it was a regular Monday morning chaos till the time I received a call from Mom saying that Dad has fallen down the stairs and is not responding. Thing went from crazy chaos to urgency suddenly and we rushed, 10kms away, where they live.
As we were driving, Tarique called Dr. Anup Marar, Director, Orange City Hospital and requested him to send an ambulance. The ambulance was already there when we reached my parents place.
We reached and discovered that dad had regained consciousness though he could not recall what led to his fall. He seemed fine but was still taken to the hospital where he was immediately admitted in Critical Care Unit (because he still could not recall a lot of things that led to his fall) The doctors decided to keep him under observation overnight.
While I was there, attending him, I got to see a lot of things, and i was really impressed. This was not the first time that i was dealing with a CCU team, I have had not so good experiences in the past – essentially because the place is always abuzz with activity and CCU staff is always stressed out. However, at Orange City Hospital, i realised that the team at CCU never transferred their stress to the (already stressed) relatives of patients. The entire staff of young Doctors and Nurses was full of energy, positive attitude and was extremely patient with the relatives. My dad was not critical, but i witnessed them being extremely supportive with the patients and relatives of extremely critical patients too. I observed and was also very impressed with the cleanliness and other protocols being kept.
Dad was discharged after almost 30 hours of being there, and i brought him home with relief and assurance that if there is a real emergency, this is one hospital on which I can totally depend.
It was absolutely divine listening to this 76 year old lady sing and make audience crave for more. “I am learning for the past seventy years, I can sing at least for 70 hours” (sattar saal ka riaz hai, sattar ghante to ga hi sakti hoon) she replies to the shouts of “aur sunaiye” “aur sunaiye” from audience.
Ably accompanied by Anuradha pal, the lady tabla player who accompanied Ustad Shahid Parvez, Gaan-tapswini Girija Devi ji started the concert with Rag Jog, going into aalap’s that floored the audience. In between the performance she shared her knowledge and belief’s with the audience – Laya maya hai jo har kalakar ko uksati hai aur main bhee is se baach nahi paati hoon, main bhee taan leti hoon aur tab main solah saal ki bacchi ban jaati hoon“.
She enthralled the audience by rendition of tappa ”miyan nazar nahi aanda way“ followed by a thumri set in mishra Desh ”more saiyan bulawe aadhi raat.
Girija Devi has spent many years in researching Thumri and it shows every time she performs one. Coupled with good lyrics Thumari sounds more interesting and it is like a dream come true when swar gets suitable words she told the eager audience.
Thumri followed kajri which discribed purush birah in sawan instead of the traditional stree birah – Ghir aaye kaari badriya, radhe bin laage na mora jiya“
On audience requests she sung a chaiti , a jhoola and a hori and ended her performance with a thumari bhajan composed in Bhairwi
Earlier back stage, when i took her photo, she said, ”kheench rahi ho to bhejna zaroor“ and she autographed on one of her CDs which I was carrying. One of her deciples gave me her calcutta address to which I am sending the prints of the concert photographs.
I get goose pimples whenever i see Sitar being performed on stage by the maestro. This was my second time – fifteen years back I heard Pandit Ravi Shankar and yesterday it was Ustad Shahid Parvej.
Ustad ji can make a string instrument sing. My ears are still ringing with the musical notes of the aalap he played in Rag Bageshree teasing the second string with the nail of his little finger he made sitar sound more musical than itself.
The Jod and jhala was accompanied by the wondrous tabla player Anurdha Pal – India’s only woman performing tabla artist and disciple of Ustad Alla Rakha and Ustad Zakir Husain. Her playfulness with the accompanying sitarist was very reminiscent of Ustad Alla Rakha’s and Ustad Zakir husain’s, rising above the role of just an accompanying tabla player she struck balance between the accompaniment and showed her mastery with ease.
The surprise package of the concert was when Ustad ji took break from traditional rag playing and started striking the stings of sitar to “mohe panghat pe nandlal ched gayo re”. It took audience a while to realise it and then everyone gasped when he made the sitar sing the song.
One of the most enthralling moments of my life was to see the noted Bharatnatyam danseuse Priyadarshini Govind perform so naturally to vatsalya rasa, playing mother kaushalya on Tulsidas’s “Thumak Chalt Ram Chandra”. This was one of the best rendition of the piece I have seen.
Her traditional varnam was based on Natraja Vandanam in which she performed portraying Goddess Parvati appeasing her lord and her love, Lord Shiva. She longs to meet him and unite with him in love. Shiv is Moksha for her. So beautiful was the performance that the danseuse herself was in a trance like state transporting the audience to a surreal state.
She is simply fabulous while perofming abhinaya. In another piece based on the marathi poetry “Rusli Radha Rusla Madhav Rusle Gokil sare” Her precision in footwork and poise in the first piece were as striking as her abhinaya, or dramatizations, in the Marathi composition, which was based on an encounter between Radha and Krishna. The piece shows Radha’s anger at finding her lover, Krishna, in the company of other women — and his attempts to reach out and pacify her. The opening, she said, in her introduction, is fixed but the end of the performance is always spontaneous, a surprise for the audience, musicians and the dancer herself as she decides at the last moment what the ending of the performance will be. The ending is different each evening the dance is performed. Accompanied by sour stirring vocals, voilin, natavangam and mridangam the audience reacted with her every bhav – the happiness of love, the sorrow of radha, the pain of gokul on seeing both the lovers angry with each other and finally the joyous union of the two love lorn.
She also performed on a piece from Kalidas’s Kumarsambhavam where manmath, the lord of love (Kamdev), enters forest with Rati and performs his duty, shoots his love arrow towards a meditating shiva fully knowing that will be his end.
Her last piece were traditional Tillana and the performance ended with Vande Mataram – a tribute not only to our beautiful and bountiful country but to the mother earth herself.