Monday, August 28, 2006

August 28th

13 years and it doesn't change a thing.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ustad Bismillah Khan

Photo: From The Hindu

"How could I have slept in the cool comfort of the a/c when my neighbour Ramzan Ali poured buckets of water on his `tattar' [made of tin] for keeping the heat away in the summer," he asked.

The he referred above is Ustad Bismillah Khan, who moved on to an entirely different stage to play for the very same ganga-maiyya and baba vishwanath, that were so dear to him. The above quote sort of personifies both the person and his way of life. Many times we hear of great people who led a simple life, but rarely we get to see that in the way they look also. Ustad was one such person.

Long before I even knew what a shenai is and who is its ustad, I had a long love affair with the shenai music that preceded the beginning of any Doordarshan transmission. In early eighties, when I was in elementary school, there were no 24 hour TV channels and I was so crazy about TV. I would start watching a well 15-30 mintues even before the symbol accompanied by Ustads' shenai announced the beginning of the program.

Music has this enormous capability to drown you, but at the same time raise your spirits so much, you feel very much overwhelmed. That over whelming feeling is inexplicable. Ustads like Bismillah Khan gave them in plenty to whomever were fortunate enough to hear their music. After the death of MS, we have lost another of those pre-independence era grown stalwart.