I just finished something utterly and completely weird.

For the past two hours, I have been jamming with Mrinal.

“So what else is new” you may ask?

Simply this – Mrinal and I were in our respective homes, dozens of kilometres apart.

It started with my wanting to test out GnomeMeeting, and since I knew that Mrinal had it installed as well, we connected to the net and did our usual “hello mike testing 1 2 3″ stuff.

Now the issue was – Mrinal doesn’t have a mike. So to answer back, he plugged in his Yamaha keyboard, and played back!


Not to be outdone, I yanked out my mike from the socket and plugged in a cable that just happened to be connected to one of my guitars.

In no time at all, we were doing good things together. As a test, I started playing the tune that Mrinal and I had composed a few years back called “Linux Can!” (click here for a 1.6 MB MP3 of that original recording), when all of a sudden, a second guitar joined in!

Mrinal had decided to go one step further – he had plugged his electric guitar into his distortion unit, and the output of that into the mike socket of his keyboard (which was connected to the mike socket of his PC, that was connected to me) and started shooting major guitar licks down the wire – all to the beat of his keyboard’s drums.

“Ah!” sez I, and quickly rewired my connections to feed the output of my mixer desk into the PC connection. Now my guitar was coming in through my (major buzzy) echo unit.

Unfortunately, the dog had wrecked my singing mike cable, so no voice could be added to this. No issue – swapping lead guitaring and rhythm between us, we managed to produce a satisfying jam.

“Hey you”, “Comfortably numb”, “Every breath you take”, “Message in a bottle”, some noname jams – we had a ball.

And before you ask how many mbps of bandwidth we had between the two of us, let me explain to you that we were both dialled in at less than 50 kbps. ;-)

Nearing 11 pm, I almost called it a day to go and see Star Trek Voyager, when a very familiar tinkle came down the TCP/IP stream – Mrinal had started playing “Another Brick in the Wall Part 1″.

“Voyager be damned” sez I, cranked up the echo levels of my setup, and joined him. He then fed his output through the electronics of his keyboard, adding effect after effect.

Oh man! We had a *ball*! :-)

While we were at it, my mother came online, and I briefly chatted with her, telling her what we were doing. She froke! ;-) Poor Kalyan didn’t get that courtesy – Mrinal was just deep into the Comfortably Numb solo, and there was *no* way I was going to stop playing along to tell Kallu what was going on!

Finally, we called it a day – Mrinal’s fingers were hurting, and I had vowed to myself to get this all written down.

So here I am, all sweaty, with my finger joints killing me (my doc is going to kill me tomorrow for this!), but happy as a pig in the mud.

Sure, it wasn’t perfect, and it was more for laughs than anything else, and I missed taking visual clues from Mrinal as we played, but after the events of the past few days, this was *exactly* what I needed to get my head into working condition again – a weird use of technology to do the thing I love to do the most.

Thanks, Mrinal!