City of Joy

My first ever trip to the city of Kolkata was bound to be one tightly coupled with music, given that the city is known for its culture rich in cinema, art, and music. I have so many friends from the land of Bengalis but never got a chance to visit the place. 

Earlier this year, I was browsing through the lineup of NH7 Weekender, Pune and discovered that Joe Satriani was coming down. Instantly, I booked my passes; cos who would miss that? 

Just the next day, I learnt that Poets of the Fall and Switchfoot were gonna be headlining the NH7 Weekender at Shillong. Bamm! Now, I wanted to go for both the gigs. But I knew I could only make it to one of them (time and monetary constraints). Also, travelling to Shillong was going to be a tedious and expensive affair, so I convinced myself that it’s only going to be Pune this time around. 
Skip to a week later, it was announced that both the bands were going to be headlining the NH7 Weekender Xpress at Kolkata. And I thought to myself, wow, now there’s a chance cos travelling to Kolkata was no big a deal. I was excited beyond words.

I convinced my dear friend CreativeGenious to tag along with me. And the sweet human that she is, she readily agreed. She also ensured she listened to both the bands before she came for the gig. In her words, she absolutely loved the music and she later thanked me for introducing them to her. Yayy win! 

We took an early morning flight and landed in Kolkata around 9 am. We stayed at AltAir Hotel. It was a comfortable stay and was also pretty close to the concert venue. For lunch, we walked down to a quaint little Dhaba round the corner and savoured some yummy butter chicken. We got back to the Hotel and napped a bit. We later took a cab to the venue, Nicco Park, only to realise it was, in fact, walking distance from where we were staying.

An Alternative/Indie band named Tiny Fingers was on stage while we got there and their music was quite impressive. We walked through the crowds and made our way closer to the stage. Since this was the Express edition there was just one stage. The clock struck 8, the POETS banner came down and the crowd couldn’t handle their excitement. That was the start of two hours of non-stop music, as the Finnish Poets serenaded us with some of their best hits. Their trip to India was part of the #Ultraviolet Tour named after their latest album and they rendered some of their new EPs. Cradled in Love and Gravity were the most asked numbers. I got back to a lot of messages asking me if they played ‘Carnival of Rust’, and how could they not? It was their closing number. So Poets of the Fall – Check.

It was my birthday the next day, 4th of November. I was up until 12 am, cuzzz, so many calls y’all! Kidding. I answered a couple of calls from family and close friends and hit the bed. We decided to hop around the city the next day. So after our mandatory cup of chai, we took a cab and headed straight to Prinsep Ghat. Watching fleets of yellow Ambassador taxis sort of amused us. We later headed to Esplanade to do some window shopping and actual shopping if something interested us. We spotted some really lovely shantiniketan leather bags and picked up a bunch of them for ourselves and our friends. We then had our share of authentic bengali food (thali with rice and fish curry). The icing on the cake was the Chai in a Kulhad. It was undoubtedly one of the best chais I have ever had. By now you must know I am such a chai lover.

In the evening, we decided to walk to the concert venue. It was going to be Switchfoot tonight. I have been a fan of this band from times immemorial and what better gift to give yourself on your birthday.
Pentagram, one of the pioneers of Indian independent music (with Vishal Dadlani), was on stage belting some of their biggest hits. The crowd knew exactly what they were in for – A night dedicated to rock music and it couldn’t get any better. They knew their music and enjoyed it to the core. Lots of headbanging coupled with singing along, IN TUNE! Honestly, I haven’t seen this in Hyderabad.

Cut to Swichfoot – they hit the stage with one of my all-time favourite songs – STARS. I remember we used this song as a background track to one of our video productions back in 2009. Wow! 9 years later, I was watching them LIVE. And was it surreal or what? Their frontman Jon Foreman is such an artist. He absolutely has the nack of engaging with the crowd. He jumped into the crowd a couple of times and the young guns carried him through. Ah! The energy of the place was infectious. All of my favourite songs made it to the setlist that night. Of course it included ‘Dare you to Move’.

