13 June, 2021

Amit Chaudhuri

Sandipan Chatterjee
Amit Chaudhuri

My turning 18 and the twentieth century reaching 1980 coincided almost exactly, except that I was born in May and 1980 was born a few months earlier. I sensed that something was happening to the world. I was changing too. I had become, since the age of 16, abnormally solitary. When I was 16, I was still content in the glow of having emerged from my board exams unscathed in comparison to how badly I’d been doing two years earlier. I had joined Elphinstone College for junior college and to pretend that I was 18 years old. In the process, I’d taken up other kinds of charades and performances: of plunging into the role of the American folk singer, hunched over his acoustic guitar; of being an intensely unhappy, unapproachable poet who was passing through a phase, in his work, at once austerely Beckettian and obscurely allusive. Then, via programmes like Pratibha ani Pratima on the Marathi channels (I was growing up in Bombay), I discovered Indian classical music—vocal music. As a fairly recent listener, I’d never strayed very far from Ravi Shankar....

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