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Magix 'n' Curses
..the argument continues

Friday, February 25, 2005

Koffee with Rahman


Warning : This post gave me absolutely no scope for exaggeration. Don't blame me if it sounds boring! :D

No other artist has inspired/influenced me to the extent AR Rahman has.


I was hooked right from the time I heard Roja as a 7 year old. And to date, my respect (that sort of hovers around devotion!) for him hasn't wavered a bit. His music has literally carried me through some pretty depressing times, but let's not delve on that, shall we? I'd rather say the line that has made many a face turn instantly green with envy, immediately followed by a you're-kiddin'-me! look with a tiny li'l pause and a hopeful stare. Besides, I love saying it with a hint of dramatic flair lowering my voice to a whisper! :)

I had coffee with AR Rahman.

And if you're through with the envy, you're-kiddin-me, the pause and the stare, I'll continue! :P

This was mid-2002. The time when Rahman's work slowed down to an all-time low coz he was so caught up with Bombay Dreams. This was also the time when my Rahmania was at an all-time high, in spite of his rather prolonged absense from the cine scene and a not so trivial factor that was my 12th boards!

Bombay Dreams, the album, was releasing at last. My classmate in school- Suresh, and I literally competed to see who bought a new Rahman cassette/CD before the other. This time, it seemed like Suresh was going to get his hands on Bombay Dreams first. I had a test scheduled that day. But Suresh said the magic words - "Rahman's coming da!". It was more than enough to get a few second thoughts to creep in! And Praveen's continuous taunts in tfmpage that I had to be a good boy and study, only made me more determined to bunk the test! :)

13th July, 2002. THE most unforgettable day of my life!

It was a Saturday, and this gave Suresh and me enough time to set-up camp in Music World to be the first to buy the cassette! We were there as the carton was taken out and seal ripped open. And arguably the first copies of Bombay Dreams in the city were handed over to us. Were we over the moon! We tore up the plastic cover right there, and a small piece of paper fell out. It said "Autograph signing session with AR Rahman" (for the 1st hundred people to buy the album). This was getting better and better. To think we'd come thinking we'd be able to catch a glimpse of him from a distance!

Suresh's cousin had come too. She pulled out her letter and looked at it with complete disbelief on her face. She read it, reread it and handed it over to us with her mouth agape. It said "You are invited to a tea party with AR Rahman". Suresh and I didn't feel even the tiniest hint of jealousy. We'd already made up our mind to tow along with her whatsoever happens! :)

I was now as excited as a schoolboy who'd drunk too much water and spotted a loo after a long search. Ok, bad example! But that's how excited I was! :D

Tow along with her, we did. There were only 5 people who'd got the golden chance. The guys at Music World were a bit apprehensive about letting us tag along. The head-honcho walked in right then.. saw our over enthu state (We were so full of beans, we stopped short of screaming "Rahman, zindabad"!).. and said, "It's ok. Let them in too." And that was the first time in my life I blessed a person from the bottom of my heart. :)

THE MOMENT happened a tad too quickly. Even as we were waiting in the Spencer's Head Office, Rahman entered. Black Denim, a hand in his pocket, the other absently running through his long curls... I couldn't speak! My mouth was stuck in this stupid half-open gape, and words just didn't come out. I was kinda glad to see I had company in Suresh! :)

Rahman was a giant in my mind. His rather short build made him appear human after all. :) We were served samosas, doughnuts and coffee. And Rahman sat on that comfy couch answering some rather stupid questions posed by a guy who'd come in flashing his Press ID (No, not Suderman! :D ). I still was not able to talk.

We had come totally prepared. A camera, a recorder, a scribble pad.. hmm, cargo pants DO have their advantages! Rahman was painfully shy. He didn't speak unless he was spoken to. And that didn't really help coz I was worse! So much for the recorder. :(

It was time to take some snaps before making our way back to the Music World Outlet for the Autograph signing session. I managed to gather jus' enough courage to ask him for an autograph right there. He gave me an amused smile, shifted a bit to his left and said, "Why not? Sit down."

I was literally trembling as I handed him my scribbling pad. The Music World guy saw the recorder peeping outta my pocket. "Here, lemme take it", he said as he grabbed the recorder before I could react. I was quite tickled when I saw him hold it up to his eyes looking for a eye-hole. He'd thought it was a camera! Rahman chuckled too. And asked me my name. I must have blinked for 5 seconds. My voice deserted me and I continued blinking! Suresh hissed "dei!! solli thulai da!"... Rahman was grinning broadly now. "Harish", I gasped. Revathi sonna maathiri sonna, "verum kaathu thaan vandhudhu"!

And as he scrawled "Dear Harish, Best wishes.. AR Rahman", my world seemed complete at that moment!

We were escorted back to Music World for the Official Autograph Signing session (where I got my second autograph! :) This time on the cassette inlay). I went back home just in time to see Kaif and Yuvraj pull off a sensational win in the Natwest trophy. Now that was what I call a perfect day!