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Old 8th November 2011, 16:55   #1
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Default Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

March 1989- a 14-year old schoolboy watches in wonderment as a little-known band from San Francisco perform a dark song about war and pain and dismemberment on the annual Grammy Awards stage telecast on Doordarshan. The audience is shell-shocked, and not in a good way. The eight-minute track, captioned (wrongly as it turns out) "And Justice For All", has them not quite sure whether to boo or cheer wildly. Eventually they settle for polite applause, as the host for the evening makes jokes about the drummer's head falling off. To add insult to injury, later that evening Metallica watch in bemusement as dinosaur-rockers Jethro Tull waltz off with the inaugural Grammy for Heavy Metal Album.

1991-92- In the midst of frenetic cramming for the HSC boards, a friend shares an album with a cover entirely black except for some grey artwork in the bottom corner. The "black album" captures the mainstream imagination like wildfire and "heavy metal" soon ceases to be a dirty term. By this time, the schoolboy is nearly 18 and a veteran of the "scene". He laughs at the newbie fans and proudly displays the TDK and Sony recordings of the classic early albums with their covers photocopied from friends lucky enough to get the originals from abroad.

1999-2010: Rumours of Metallica touring India first surface around the turn of the millennium. No luck. Everyone from Bryan Adams to Opeth and most everyone in between plays in this country but no sign of the boys from San Francisco. Even their arch-nemesis Megadeth play a show here, but the band that most fans associate with their first heavy metal memories stay strangely away. The boy, now grown, latches on fervently to rapidly diminishing hopes of ever watching them live.

2011: Rumours surface that Metallica will play in Delhi and Bangalore in the month of October. Having heard similar stories several times in the past, the boy hopes against hope but plans a quiet Diwali celebration with his young family to avoid disappointment. But when the band themselves announce it on their website and tickets go on sale officially, there is no more turning away from the fact.

Metallica. In India.
22 years of waiting.
And I was going to be there.

Last edited by noopster : 9th November 2011 at 22:30.
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Old 8th November 2011, 17:30   #2
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

We'd been planning a roadtrip for a concert for quite a while before the Metallica show was announced. Last year Judas Priest was rumoured to be doing a gig in Bangalore, but that fizzled out and later it was Slayer, which didn't happen either- incredibly the headlining act at Rock in India last year was Backstreet Boys . A bunch of us that likes to jam to hard rock and metal after work decided right then that we would do a roadtrip for whichever big metal band announced their India tour next. Since we are based in Pune, it was virtually a given that the destination would be Bangalore.

A couple of shows happened- Lacuna Coil, Amon Amarth, Lamb of God- and some die-hards from my group did attend those but I am an old fashioned guy and chose to wait for some REAL action.

Metallica it was. We all bought our tickets online as soon as they went on sale on ticketgenie, paying 2750/- each which was a bargain considering I've paid as much as 4K a pass for the likes of Sting and Mark Knopfler earlier. There were about 12 of us interested in going so we started planning for 3 cars. Two were confirmed- my Vento AT and our keyboard player's Wagon R- and we were trying hard to convince the guitarist's dad to part with the keys of his Linea MJD, when suddenly a bright idea emerged- why not have BIKES on the trip as well?

I must confess I was totally against this idea at the outset- it seemed a risky and irresponsible thing to do and every conceivable worst-case scenario played itself morbidly inside my overimaginative skull. But the boys were persistent and over the next couple of months impressed me with the seriousness with which they approached their preparation for the trip. Gradually I found myself caught up in the enthusiasm and stopped worrying. Or rather, found new things to worry about! Our little party, it seemed, had swelled to about 18 or so and we had to arrange for accomodation for the whole bunch

Somehow everything worked itself out just fine. We found the acco: a beautiful 6-bedroom duplex serviced apartment on Lavelle Road. The cars and bikes were sent to the shop for checkups and repairs. As D-day approached, the Vento started blasting Metallica almost exclusively, everything from Kill 'Em All to Death Magnetic- I confess I had lost touch somewhere along the line and missed out on the later albums. It was nice getting back into it!

