Autorickshaw Meter Tour Blog Week 2

Music to read this blog by: Thom Petti


When we last left off, we were boarding an overnight train from Mumbai to Delhi…

December 12

We departed at 11pm from Mumbai and arrived in Delhi at approximately 5pm the next day. Train travel is one of the most civilized modes of transportation in India, but only if one’s body can handle the wear and tear! We happen to love the mesmerizing rhythm of the rails, the landscape rolling along and the yummy food that they provide in the first class, two-tier, AC car!

We arrived in Delhi in the early evening at the chaotic railway station, then went on to the beautiful residence of Laura, Jasmin and Yagmur Gillini in their peaceful home in Jor Bagh. We had a lovely dinner together and then it was early to bed after the long travel day.







December 13

This was our day off to see sights. We walked around Jor Bagh market, Lodi Gardens, and the famous Khan market. One highlight of Khan Market was our lunch at sodabottleopenerwalla, a great restaurant specializing in Persian food (with an amazing name for a resto!). Most of the wait staff are deaf and this restaurant is helping them to find employment in a country where being differently-abled can be very challenging.













We went back home for dinner with our lovely Italian family. After dinner, we surprised them with a special house concert as a thank you for their hospitality!


December 14

This was a half-day off for drinking in the city by transit (one of the best transit systems in the world) and a couple of places checked off a bucket list that we didn’t know existed! We visited Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a beautiful and peaceful place and one of the most prominent Sikh houses of worship. The grounds include a museum, a community food service, healing pond, and much more, all of which we experienced. We were grateful for the gentle guide who gave a lot of insight about the culture, religion and heritage of the place.


Then back we went on the metro to Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi where he spent his last days. In fact, this is the place where he was assassinated. Powerful, full of information and energy from its history, we only wished we had had more time to savour it…but this is gig day!

We played the Piano Man Jazz Bar, an intimate jazz room with stupendous food. The staff are attentive and the crowds are lively. We had a great first night here to a full house, topped off with a standing ovation!



December 15

Today we longed for the outdoors and more culture, so we hopped on the Metro once again and fought the crowded streets and heavy traffic to get to beautiful Red Fort, a historical fort and royal palace in the heart of this bustling city. Upon entering the fort, there is such a sense of expanse with open footpaths, gardens, mosques, houses, gates, museums, hammams, etc..

We went back to Lodi Gardens for a quick snack before heading back home and preparing for gig #2 at Piano Man. Once again, a great night with an even greater crowd! We love these audiences and they really seem both curious and excited about the fusion we are bringing to them. Thanks to Ujjwal, Ilina, Madhav, the rest of the fine staff and, of course, the awesome audiences. We hope to come back next year.







Dec 16

Today was a travel day by air, Delhi to Bagdogra.

We were greeted by Father Kalyan in an ambulance, which was our transport to the Jesuit Mission in the Matigara District. We are performing for the Sangeethanjali program with the students and staff of the school, so we had a quick rehearsal with the local Prayas rock band, made up of students and staff with whom we’re collaborating.
We had a lovely dinner with the Fathers, then early to bed…

Dec 17

…and early to rise to watch the Mass at the Jesu Ashram. They have a lot of fabulous music (singing and drumming) during the service.
We had a relaxing day on the Jesuit grounds, a long nature walk, then another rehearsal with the same rock band as well as a preliminary feel-out of our song Horn OK Please that Sucheta, a Bharatnatyam dancer, is using for her choreography. We’re excited to put this piece together tomorrow, and she has lovely ideas in terms of themes to go with the song.

Dec 18

We had a leisurely morning at the Mission, making plans for the rest of the tour. In the afternoon, our 1pm soundcheck was moved to 2:30pm when the sound system arrived late due to bad traffic. The performance also began late as a result. We were performing in the second half of the show, but we had a forced intermission due to a power outage (self-induced). Many screwdrivers in electrical sockets and exposed wires later, we resumed the program! It was a wonderful experience to collaborate with the students, staff and alumni, and reach out to the Matigara community. Thanks to Fathers Edu and Kalyan, Prayas Band, Sucheta, and the students of the Jesuit Mission.

Next stop: Darjeeling!