The Week, May 2012
After a long time, I met the legendary Lata Mangeshkar (Lata Didi as I address her) at Mukesh Ambani’s celebration party for Indian master blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th Century. Her sense of humor even at this age is amazing. I sat next to her along with my wife Subhalakshmi and she did not allow us to leave her alone. I have had a very beautiful relationship with Lata Didi all these years and she truly is a symbol of grace, dignity and of an icon stature. The love and respect that she has always bestows upon me and my wife is beyond reality. I had dedicated a Raga in memory of her father; the great Master Dinanath Mangeskar called Magresh in 1990 on the occasion of his birth anniversary in an album titled Arpan. I was so thrilled with Sachin’s request to Lata Didi to sing the evergreen song Tu Jahan Jahan Chalega Mera Saaya Saath Hoga; a beautiful song in Raga Anandi composed by my friend who was like a brother to me, Madan Mohanji. Like every Indian, I too am so proud of Sachin and his achievements.

After a long time I met Abhishek (whom I have known seen grow up) and Aishwarya Bachchan. The day I tied the Ganda (a sacred thread that a guru ties his shishya)to Amaan and Ayaan, Abhishek was also there as six or seven year old learning Sarod at that time because they were all in the same School. Ganda Bandhan is a beautiful ceremony where the Guru accepts the disciple or vice versa. The legendary superstar Amitabh Bachchanji always had serious involvement in music. I remember once playing Dholak with him as he sang one of his very popular songs Mere Angneme Tumhara Kya Kaam Hai in early seventies in Mumbai. His interest in music along with so many other magnanimous facets and love for the Sarod is truly overwhelming. His constant quest to rediscover himself is an inspiration of us and also for the generations to come. I had the honour of spending many timeless moments with the great Dr. Harvansh Rai Bachchan on numerous occasions and also played for him on his request. I have had the honor of meeting Jaya Bachchanji’s father Tarun Bhaduriji and his wife(Bouwdi as I called her) often when we would be in Bhopal. All of us have spent beautiful moments together.

In 2005, I had a concert in the beautiful city of Salisbury in UK at the Salisbury Festival. What was a very rare feature was an ‘In Conversation’ the following day after my concert between the great author and poet Vikram Seth and me on music. Vikram is one of the very few authors who have been trained in Indian Classical music. Therefore the feeling and connect that he has with music is very deep rooted and pure. We had a very interesting exchange on music, gurushishya tradition and on the concept of Indian Classical music as a way of life. We summed it up with an audience request to Vikram to read out his famous poem, The Frog and the Nightingale which speaks about the vicious side of a creative mind! Interestingly, my ongoing residency at Stanford is called Indian Classical Music: A way of Life. This is Open to students with experience playing a musical instrument (including voice) from any musical tradition (e.g., Western music or Indian Classical music). No previous experience with Indian music is necessary. There is room for music beyond technical brilliance and firework mastery. There is a word of punctuation even in music. Appeal, Aesthetics, Poise are all musical terms for me. I am very happy to the progress of the students who are realizing and feeling music as a way of life as my course enters its third week.