Monthly Archives: February 2017

From Raga to Rock (part 1)

The cab arrived just in time, as I reached the kerb outside the apartment. I opened the door and greeted the driver. He smiled and asked where would I like to go. I replied, “the National Library”. The chatty driver was quite surprised at the destination for a late Sunday afternoon. And as he started driving, he asked why I was heading to the library, “To relax?” And that got me thinking. Here I was, leading an existence of just getting to my destination, from home to office, then to meetings and more meetings and worst of all, meeting deadlines. I was quite unaware of the day of the week, especially during the weekdays and weekends were there just to recoup or recharge the dying (or near dead) batteries. And this gent was asking, “to relax?”  I suddenly lighted up and was pleased with myself and of course the friend who had invited me to the library. I told the driver that I was going for a musical recital of a friend’s daughter, and that I was indeed looking forward  to the event. I was now looking forward to the event more than before, after the wonderful thought, induced by the chatty car driver. So when I got to the destination, I rushed to Level 5, as I was late for the recitals and had to wait outside the theatre. The usher turned up the volume of the television in the wiating area. It relayed the live performance from within the hall and I could the hear the salutations to the Elephant Headed God. The powerful and confident rendition made me more eager to hear the singer in person. When I entered the darkened theatre, I was ushered in to select my seat in a near full auditorium and as I shuffled my way in, the announcer introduced the next song. The lady at the centre of the stage looked confident, smiling gracefully as she sat cross legged in a bright “maambazha colour” kanjeevaram sari, and the trademark “Malligai poo” on her hair. Her devotion was evident as she deftly juggled the “Swarams” and the “taalams” with a resounding voice that soothed and provoked the mind at the same time. Her proud parents were there too, the father as calm and composed as I remembered him from the last time I met over 25 years ago, and the mother scurrying around to get everything in order. The songstress (yes she was singing like she had for ages) was mesmerising the audience with every song, and the loud and long claps that interspersed the performance encouraged not only her to sing the “alaapanai “, but also the accompanying violinist (who played brilliantly) and the “mridangam” player – who was trying hard to keep up with the changing beats that the girl experimented with. At the end of the performances, when it was time to give a concluding applause to the enthrallers, I was indeed feeling relaxed and I forgot that the songstress was a teenager just making her debut on stage – being guided by her teachers and wellwishers. Despite sitting cross legged for over 2 hours on stage and juggling between the multiple “swarams” and “taalams“, the young lady looked fresh, to take on the world – as she moved from the tiny stage in the Black Box auditorium to a larger one that we all know as the World!

The D Boyz had a hectic start to 2017. the orange season had begun as truckloads of the fruit flooded the city streets and everyone was eating so many that some even started feeling like the hair on their head was turning a tinge of orange – like a person who was taking centrestage on 20 January. And when they slipped into February, they were getting exhausted and felt like they needed a break and were looking for some softer finer arts to soothe their senses. D Street is not very well known for the fine arts – so they trod off to the nearby renovated A Library (a grand building that once served as the TownHall of the then British port city of B). And they were lucky to hear soothing music being staged on the steps leading to the entrance and that got them to untangle their tangled minds and loosen the tense nerves and muscles. The gentle strains of the “Tanpura” and pure music flowing from the performers played magic on their minds. All worked well for the D Boyz as they returned to D Street to take their favourite SENSEX to an all time high by the last Friday of February – 28,892.

As the concert concluded and I proceeded to the exit – I was met by my friend, JP. He looked as young as he did 25 years ago and despite the immense pride he had in his daughter’s performance that day, he did not show it. He was thrilled that I could make it to the performance. I met his humble family and got an opportunity to meet the star of the evening. As I bade my farewell, I remembered the driver who got me here and his kind and wise words,”You are going to listen to your friend’s daughter’s musical performance? It is good to encourage the children, especially when they are family or friend.” And I fondly remembered the previous evening when I went to the Rock Concert Musical Show staged at my daughter’s school. And my daughter had played 3 parts in it. I will tell you all about it.

Till then…. have a fantastic week ahead.