The concert couldn't have been timed better- just after Diwali meant that an extended weekend was all we would need to factor in for leave. The company obliged by declaring Friday the 28th a holiday as well. So we decided we would leave that day, stay overnight at Hampi, reach Bangalore on Saturday, attend the gig on Sunday and drive back lazily on Monday, staying over somewhere on the way and arriving in Pune sometime on Tuesday.

All for this:(pic courtesy Metallica.com)
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Last edited by noopster : 8th November 2011 at 17:32.
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Old 9th November 2011, 20:08   #3
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

Moving along...

Spend Diwali in Mumbai withe the family, then M and I drive to Pune on the evening of the 27th. This is Day Zero- the day the bikers: 2 guitarists and our drummer- take off from Pune on two bikes: a Karizma and an Avenger. We have had long discussions on this and riding 600 km for two days just before attending the concert of our lives doesn't seem to be a smart idea. So they do 350 of those on Day Zero, staying over at UV's in Belgaav and heading for Hampi the next day.

UV is our friend from Bangalore whom we have- funnily enough- never met before this trip. He is a Belgaav native and has kindly offered to put the bikers up for the night. He in turn will hop into my car, occupying the 5th seat to Hampi and then onto Bangalore.

Meanwhile M and I spend the evening meandering our way into Pune, since we don't want to waste 3 precious hours doing the expressway the next morning. An uneventful drive: e-way runs are almost on auto-pilot now. We grab dinner at my favourite Thai place on Baner Road. Then head home and crash. I am totally keyed up and do whatever I can to relax: a hot bath, some light reading and finally doze off. Only to wake up in a panic as I realise have not set an alarm. 4:00 am seems reasonable and I key it into my mobile phone.

Wake up after what feels like a full night's rest and check the time: 1:30. Damn! Go back to sleep and wake up some time later: 2:00. This happens till about 3:30 when I give up and get out of bed, only to find M is already up and toodling about in the bathroom.

Growing up in Mumbai, you always have neat little compartments to slot your friends into: junior college friend, train friend, colony friend etc. M is my "school friend", among the oldest that I can recall. My first memory of him is at his fifth birthday party- and that was a LONG time ago . A general surgeon who still lives in a one kilometre radius from the place he was born, M is looking forward to this trip in a way I cannot explain. There is also some nervousness I sense: he is the "outsider" in my intimate bunch united by music and madness. And his family isn't used to him going AWOL for days on end. We are opposites in many ways, me rather easygoing while he is the meticulous planner and consummate worrier. He is also my backup driver, though he has never driven an AT before. I have to settle for that: none of the others in my car can drive.

The route is planned such that our keyboard man in his Wagon R picks up most of the others leaving just one guy close by for me to pick up. I buzz him at a quarter to 4 and get a sleepy response. This alarms me and I start buzzing everyone else. But I needn't worry- everyone's as excited about this trip as I am: by 4:30 the other car is en route and we've already picked up Sleepy and are on the open road.

A call from the other car: they've forgotten to pack the SLR! We're going back. Oh damnation. Sleepy remembers there is a 24 hour CCD at Chandni Chowk, which seems like a good idea. Hot lattes and some photo opportunities.

At journey's start:
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Refreshments beckon!
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The Vento gleams in the pre-dawn:
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We hit the road after about 20 minutes and are soon at the magnificent Katraj Tunnel.
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The Wagon R catches up with us halfway through the tunnel and the party suddenly gets livelier. Our keys man is celebrating his birthday today so we pull over on the side of the road to exchange hugs and introduce the new guy.
On the open road: the NH4 stretch.
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Hitting the road again, we manage to kick up a good pace.
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But never too fast NOT to appreciate the gorgeous natural beauty around us.
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October is probably the best month to travel: the post-monsoon greenery everywhere but the nip in the air is just barely there. We stop several times to take snaps. M takes most of them, warming up to my Sony H55 almost immediately.

Before you know it, we've picked up our friend from Belgaav and are on the state highway from Hubli via Gadag and Hospet to our first destination: Hampi!