Outfits

I traveled in the most comfortable clothes to Kolkata – a flow-y tunic, tights, and sneakers. For the first day, I teamed a plaid shirt in olive green with high waist denim and ankle boots! The shirt has some intricate embroidery going on on the back, but I couldn’t get a picture of it. Will put it up on Instagram.
The next day, I wore this ever so lovely dress from Kharakapas. I chose to wear the same boots to add a little edge to the otherwise elegant piece of clothing.

Outfit Details:

That was my trip to Kolkata.

Love,
Rad All Day.

Ola Singapore

Throwing back to 2015 travels!

Wrote this after my trip to Singapore in 2015. Honestly, I was very skeptical about starting a blog. I always wondered if I was good enough. Would anyone read the stuff I write? Would anyone resonate with my experiences and words? Oh, the doubts were many.

But I finally took a leap of faith and started this blog and made it public. I started a blog in 2014  and it was called IdleMinds. I wrote this travel story on that blog. Sharing it here cos, why not?

Time’s got wings, yeah? Seems like we were exchanging new year wishes just a few weeks ago, but well it’s already April. I have mostly been working five days a week and whiling away time over the weekends like any other 20 somethings would do.

Exactly a month ago I was busy getting my stuff together, gearing up for a massive office party and of course my much awaited trip to Singapore. My first ever trip out of India.

The Journey

About four and a half hours after I boarded the flight from Hyderabad, the digital clock on my phone skipped two and a half hours ahead by itself. We were there – Singapore. The Sun was almost up, but since we were travelling East, I couldn’t really catch a glimpse of its enormous beauty. Also, a bed of clouds were hanging so low, while we were in flight still above them. I kept looking down, to spot some land, cos I had almost forgotten the water, the ocean. I could see something moving like tiny beetles. While I was still staring, I saw them, the massive waters, crowded with operational vessels. It was a beautiful sight indeed with numerous islands scattered here and there. In no time, we landed. Singapore. Gorgeous, is an understatement to describe the airport.

The Place

Terminal 2. My friend came to receive me at the Airport. We took a cab and headed to Clementi Ave 5. Zooming past tall buildings, like really tall ones, my friend narrated to me the Public Housing in Singapore model. More than 80% of the residential housing developments are publicly governed and developed. The housing estate that we were staying at was a self-sufficient one with access to daily needs and luxuries alike. A school, a 24/7 Supermarket, numerous hawker centers with amazing food, a basketball court that doubled as a late night chilling spot for many. At the back of my mind, I was thinking about India, mostly Hyderabad. My knowledge over housing policy in India is probably zilch. But, I gave my mind to it and the only thing I could think of was if ‘Right to Shelter’ was taken a tad bit more seriously, then any other fundamental right would seem like a luxury.

The South-East-Asian City State is an incredible blend of Western and Asian culture. The gleaming skyscrapers, Chinese shop-houses, Malay mosques, Hindu temples, numerous interesting architectural masterpieces, endless chains of plush shopping malls, Little India, those 24/7 food outs – with all of these Singapore is unbelievably attractive.  Also, it is a safe city, even petty theft is quite uncommon in this city-state. This city has been around only for fifty years, defying all odds it has manged to be the most outstanding cities in the world. Word!

Places to visit – Marina Bay Sands – the beautiful skyline of the Financial District overlooking the waters is enthralling. Orchard Road, this street is a home for numerous shopping malls that house luxury brands including Prada, Gucci Versace, and Zara. Clarke-Quay, a scenic riverside quay has a lot to offer from food, music, boat-ride et al.  It’s an ideal place to spend a cozy evening. Sentosa – an island resort with a sheltered beach, golf courses, multiple hotels and of course Universal Studios.

All in all, this so called ‘fine’ city where nothing usually goes wrong stands up for its reputation. Being a Hyderabadi, I was really mesmerized by the calm, serene and overly systematic way of life. But somewhere down the lane, I knew I would miss the chaos. However, it is safe to say that I have definitely left a piece of my heart back there.

Love,

Rad All Day.