VIRU KAITH, 31, works at a call centre for V2 Solutions near his house in the Mumbai suburb of Vashi. He reaches work at around 8.30 pm each day, and then starts answering technical support calls about residential solar panels. The callers are Americans from sun-soaked states like North Carolina and Arizona who use the black-mirrored panels for energy and tax breaks. Most of the callers are nice to the distant, accented voice on the other end of the phone, but others are not so nice. Bleary-eyed, at around 5.30 am, Kaith heads off to the train station. After three transfers and two autorickshaw rides over one-and-a-half hours, he finally shows up for his second job—playing drums for the death metal band Demonic Resurrection.
Kaith’s alternative life revolves around what used to be a one-car parking garage at vocalist Sahil Makhija’s parents’ home off Juhu beach. The studio/practice room is tiny, with padded brown walls that dampen the deafening noise that is produced within. On a typical recording day, Kaith shows up shortly before 7 am, earlier than anybody else, to beat his Mapex drum kit and Zildjian cymbals and lay down tracks for work that is in progress. The rest of the band files in around 9 am: Ashwin Sharayan, 23, the bassist, Daniel Rego, 20, the lead guitarist, and Jetesh “Mephisto” Menon, 29, the keyboardist. As they eat and listen to half-finished tracks, the guys tease each other like 12-year-old kids. It’s like watching an Indianised version of Beavis and Butthead. For Kaith, the company of close friends is a happy end to a long night. Depending on whether he feels like he can survive the commute back to Vashi without collapsing in his clothes, he either sleeps it off in Juhu, or gets home in time for lunch.