Last edited by noopster : 10th November 2011 at 11:58.
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Old 9th November 2011, 23:37   #4
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

Route so far: NH4 from Pune to Dharwad. Take the Hubli bypass and just before it ends is an underpass that takes you past the bus station, railway quarters etc. towards Gadag. After Gadag, head for Koppala and thence Hospet.
The state highways just out of Hubli are a little rocky and there is a lot of construction work happening along the way, but it smooths out after a while and you are treated to the most amazing sights.
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A touching reunion with he bikers at Hampi:
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Before this trip, the only things I knew about Hampi were:
  1. It was once the prosperous Vijayanagara empire of Krishnadeva Raya
  2. It is now in ruins
Our keyboard player had spent a day there once and was all for including Hampi in the itinerary. I was indifferent at first- a 100 km detour off NH4 seemed meaningless, but he promised it would an experience to remember and added as a sweetener a promise to treat us to the world's best pizza.

What the hell, you only live once. Hampi it was.

I am going to do the pictures do the talking now. Hampi has two "sides"- opposite banks of a rivulet, really- and these were mostly shot by a trigger-happy M as we awaited our 6 pm ferry across.
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Once we crossed the river- the coracle ride is a treat not to be missed- the other bank turned out to be a quaint hodge podge of budget lodges populated mostly by foreign tourists. We were put up at the Gouthami- clean rooms with bathrooms that worked and good food available in-house. We paid just 300 for a doubles room, which was awesome in itself. But the feasting and partying that followed was quite unbelievable and a fitting prelude to things to come in Bangalore!

As you'd imagine there was a fair bit of music involved. Here's a glimpse (NO it's not Nothing Else Matters )
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Last edited by noopster : 10th November 2011 at 00:30.
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Old 10th November 2011, 00:42   #5
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

The plan for Saturday was to depart Hampi as early as possible so as to reach Bangalore by lunchtime, get some rest and then head for the pre-Metallica gig at Kyra Theatre in Indiranagar. The gang was kicked at the chance of catching Kryptos, Bevar Sea and other homegrown Bangalorean talent in action and a 7:00 am start was planned for. But M was depressed- had we come all this way for nothing? As a compromise, the cars decided to stay a while longer and explore the sights while the bikers left early.

It was a decision we would NOT regret.

The intrepid gang that "did" Hampi the way it's meant to be:
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And the sights...those incredible sights. Any commentary is superfluous.

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M looks happy he got his way...and why not?
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Some local wildlife to break the 'stony' silence
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Helpful hint: Hire a local guide and you will enjoy an hour or two's worth of history, culture and entertainment. Our guy just asked for 100/-which is a pittance. We tipped him generously and he was grateful.
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Old 10th November 2011, 00:53   #6
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

This post is dedicated entirely to the beautiful ruins of the erstwhile Vijayanagara empire. A fair bit has been restored by the ASI. Rumour has it the place will be losed down permanently for tourists within a couple of years. So if you get a chance to see it sometime soon, go grab it!

Enjoy the pics!
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Last edited by noopster : 10th November 2011 at 01:10.
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Old 10th November 2011, 01:01   #7
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

Now that plans of an afternoon arrival in Bangalore were thoroughly dashed, we told ourselves we might as well have lunch before hitting the road again. So that's what we did, at a quaint little cafe called New Shanthi Sagar that served feta cheese and falafel, among many other things.

Group photo!
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Close up of a lovely painting on the wall (all for sale incidentally)
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Who says India is no longer the land of snake charmers?
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Mandatory pic of the Vento posing against the majestic ruins of Hampi
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Old 10th November 2011, 12:08   #8
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

Thread moved to Travelogues from Assembly line section. Thanks for sharing the travelogue
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Old 10th November 2011, 12:32   #9
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

Excellent!

This is exactly what road trips with fellow metal-heads are made of! Great pictures of the ruins of Hampi. The Indian country-side is a thing of beauty. I often come across articles on the greatest driving roads of the world, and little do people know, that some of these roads in India could feature in these articles, but somehow they don't!

