‘Oasis’ at BITS Pilani. First heard of this festival back in College, mostly in the context of Padre-diktat “Thou shalt NOT go to this college festival. Thou shalt ONLY go to Pondy”. Took a while, but we finally made it.
For those who came in late, TAAQ played at Oasis ’07, the annual festival of the Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), an institute that dominates the little town of Pilani, Rajasthan.
KF flight out from B’lore 8:45pm, get to Delhi around 11:30pm. Pile into the obligatory Qualis/Innova/Tavera and off we go. Some quintessential Dilli aggro driving gets us to Pilani in 4 hours flat. Said driving mostly meant barreling down narrow pitch-dark state highway at 120km/hr. At one brief stop, the only thing I really remember is that the sky was simply ablaze with stars. Haven’t seen so many in a long time, urban superhumans that we are.
Get to Pilani at 4am, and just outside the gate are a couple of ramshackle tea-and-bread-omelet joints doing brisk trade (yes, no one sleeps around this festival). After oiling our gullets with some cutting chai, we’re checked into the VFAST (sic) Hostel. Peaceful place, decent grub. Them Clones was just leaving after their gig – saw them off. Grabbed some shut-eye and then wandered around the sprawling campus. Very similar vibe to other campuses we’ve been on – notably MCC Madras, JIPMER Pondicherry, etc. Or are we just getting old and foggy headed. There’s this general miasma of ‘chill’. Nothing moves very quickly, and a standard day can seem to go on for weeks.
Almost forgot, TAAQ played Paintball! Rajeev, Suchin, Umesh, and Vijay (from Prospect), captained by fearless leader yours truly. Tiring, but fun. Pics with us kitted out in battle gear toting weaponry will follow! We played against a bunch of guys from a college somewhere. Yes, we lost, but under questionable circumstances, I tell you. Especially after formulating highly evolved battle strategies like ‘attack attack attack’ and ‘run run run’ and ‘keep the safety off dammit!” There were some very fishy rules and half of us ended up being disqualified. Umesh picked up a round in the face, and left the field dripping green goo. I was last man standing (medals anyone??) and survived to the bitter end, going down finally, outgunned, outnumbered… but never captured. Ah, the honour, the courage, the valour…
Speaking of time, we were supposed to get a soundcheck in by 10pm, and start playing around 11 – midnightish. Got that check at 1am. All kinds of sound issues, but Vinay manages to get the act together. Gig begins at 2am. We start with Motorbyckle, and with the roar that greets us immediately after, we know we’re on to a good thing. Went on to play a nearly 2-hour set, with lots of the new material thrown in. And yes, a-la-happydent, It’s Working! Good crowd (lots of energy at 3am – believe it). Played till nearly 4am and signed some high-tech autographs on PDAs and suchlike. Happening, maan.
Ducked out of judging the finals, as we had to get back to Delhi for the next gig – at Cafe Morrison. That story coming soon.