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October 5th 2014 will remain a special night. It'll be remembered for a long long time. And here's why.

For people that know me, or even people who've read my blog, know how big a fan of motherjane I've been. It's hard to put to words the significance that they have on my life. I wouldn't be doing any of the things that I'm currently doing in the music industry if it weren't for them. Hell, I wouldn't even be listening to other Indian bands if it weren't for them. I've walked around proud for the last few years with nearly everyone forgetting what my real last name was and simply calling me "Hari Amajaniac" instead.

I'm fortunate enough to have worked in this industry now for three years, in whatever capacity. But my real journey into music started seven years back, with motherjane. I've been truly blessed to have caught 50+ gigs of the band(with the Maktub lineup). And trust me, when I say I'm truly blessed I do realize the weight of those words. And maybe, over the course of this blog I'll be able to explain why.

I've been able to spend a lot of special moments with them. Birthdays, surprises, big ass college festivals, meeting Opeth in their green rooms because of them, and a whole lot of other stuff. But when they went on stage, I never lingered by the side of the stage. I would paint my face. Ten minutes before they went on, I would always make it a point to run right to the front, from the other side. Touch the barricade. Hold any fan who was right next to me and start screaming along with them.


And then the smoke fills the stage, the intro music goes on, and with half painted faces, a few Gods step onto stage for us mere mortals to watch in awe. And Bang, Disillusioned would ring through the PA. The crowd would go wild. We would shout at the top of our lungs and completely lose ourselves for about ninety minutes. This was almost a ritual for me. Almost twice or thrice a month I got to perform this ritual, thanks to how incredibly popular they were. They were at the top. Easily, one of the best Indian bands there has ever been, to be politically correct. But to me, they were THE band. No other band mattered as much to me, Indian or International. And most likely, no other band ever will. 

And then, soon after I caught their acoustic show for the first time ever, Baiju departed from the band. The reasons didn't matter. But I knew it was the beginning of the end of something truly magical. I remember that I was helpless on the day that I heard the news, frantically calling everyone in the band, except Baiju, because I didn't know what I would say to him. I called every fan I knew and asked them to send me letters pleading with Baiju and the band to get back together and uploaded them all(http://amajaniac.tumblr.com/). Of course, it didn't really help. But I was helpless. It honestly felt like I had lost an uncle. A guiding light, if you will. But there wasn't anything that could be said or done to undo what had already been done. I was in mourning. There is no other way to put it. 

The band and Baiju moved on, and I still chose to stand by them. I still traveled for shows and even caught Baiju live with Wrenz, at what I think was the only live gig was their only gig with Baiju. It failed to evoke that same emotion, but I still stood by him. 

Soon, Suraj left too. Citing health reasons. He was back a year later, in his all new avatar as the Tattva Tripper. I was lucky enough to get a job as the tour manager for both, The Baiju Dharmajan Syndicate and Suraj Mani and the Tattva Trippers. I even mixed for the two, on two consecutive days and I remember feeling extremely nervous before the gig, but they both turned out pretty alright nonetheless. 

Everyone moved on. Except the fans, There were always a lot of fans that came to Baiju, during his gigs or workshops and asked about motherjane. The possibility of getting back. Interviews had questions about the same. It was just not quite the same seeing another band perform the same songs, whether the name of the band was motherjane India, or Suraj Mani and the Tattva Trippers or Baiju Dharmajan Syndicate. But, as fans, the least you can do is to stand by the artists, and that is what a lot of us did. Thankfully, my work allowed me to do that a little better and I immersed myself in it, trying hard not to think about the years gone by and everything. 

We got to do some kickass work, made a few excellent collaborations happen, helped Baiju play at huge festivals and at great colleges, and so on. Let the axeman run wild through the country. And it was quite something to watch. 

But as a fan, there was one collaboration that I really wanted to see happen again. It was a collaboration I was quite skeptical about, but it was something that the little janiac in me was dying to see. I wanted to see all these musicians on stage once again. But I always thought that it wouldn't be quite the same. That the spark wouldn't quite be there. 

October 3rd, I got word that Suraj and Baiju have mutually agreed to get on stage together at Sound Awake's Free Wheel Rolling 2. It was an exciting prospect to say the least and I couldn't quite wait for the show. 

