Monday, October 05, 2009
Walking through the unfamiliar-- the crowded, twisting and turning lanes of Kalbadevi, Bhuleshwar in inner city Mumbai on Saturday.
Enroute to Mumbadevi temple. Mumbadevi, the patron Goddess of this megacity of Mumbai. The second time in eleven years.
Past the squashed buildings, crunched for space. Tumbledown builidings.Stately is hard to find. New construction dots the skyline here, too.
Ornate building entrances with grand archways, glimpses of dilapidated homes.
Single room homes in crowded apartments that still bear fancy grills, remnants of another age.
Past so many temples. So many.
Raja so- and so- built this temple. These lanes must then have been too narrow for a hansom, did he walk here?
What a strange thought- My forefathers must have walked these very same roads. They must have jostled past these crowds, prayed here too.
Naav nadi sanjog- as the line from the song goes.
Fate- destiny- happenstance.
Maihar band. Baba Ustad Allaudin Khan sahib’s famous Maihar Band (and I touch my ears).
The only orchestra to play classical music in the Hindustani tradition.
The Hindustani system favors individual dexterity and freedom in the exploration of the notes of a raga… but for an orchestra?!
They performed at Bhavan’s Cultural Center, even as dusk fell and a quiet took over the setting. A lake lined by lights. By mango trees decked in green lights. By the palms swaying in lilt. And rain clouds that rumbled overhead…
Swaranjali. Kirwani. Shyam kalyan.
A complete orchestra- from jaltarang, sitar to flute and cello..
What dexterity and co-ordination.
Imagine taking tans and alaaps with every single of the ten performers not missing a beat.
What attention, what restraint and practice must this require! Bravo!
Later, a virtuoso Pandit Basant Kabra performed on the sarod, a lilting desh,
But my mind was trying to recollect and grasp the notes of the desh bandish we had learnt long long ago.
I could not remember, for all my trying—and I never forget words, never…