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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lady Luck from Munich in South Bombay

It was a day that dawned as ordinary, although sure it was the day when the 10 days of the madness aka Ganesh Festival commenced. I was in South Bombay meeting a friend who was visiting Bombay after two years. She told me she chose to come here because her parents were going to be in town for work. She lives in Munich and was happy to be back in our city. As we walked about SBS, catching up over the last two years, since we never managed to stay in touch in the interim period. Towards the end of our meeting, she mentioned that she was expecting a call from her mom, who was going to be at NCPA, as her dad was performing at a concert. It seemed unlikely but I jokingly asked if he was playing with Zubin Mehta in the Bavarian State Orchestra. And she beamed at me and said a yes! That call never came so we decided to go visit her mom and somehow try to find her, maybe she was looking for my friend too. So off we went, entering from the audience gate laughing at the VVIPs of the city, standing in a queue, getting their passes verified.

There was an Additional Director General of Police, who was until recently one of the commissioners of Navi Mumbai, a popular film director and many socialities whom I had seen only in the newspapers. Consulate cars shone in the evening light as most diplomatic staff stationed in the city was present there. We tried looking for her but she was nowhere to be found. Dejected, we walked around until we came across another gate, and asked the guard if we could, maybe, visit the artist entry. Maybe because I spoke in Marathi or maybe because of my friend's complexion he assumed she was a musician too, he let us in. And sure enough at the glass doors, we spotted the cheerful lady. She waved at us and rushed outside. She complained about her phone and poor reception within the hall. As I was preparing to say goodbye to my friend and her mother, she produced two Passes of the show and handed them to my friend. She insisted that we entered and watched the performance!

Two days ago, while Mr. Mehta and his orchestra played at Shalimar Gardens, Srinagar, I sat glued to the TV set watching them play live on Doordarshan. Although, ridden with controversy, it seemed such a beautiful performance. And here I was, standing on the steps of NCPA, with the prospect of watching it again but only this time, live! The concert was sold out as I had read elsewhere. But my friend was keen on seeing them too so we decided to go. Finding ourselves in the same line that we had mocked at, we were soon ushered into the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre. Our seats turned out to be just one row away from the stage. I looked around and found the Top Cop, sitting two rows behind! I wasn't dressed for the occassion as most present came in fit for a Sunday mass.

There wasn't much ado and without any announcement the musicians appeared on the stage. After a quick sound check, the maestro Zubin Mehta took center stage and the evening of great music had commenced. I could recall some of the parts from the DD performance but I was too mesmerized to take any effort to remember. It was an amazing feeling to watch so many instruments played together in complete harmony. It was only the music and nothing else that bound together everyone in the hall. I won't go into the detail of the performance, as this post is not about the music only, it is about the element of chance that I happened to encounter that evening. Maybe this is what it must be to feel lucky, to have friends who share a bond with you, which is strong without needing the crutches of Facebook or Skype.

After the performance we waited at the same glass door and I had the chance to speak to many of the musicians including the band master and of course, my friend's father. Dressed in casual clothes, a change from the tuxedos, they spoke of the beauty of Kashmir, regretted the very little time spent there under heavy security cover and hoped to come back. Touring for them was rare as Opera seaon keeps them stationed at Munich. I was also invited to share dinner with them, which as luck might have had, was at the Taj. But I politely refused, thanked my friend's family for the great opportunity, wished her a 'Happy Journey' and walked back towards the station. Sure, with a spring in my step.


Photo: Hillpost














4 comments:

Karen C said...

WOW! You got once in a lifetime experience that many of us vie for!

Anuradha Shankar said...

wow! now thats some luck!!!!!!

inquisitiveguurl said...

Wah. sahi hai. great opportunity that was.

Rushikesh Kulkarni said...

Karen, once in a lifetime for sure! I hope you catch them soon! Anu, yes indeed! Inquisitive, :) Thanks for dropping by!