Kolkata Park Street

Kolkata Park Street


With the music of some of our bands listeningis like watching a film. You are off on a little trip. Alone or together with who ever is listening with you.Life appears to be like the world reflected in a mirror in the hands of a playful little girl. She turns it round and round in her hands and the ordinary mundane shabby things change colour, take on a new intensity and becomes beautiful! Pictures on a shard of glass…the mass of heavy stuff that is life is now compressed into tiny manageable portions that no longer intimidate or depress but actually appear attractive!

A rarely heard or performed-in-public Cactus song is Halogen

Woven with the lyric and music,Halogen

is a collage of strange moments of life in a metro. You are transported to Park street or Dalhousie office para at 1900 hours in the late seventies (or early eighties).You see darkness stealing upon a weary old city. The clock strikes seven and you find long-red-nail-polished little hands poised in air like little birds flexing their restless little wings, raring to take-off. Flying fingers droop like leaves of trees at nightfall. Jangling Remington typewriters fall silent.  You ‘see’ steel file cabinets and office drawers clanging shut.

Out of musty old multistoried buildings towering over the blue gray streets below, people flow.

Shadowy spirits doused in the other worldly Halogen light glide out of the confines of office space and swing in to another mode of existence. Hungry eyes rove the halogen lit semi darkness. Lecherous hands reach out for the softness of willing waists. Practiced lips bargain.

Like in a synchronized musical show, lights change and darkness fades in and out of different lives. Taxi doors open and shut. And… “Bacha kena choley – footpath ar rastaey”… transaction continues… on the footpath and the streets : 7 o’clock is the moment of transformation in Kolkata office para.

Cactus deftly captures the spirit of the hour. The wailing blue notes transcreate the time and the moment every time the song is played – a bit of spacetime of Kolkata city frozen in the sound of music forever.

**Incidentally Cactus is the only band in the country that recorded the first ever song about gay rights in 2005. The song is called Pakkhiraj, known as The Punished Pegasus in English.

**The band is based in Kolkata and is over ten years old. The official website is at cactusmusic dot com.

**There is an MP3 version of Halogen at esnips, but am not sure if that is a safe site to download from. Their first album Cactus features this song. Record label is HMV.

8 thoughts on “cactus

  1. Pingback: With the music of some of our bands listening is like watching a …-music

  2. Yes, the first public, concerted attempt to create gay art content by SAATHI-Kol, Cactus and Manas Bangla(the umbrella org and common platform for the welfare of people repressed on account of gender or preferences) in the entire country, I believe. Now PSBT-Del has taken up the mantle to an extent.
    The first song in Bangla (or any Indian language for that matter on the subject however is Rajar Raja by Cactus). Should you know of any other, do feel free to add link here?

  3. Grateful to you for composing a write-up on the HALOGEN track and publishing on the web. It’s just right, and i was looking for something like that on the net for a long time. No wonder it appears first on googling “cactus halogen”.

    To me, HALOGEN is special because that one song by Cactus (grateful to them for composing it) got me hooked onto the whole Blues genre, and i started to listen to a whole world of songs i hadn’t heard before.

    However, out of all the blues songs i’ve heard after that, i still haven’t found a song that comes close to the spirit/tone/mood of HALOGEN. Cactus would have definitely been inspired by some song (American perhaps?) to have composed this one; i wish i knew what it was!! (Do let me know if you find anything like that). And if there isn’t really such a ‘root’ song, i’d be but compelled to bow to the genius of this revolutionary rock group.

    P.S. the picture you have for your write-up is good. A more evening-ish picture (maybe even black-and-white), with the halogen lamps just starting to light up, would have been superb!

    @ Anjan Hi, Welcome to my blog and thank you. Hope I do things better and see you here another time. 🙂

    The root song: On diff occasions Cactus Siddhartha or even Kanishka mentioned stuff they liked and told me that they had adapted from that. It wd be bits of guitar licks or a line or a part of a tune. I never did try to record that as I noticed their song turned out to be diff anyway. However, if there was a direct link between Halogen and any American song the way The Sounds of Silence is related wth tht Chandrabindoo song, it should definitely be on record in order for people to better appreciate the Bangla composition. It isn’t easy adapting a foreign tune to suit the diction and nuances of another language.
    If you do know, please share? (I would definitely look out for it)

    The Park Street pic is result of net-scavenging 🙂 I would look for one where the street lights are more evident 🙂

    My email is nabinatrisha at hotmail dot com, in case you want to share links. Glad to meet another ‘Halogen’ lover! For a long time I thought I was the only one!

  4. Hey Nabina! Tanuka here.. stumbled across your blog today.. Have to say I love your pieces on Cactus.. Yes, Halogen is a work of art, I completely agree.. And great translation of Rajar Raja!

    Where are you now? Will keep checking your blog.. Please keep writing!

  5. Hey! Tanuka, such an unexpectd pleasant surprise early in the morning leaves me breathless – n charged 🙂 whn I del my Orkut acct thought had lost u guys! welcome n thx n do KIT!
    Glad u liked it n the translation. Wish Sidhu’d seen it too. Wondr wht he wd say…
    Whr am I? My posts wd gve u a clue – tee hee 🙂

  6. I spoke to Sidhu earlier today and told him about your blog entries, and especially about the Rajar Raja translation- and even forwarded the links to him. So he should see them soon, and will hopefully respond!

    You write very well, really enjoyed the other posts I read! Great to find you this way! 🙂

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