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backwhen – coffee and biscuits were for a song

Posted by littleindian on September 9, 2011. |

the song

the british folk rock quartet, Magna Carta were touring India
and they played unplugged to a full house at Kala Mandir in Kolkata.

it was a longway back in the when,
we were four fresh faced singers and guitar players,
trying out our nascent skills in a band of our own.

we were one of the first ones to queue up to buy tickets,
sitting as close to the stage as we could afford,
for a couple of hours we sat awestruck
listening to the singing
the harmonising
and the amazing guitar playing

we were mesmerized.

there was one song, we had to learn.


MAGNACARTA at Myspace Music


and having spent hours and hours listening to the track
and swapping chords and tabs with friends we learnt to play it fairly well.

the coffee and biscuits

sometime later,
with three trekking friends of mine, I was walking in the Himalayan foothills.

we were walking towards Khecheopalri lake in Western Sikkim.
and stopped at a tiny village called Thingling.

there were no shops
we were desperate to buy some food and a hot drink,
a couple of school teachers invited us to their house and made us coffee and offered us biscuits.

in the corner of the tiny room stood a guitar.
one of them was trying to learn how to play;
he asked if we played.

I was the guitar player in the bunch,
I picked it up and started playing and singing this song
my other three friends sang and hummed along.
the two teachers nodded and tapped a table in rhythm.

we had many miles to go,
soon it was time for the leaving,
we got up and brought out our wallets to pay for the biscuits and coffee.

smilingly our hosts declined,
they said the song was more than enough in exchange.

many years after

today, like a stuck jukebox,
I wonder why the song has been playing on and on in my mind …



Posted by littleindian on . |


5 Responses to “backwhen – coffee and biscuits were for a song”


  1. I really like this song a lot, I’d never heard if before, I”m way too young :) I remember you telling me about this. It’s a beautiful example of the kindness of strangers. Keep writing it’s super you are back. xox

  2. Thanks for stopping by Autumn.
    Sorry for a delayed response,
    just proves how infrequent a visitor I am to my own blog.

    You probably are too young to have heard them, I am not sure if they were well known in the US.

    Walking in the Himalayas were one of the best times of my life.
    Met so many lovely, good natured and friendly people. Absolute strangers who would accept us as friends or as family for the night. Offered us food and place to sleep.

  3. am glad that i stopped to have a look…!! Magna Carta – and I thought it was a charter ( and since you are so much into rights of the people) will have to take time to listen to the band some other time….!! Rushing out again…and no respite till Deepawali… !!
    Good post !!

  4. and on separate note – your post actually made me nostalgic – its been 2 years since I have been to any trek, and i was just going back into past on all the incidents when we either took shelter, or were offered a cup of chai…and yeah somehow you find that your money doesn’t matter to people living on such terrain.

  5. awesome …nicely written..keep it up..

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