16 January, 2021

We Sang With Him

On the journey to hear Panditji play ‘live’

We Sang With Him

I had the fortune of meeting Pandit Ravi Shankar on several occasions—in college, as a student of Indian classical music, as a concert organiser and, later, as a journalist who occasionally writes on music. Though I grew up listening to his soulful strings, my first encounter with him was in the mid-’80s at a concert in Delhi’s Modern School. The rasik in me was quite disappointed. For his famed sitar was absent, Panditji sang for most of the concert. His young audience spontaneously sang along. However, for me it seemed a lost opportunity, not being able to listen to his sitar ‘live’.

A couple of years later, he performed at my college. This time, as an organiser, I saw him up close, talked to him, touched his feet. He played the sitar all through but I hardly remember the concert. Those few moments with him overshadowed everything, even my deepest wish of listening to him play live. Next year, I had another close encounter at a ballet, Ghanashyam, set to Panditji’s composition where he handled a large canvas of...



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