I'm assuming that there is more to come?
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Old 10th November 2011, 12:52   #10
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

Wonderful! Spectacular account so far! Fraulein looks lovely in Hampi. Oh and Hampi is lovely too. Need to plan a trip there, soon.

Please continue with the trip and keep that wonderfully penned narration going too.
I absolutely loved the way the intro was written. One can so relate to a feeling like that!

P.S: Did you really have pizza at 4:30AM?? .
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Old 10th November 2011, 12:58   #11
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

Excellent TL!. Nice writeup
Any break-down details about hotels, petrol cost, tolls, roads would be nice!
Waiting for more to come!
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Old 10th November 2011, 13:27   #12
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

Fantastic start of the travelogue. Very good naration complimented by good snaps!

Hampi seems amazing. Added to my planning list.
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Old 10th November 2011, 14:17   #13
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

Nice TL. A visit to Hampi without going to the Mango Tree restaurant is incomplete! SIMPLY IDYLLIC is one word to describe this hidden gem by the river. Surprisingly its all vegetarian food only but nothing like what you find elsewhere...You can laze around all day without a care..

some images on google. mango tree restaurant hampi - Google Search[FONT=Verdana][SIZE=1][COLOR=black][COLOR=black][/COLOR][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
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Old 10th November 2011, 16:34   #14
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

After the sublime beauty that was Hampi, it needed a gentle nudge to get us all back into the mood for the rest of the trip.

So where were we? Oh yeah, \m/ Metallica \m/

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We finally left Hampi around 1 pm, by which time any hopes of catching pre-Metallica gigs were crushed. The bikers were well on their way by then, and eventually got there by mid-afternoon.

We were in no hurry. The highway from Hospet to Chitradurga via Hiriyur is a thing of beauty. At one point the Tungabhadra reservoir rises up as you turn a bend in the road and it stretches out as far as the eye can see- it's a sight to behold! Sadly no pictures.

I had to tank up once along this road, somewhere near Hiriyur. Petrol costs nearly 75/- in Karnataka (at the time of travel).

So let me get this straight- I pay more to buy a car, transfer a car to KA and ALSO to operate a car? Doesn't sound fair!

Have to admit, though, it's pretty beautiful!
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Don't ask what that lot was doing in there

I was dreading the last stretch into Bangalore but apparently things have improved no end since I last lived there...around 5 years ago. The elevated toll road from Nelamangala into the city is just beautiful. Of course Indian drivers being what we are continue to drive any way we like and ruin what is potentially a wonderful experience. At one toll booth a Swift Dzire was tooling around minding his own beeswax when a private intercity bus suddenly changed lanes and banged him on the rear right side. The poor guy didn't even see it coming- he swerved almost 180 degrees and thankfully didn't get rammed again. It happened right next to us and we thanked our stars we weren't involved!

We found the serviced apartment on Lavelle Road after some upping and downing. As usual in Bangalore nobody knew the apartment we were put up at by name and it took some straightu-dead endaa?- rightu before we found it.

It was quite a revelation. This is us chilling at the lovely apartment Sunday morning, the day of the concert.
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Old 10th November 2011, 20:04   #15
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Default Re: Anywhere I Roam- The Metallica Travelogue

Nice TL!!!
Me likes!

Questions, Questions Questions!

Q1. Most important Q of all, get your keyboard player to answer this Q, if you still don't know; where is the WORLD's BEST PIZZA? Where can I get it?

Q2. How long before I get the answer to Q1

Q3. The apartment looks fantabulous! How much did you pay for it? How do you find such apartments (for rent) in Bglr?

Q4. If one goes to Hampi, is everything (to see) within close range?

Q5. (General Q) Why do you (& a lot more junta on tbhp) hide your number plate? It's not like one is hiding his/her age or figure statistics?!!

Q6. This is Bengaluruu - the land of vadai & filter coffee! Where are the food pics?!!

Q7. I'm hooked. When can I expect the next installment?

Last edited by ninjatalli : 10th November 2011 at 20:12.
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