Five bands played and then All The Fat Children went on, and there was suddenly a visual in my head, that I had to share. I went to Suraj and said, "Chetta, this reminds me of Autumn Muse, when ATFC opened for you. What a mad show that was. You guys killed it that night." and he played it down and just said, "Yeah, good times". I was quite bummed that he didn't share my excitement but then again, he had his own set to worry about and everything and I let it go. 

Suraj went up on stage next for his set. A peaceful acoustic singer/songwriter set, which is a perfect set for a man like Suraj, in his new avatar. I remember just two things during that set. One was going over to Baiju, embracing him, as I do before each show of his, and saying, "Chetta, I'm just glad I got to be here when this happened". And the second, was when Suraj asked the crowd for requests and some one screamed Broken and he simply said, "I have a feeling you'll hear that tonight". I was giggling and clapping like a little kid, just visualizing what was about to unfold. 

And then, came the Syndicate. And they played an incredibly tight set, and after a few songs in, Baiju signaled me on. I got up on stage, took the mic from Siby, the vocalist, and was quite literally trembling. I had done these introductions before. But none of them meant quite as much to me as this one did. I composed myself and was able to get through announcing Baiju's new crowd funding project for his latest music video, which you guys have hopefully contributed to (http://www.wishberry.in/campaign/kaithola). But as soon as I was through that, and as soon as the magnitude of what was about to happen hit me, I lost my composure. Professionalism flew out the door and I was screaming at the top of my lungs as I announced that "It is my immense fucking pleasure to call this man on stage. Give it up for SUUUUURAJ MANIIIIIIIII". I couldn't help but stick around stage long enough to tell the two how much it meant to me and embrace them together. "My favourite vocalist and my favourite guitarist on the stage together again. Over 2.5 years I've waited for this to happen. I think I just might cry tonight", I could hear myself say.

Broken was the first on the list, and I wasn't surprised when the crowd was louder than the band. Every word was echoing through the small venue and I remember feeling that exact same emotion that I felt five or six years back when these guys rocked the stage. I was overjoyed not just by the fact that these guys were back on stage again, but that I was able to share it with some of the biggest motherjane fans around, Munz and Ganesh from Down Troddence, Akhil from Heretic, Sangeeth, the organiser, Sachin, one of motherjanes yesteryear managers, and Dhruva, one of my closest friends from school. We went absolutely nuts. Headbanging. Screaming at the top of our lungs. I couldn't believe that this was really happening. I had missed this energy. I had missed this madness. 

They went on to sing Mindstreet and Chasing the Sun too. And Suraj made an extremely kind gesture of asking Siby, Baiju's vocalist, to join him on stage for Chasing the Sun. I remember embracing Suraj one last time on stage. And Suraj and Baiju did the same. That feeling of seeing those two long-lost brothers embrace again, will remain in our hearts for a long time. I remember walking away as soon as Chasing the Sun was done, with Sachin and Sangeeth. And just holding on to Sangeeth and crying my heart out. And I was inconsolable. Not many would understand, but I'm glad these people did. That feeling. I've been asked plenty of times, why motherjane means that much to me. And even how I am so deeply affected by the departure of just a band member. But to us, motherjane means a whole lot more. To bands like the Down Troddence and Heretic, they were the ones who led the way and paved a path for the incredible talent in Kerala. To me, they were the ones who showed me how much I really loved music. They were the ones that made me want to live my life, going from gig to gig helping artist after artist. 

Tears refused to stop flowing. It was an emotional day for us all. Suraj and Baiju were thoroughly professional about it, but didn't mind indulging me whenever I needed some comfort from either. Somewhere in between, Sachin just said that "The worst thing about everything is that good things have to come to an end". And I knew then that the night had ended for us. But it was a feeling that I didn't want to let go.

But looking back, it was easily one of the best night I've had in a long time. I can't thank Baiju and Suraj enough for making it happen. And who knows, one day maybe I'll get to see all my idols on stage again. 



About this blog

A true Janiac to the core, this is my opinion on the beauty that surround all of us :)

A Janiac, initially was defined as fan of the Indian Rock Band MOTHERJANE. But this word, for me, can be used to describe a man that listens to his heart and is filled with passion. I describe myself as one such Janiac!


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