Sad day would be an understatement to describe this day-Novermber 24, 2010. On this day, Baiju, the master guitarist, who is one of the pillars of strength of motherjane, left the band. When Nikhil called me up in the evening with this news, I was hoping that it might be a prank. But then as I headed over to the band's official website and saw the announcement in big bold letters, I was sure that my worst fears had come true. Words can't describe the emptiness that I feel right now, a feeling shared by thousands of die hard Janiacs all over the country.
We've all grown up reading about famous rockstars leaving the big bands. Friedman leaving megadeth, Slash leaving GNR and more recently Frusciante leaving RHCP and Portnoy leaving Dream theater are all fresh in our memory. But, in all this the sadness was distant. I never felt that tinge of pain that makes the sadness personal. Today was different though. motherjane is one band which inspired a generation of rock fans in India. Many young bands cite their name as the sole reason for their existence. From that day many years ago, when I heard 'maya', motherjane's been a part and parcel of my life. There was never a day untouched by their music. There are young die hard fans like Hari who goes to any lengths to watch the band live. More than any of their contemporaries, motherjane managed to touch our lives and connect with us in ways the band would never know. We found a special joy in painting our faces and swaying to the strains of carnatic rock. Those were occasions for us to unleash the spirits within and discover our true selves. Vocalist Suraj Chettan asked us once, "Don't you guys even get bored listening to the same songs in concert after concert?" We just laughed then. The truth is we were left craving for more after each of those concerts.
motherjane is one band who has found success like few other in the Indian scene. But what sets them apart is that the success never went to their heads. Highly approachable, down to earth and lacking all the airs of being such talented musicians, these guys endeared themselves to us fans. And that explains why this band has such a big die hard fan base. Also, their music has a universal appeal with even my rock hating amma saying, "I like this", after listening to 'broken'. Many of the inspiring lyrics like 'walk on' brought in positive energy during tough times. And so, when this news came as a bolt from the blue, when the band are on an all time high, I found it hard to believe. It still hasn't sunk in. Though the band puts up a brave front saying its all on friendly mutual terms, we all know how hard it hurts. Yes, everyone has personal ambitions and we need to respect that. Still, we can just hope that the outpourings from fans will just bring back the man to where he truely belongs, amongst us, as the lead guitarist of motherjane. This is a plea from a true blue Janiac...Please come back Baiju chettaaa!
Its an irony that their own song 'Broken' explains it best, how we all feel right now
We’ve all, We've all been broken
Shattered, left mute with regrets unspoken
We’ve all loved and lost
Been forsaken, repented our deepest trust
We’ve all wondered why
Destiny picked us to cry
Why faith has to be tested,
And life doesn’t turn out the way intended
We’re mended to be broken
Yet human clay believes itself golden
Stunning in its courage to be happy
As wild elations tempered with black melancholy
your crusader Praveen