Night life is not for me. No matter how important or exciting the event, post 11.30 pm, I am useless. Surviving late nights is difficult and surviving the after-effects is even harder. On the following day concentration levels are low, the head is heavy and woozy and not much of what is happening around makes sense. To put it in a nut shell, I feel and look terrible and so I try my best to keep the nocturnal activities to a minimum. Strange, considering the fact that as a toddler I was called the “night queen” because I refused to go to bed before midnight.
Last night unexpected brought to me the possibility of engaging in a late night event. This is what happened.
I got home from work, dead tired, looking forward to a hot meal, an hour of watching nothing on television and an early night. All my plans when kaput when my aunt called my mum at eight. “Oh my God!! Really?? Are you sure? What time? Ok, give us ten minutes, we will be there.” Something had gotten my mum really excited. She is not the one to agree to anything without getting all the necessary detail. She was making an exception this time so I figured it must have been sometime truly irresistible. As I discovered a moment after she hung up, my aunt had come to know of a performance by Pt. Jasraj in town and had found a means of getting an entry to the concert too. I wasn’t too impressed. Not that I don’t like Pt. Jasraj. I think he is fabulous. But I don’t trust my aunt. She is quite capable of possessing one pass and inviting three people to go on it. That’s how organised she is. I turned around to tell my mom to call back and check if the lady really had enough passes, only to discover I was talking to the wall. Mom had zipped across to the bedroom and was rummaging through her cupboard for the right sari to wear for the occasion. I realised right then that where we had one pass or ten, we were going for the show. To put it mildly my other was over the moon. I haven’t seen her excited in a long while. She loves classical music and Pt. Jasraj is one of her all time favourites. Some of enthusiasm rubbed off on me too; but being my sceptical self(I am a firm beleiver in Murphy’s law),I was sure that we will reach the venue and realise we don’t have entry to the concert or we will manage to find our way into the audience and learn we have the last seats.
Occasionally Murphy doesn’t rule and I am happy this concert was one such time. Not only did we get easy entry to the concert, we even found ourselves places right in the front. Ok, so we were on the left side of the stage, but it was still the front row! When we reached one of the renowned pandit’s disciples was singing. I know zilch about Indian classical music, vocal or instrumental but even to a commoner like me, his music sounded good. As good as he was nothing could have prepared me for the real treat. The maestro made a quiet entrance a half hour later and in a manner that is typical of great artists, calmly went and seated himself on the floor, amongst the audience. Very low key. I liked that a lot. A short while later, he proceeded to the stage and began singing. He was mesmerising. I have never heard someone with such perfect control over his voice. When you watch him singing two things happen-a) you are spell bound and a little in shock and b) you marvel at how anyone can do such acrobatics with his vocal cords. And do it with such ease- almost effortlessly. This wasn’t perfection, this was beyond perfection. Even if I spent years and years trying to learn singing, I (or anyone else for that matter) could never be so good. You have to be blesses to be able to sing that way.
The amazing thing about Pt. Jasraj was that in actuality, he was an easy-going, simple and approachable person. He’s fantabulous at his craft and surprisingly has no airs about his abilities and social status and to top it all, has a sense of humour! Certainly not what you expect out of someone who sings classical music and looks so serious. He was interactive with the audience and sprinkled his performance with well-spaced genuinely funny one-liners. At one point during the performance he was waiting for his coffee to arrive. The coffee never came. So to get his request across he weaved his request into his performance. So right in the middle of this awfully complicated raag he sang “meri coffee nahi aa rahi” in the tune of the raag. The audience had a hearty laugh and the coffee cup made an appearance within 20seconds flat! The performance comes to a close at mid night and Panditji spent a little time talking to the people in the audience. This was a private performance (the organiser was a relative of the maestro and had invited a very selected group of people for the concert) and so there were at the most 60 people; which was probably why he was able to give so much time to interacting with the people. My always-enthusiastic mum managed to get a word with him too.
The concert added to my mental book of memories another beautiful event to cherish. Watching a classical music concert was never an item on my wish list and after last night I wonder why.
A few snapshots of the Maestro working his magic.
PS: If this post is not up to the general level of “quality” I maintain, please understand. I did have a very late night yesterday after all!