This is one hell of a story! and it has to start with this story! Because this is the coolest story of my musician life yet 🙂
Sometime late in 2006, I was travelling back from Delhi (after playing at the India Social Forum) with The Raghu Dixit Project and on the plane back to Bangalore, I bumped into Debbie.
See, at that time, I hadn’t travelled too much by flights and so I was not too familiar with how things work and for the first few flights that I took, I was stuck to my seat and just looking out of the windows most of the time and reading my books or listening to my iPod.
So anyway, being bigger than average Indians, I usually don’t fit too well in airplane seats and so try to sit next to the aisle and put at least one leg out and stretch it! so there I was stretched out and trying to get the most comfortable position I could find and the guy next to me had to go to the loo. Instead of getting out and sit right there and have to move again for him when he returns, I just moved off to the next row of seats and sat next to Debbie!
Debbie was trying to get her bottle of mineral water to open with no avail and asked me to open it for her. From there, we started talking and she was coolness personified! right from being in the US navy in operation desert storm to being a roadie for tons of rock bands on their tours including at one time, “Grateful Dead” to being an art school major to getting tattooed to the complete blonde act to earning obscene amounts of money in the IT industry!! “Groovy!” was one of her phrases along with “Yeay!! Whooo” and she used those for every little thing!
So we land in Bangalore and the hotel had forgotten to send her a cab, so I end up dropping her to her hotel and she forgets her wallet in the car which I promptly take back to her hotel and return to her. We chat some more and then decide to meet for dinner! So Shilpa and I took her to Samarkhand that night for some food she has not eaten! And we had a blast!
So anyway, I told her about the band I played for and how I was planning to at that time take music more seriously and getting myself a good guitar was part of that plan. And she told me how she knew a friend of hers who ran a music store in California and she’d see if she can help with it.
Once she went back to the US, she got her friend to arrange for a couple of different models of Warwick Guitars to be present in the store, and then drove over 200 miles to pick up my very good friends and bandmates from Phenom, Mrinal and JD and took them to the store where Mrinal picked this guitar from the different models that were available.
Debbie then paid for that guitar and drove Mrinal and JD back to their place 200 miles away with the guitar! A total journey of close to a 1000 miles and she has paid for the guitar at this point!
When I heard what happened, I din’t know how to react!! I’ve never known a relative stranger do this much for someone they met over a weekend in another country! Debbie later told me that she just had this very good feeling after meeting me in India and that this was her way of paying me back for the ‘help’ I had provided when she was in India – which included taking her out for dinner and dropping her from the airport to her hotel! I was blown away by this gesture!!
I did pay her back in full and Shilpa’s (then to-be) brother-in-law Dominic, got the guitar down with him when he came to India from the US and I was able to hold the guitar in my hands on the 22nd of December 2006!
And that was just the start to the brilliant journey I have had as a musician with that bass guitar! Its been the most cherished thing I have ever bought in my life and I am sure it will be for a LONG LONG time!