you,

but have you tried, did you move?

 

I have never been perfect,

i have had my shares of mistakes.

But never did my love for you ebb.

So why do i deserve this hate?

Why am i loathed and despised?

Can’t you see through my shade,

can’t you unravel the threads that lie within me.

Can’t you?

 

I have got no strength in me, to fight a battle which was long lost,

It is up to you to end this.

Will you??

Hello world!

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…

.. Nikhil Nair