A book on the journey of the music band Indian Ocean

In the midst of an eclectic selection of titles on the walls, almost everyone present at the Oxford Bookstore in New Delhi’s Connaught Place that evening was holding a copy of the same book. The fans who assembled in the store to witness the launch of Indian Ocean, a pictorial journey of the life of the Delhi-based fusion band by the same name, were excited to see their idols in person. The band members Rahul Ram and Amit Kilam along with Vineet Sharma — the author, attended the function.

Dispensing with the usual formalities associated with such events, the trio decided in favour of an open conversation with the audience with the band members talking with an unusual candour about the band.

Vineet Sharma recounted how the idea of doing a book on the band came about after he watched Leaving Home, the 2008 documentary on the group. The process of writing the book was contemporaneous in keeping with major changes in the composition of the band. After performing together for 15 years, the original quartet separated with the demise of Asheem Chakravarthy and the exit of Sushmit Sen.

Talking about how these events affected his work, Vineet said that the upheavals necessitated a change in the thread of the book, with the intended theme that the music goes on acquiring a completely different tenor. Asked about the idea of a book being written on the band, Rahul Ram expressed the initial scepticism that he felt, while Amit Kilam said that he could not comprehend what could possibly be written about them.

Being a travel writer, this was the author’s first foray into writing about music, a field that he said he “understands.” The process of writing the book involved several interviews with the band members, with “the discussions being used to create a book which showcases the moments of fun, adversity and boredom, all with equanimity and lets the reader delve into the life of the band.”

One major challenge was the dearth of pictures of the band before the advent of digital cameras. This led to a search for pictures, with the band members and the author trawling for them in old collections, asking friends and relatives and “going through attics in search of a stray picture which may have been stashed away.”

The conversation made for a wonderful evening for the fans of the band, with the event ending with band members signing copies of the book.