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Sen And The Art Of Being Euphoric

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Once you start reading Euphoria: The Story Of Palash Sen, reinvigorating rock music occupies your mindspace, enlivening the image of an animated singer swaying to the chants of a raving audience on a smoky stage. That freeze-frame of a concert powered by adrenaline-pumping music still remains the signature of India's first Hind Rock band Euphoria and its leader Palash Sen. "The more energy you give to the crowd, the more they give back to you. And that's a rush. We are doing a concert. It's not a film where you are going through different emotions of comedy or romance or action. We are what we are in those three hours. You have to take them on a roller-coaster ride with you."

Written by Ashish Kate, the biography has been recorded in the form of episodic conversations with Sen. The book goes into his life, probing his thought processes, philosophy, success mantras, karmic action, regrets, dreams and deep passion for two vocations (music and medicine).

So, where did it all begin for Palash Sen and Euphoria? The journey began in the dawn of the 1990s when Sen studied in Hans Raj College in Delhi University for a year. He was asked to work with a band called Night Shift. As a new vocalist, Palash brought a new sound, so the name of the band had to go. It metamorphosed into Euphoria. In the beginning, Euphoria used to play cover songs of popular numbers by famous hard rock bands such as Gun N Roses, Poison and White Snake. At that time, the stage was limited to the campus. The great need to shift gears came when Palash found himself awe-struck by the Chinese band Tang Dynasty and the Pakistani band Junoon. "The secret was deciphered there. If Junoon could do it (rock) in Urdu and Tang Dynasty could do it in Mandarin, we could do it in Hindi. So how do you present rock in a way that an average guy can listen to you?… That's what Euphoria's music is (all about)."

A third generation musician in his family, Sen is quite a circus acrobat, effortlessly fulfilling his musical ambitions as Euphoria's leader and pursuing the medical profession with the idea of helping out the needy. Euphoria's best songs have been a by-product of accidents. They either have a touch of personal experience with love, life and death, or a direct confrontation with the most pressing social issues of the present day.

Though the band has come out with five albums (Dhoom, Phir Dhoom, Gully, Mehfuz and Item) and many music videos in the last two decades and tasted success like no one else, Sen is not at all happy with the way the music industry is functioning. "Recently, we spoke to two record labels who are interested in signing on Euphoria. They have a very simple policy that when they sign us on, they take a percentage of our earnings. That's really sad. If somebody with the kind of track record we have is being given this kind of a deal, I wonder what kind of deals everyone else must be getting."

In the last two decades, the band has performed in many countries. Two of the concerts are close to Palash Sen's  heart. The first one was a live concert at the UN General Assembly in New York in 2000, while the second one was in Pakistan. "I have always propagated loudly that we need to live in a free world and bring down the barriers. It's important for music to cross borders. Music always speaks the language of love."

As a doctor, Sen wants to open a free hospital for the poor some day. He also plans to set aside 10 per cent of his earnings for the needy. He hopes there will be many people who would want to pitch in for this kind of community service. On the music front, he says the best of Euphoria is yet to come. Sen is quite vocal on social issues. He wants reforms in the education system, the end to corrupt practices in the government, eradication of poverty, closer ties with Pakistan, a lasting solution to terrorism and a better benchmark on development.