Tanya and Arunima
There is something in the air tonight. As I walk inside Someplace Else, The Park Hotel’s iconic pub, I feel the energy which swirls around me. S is smart enough to take me through the server’s exit, and soon enough, I am right behind the bar, watching the crowd go wild as the performances begin.

Loy Mendonsa at Someplace Else

Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa are in the house, playing non-stop with the regular performers. Rohan Ganguli, Amyt Dutta, Premjit, Bijit are playing along at Fender & Friends, while Tanya Sen, Arunima Banerjee, Rupsha Sen and Jayashree Singh serenade the house, and they sometimes perform solo, sometimes together, and I am buffeted by the voices that whisper inside my head, reminding me of the days in my life at one time.

Rohan, Rupsha, Loy

Someplace Else was my first venture into adulthood. In 2004, when I first entered the place, too afraid that I would be turned away, it gave me the first taste of freedom, immersing me in music. I would refuse drinks or food, and stick to a soda, but at first, I would just go there to see the crowds go wild. In 2005, I turned towards metal, head-banging, and discovered a staunch following there, a set of fellow enthusiasts, and knew I was not alone.

Amyt Dutta

Time passed. I grew out of the music that would make me mad. The guitars pulled my heartstrings now. Someplace Else was now a beloved place to drown out pain and a sense of hollowness, a place to run away to, when life became too much for me to bear. Eventually, I realized it was an escape for me, a place where I would be anonymous, lost, away from it all. I knew everyone, and revelled in the fact that nobody knew me.

I made friends. Plenty of friends. They were all there. Singers, drummers, guitar players, keyboardists, people I would meet in the smoking room and befriend over a shared cigarette. Eventually, some remained. Some left. Some became even more distant than strangers.

I sometimes wish they hadn’t become that distant. But then, its the time, you see. The time which makes us all fade away.

And as the glasses were raised, and the band played on, there was a voice inside me which resonated with the crowd, screaming out the refrain which Jayashree Singh made us hum and sing, and then, scream… and inside my head I was 20 again, screaming together with the crowd, holding on to the one who mattered the most, eyes shimmering with happiness.

And inside my head, someone agreed with the refrain. Someone with black clothes and sad eyes and more memories than the mind may bear at a time.

This used to be mine.

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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