Weekender in Pune

This last weekend, a bunch of us decided to make a holiday out of the music festival very popularly known around here as the NH7 Weekender. A great lineup of musicians and the wonderful weather of Pune in tow, we set out to make the most of the 3 day festival. This weekend was anything but non-eventful! Not for the music but for all the goof ups that happened around it, this can be easily termed as my series of serious unfortunate events. Many hiccups later, we found ourselves on the festival grounds and boy was I in for a surprise! As Nirmika Singh of Festival Sherpa, rightly puts it
“… you couldn’t have missed noticing how the majority of attendees have suddenly got younger. Laxmi Lawns this year was filled with compulsive selfie-clicking, shorty shorts-wearing high-school girls and their cigarette-smoking, peck-planting, shoulder-surf-offering boyfriends…”

The festival did nothing but make me feel old and degenerated. While I clamoured around to find my fit of people, 16-somethings happily bumped into me spilling more than just love. Complaining aside, between hopping stages, guzzling rum and hogging on German sausages, I did manage to listen to some really great music. Saturday was dedicated to a bit of Soul Clap, Raghu Dixit in the afternoon. By evening, we were set for Mark Ronson, who I believe was keeping Indian times since he was more than an hour late for the show! A fun set and a few sing-alongs later, we pushed our way into Nucleya’s gig. Now, Nucleya aka Udyan, I’ve been a fan of since my college days. Way before he was Nucleya, he was the other half of Bandish Project who I enjoyed listening to. His Saturday sets at Kitty Su in Delhi had only reinforced my faith in his brand of music. And I have to say, of all the shows I saw at this festival his was the most flamboyant. In terms of production, visuals and of course the music. Albeit, the average age of his listeners have gone down but his music still never fails to entertain me. I found myself acting quite like the 16 year old next to me (perhaps on acid) when he blasted ‘Jungle Raja’.

Rehman at nh7

Sunday turned out to be a chill day in more ways than one. All of us, as a bunch decided to make the most of Pune’s famed breweries and found ourselves at the Independence Brewing Company near Koregaon Park. One too many Belgian Witbier (and a bunch of Jager Bombs and Vodka-chillies) later we stumbled into the festival venue with a vengeance! Having missed Raghav Sachchar by then, we waited for Swarathma to get on stage. A bit of walking around to shake off the drunkenness, we positioned ourselves for the highlight of the evening – A. R. Rehman! He is a legend, yes. He is an extraordinary musician, yes. Showman, he is not! Musically the show was brilliant but a bit lacklustre when it came to leaving the audience wanting more. While I waited for him to belt out his most famous numbers, he only occasionally pranced around the stage in what could be called a ill fitting disco ball. Major hate towards the irritating camera man who hogged more limelight than Rehman did himself! I wasn’t there to see you cover Rehman with your fancy equipment, I had paid money to see the man in flesh, singing, playing the piano and doing what he does best.

Since the folks at OML had been cheeky enough to have Flying Lotus play simultaneously, we made our way out of the crowd, only to have “Why would you leave Rehman and leave?” thrown our way. Well, excuse me while I get refills and some fresh air!

Quite the interesting weekend, this. A celebration of music and a consolidation of our brotherhood thanks to some misplaced bookings and utter lack of customer service by Agoda. Big ups to Uber for sorting us out on our never ending trip thanks to network jammers at the venue. Such an irony, OLA gave out voucher codes but forgot to mention to us that neither network nor cars were going to be available for us to redeem those coupons. The only people coming out rich were the auto-rickshaw guys with their exorbitant muh-boli-fares. Touche!

 

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