Kalidas Festival 2011

Parasailing at Ramtek
Tarique Parasailing

After many years Tarique and I  attended  Kalidas Festival this year and not just for our love of music. For the first time, Arayan Wachan (literally translates to watching the jungles) and Parasailing were organized as a part of the festival at Ramtek on 28th February (about 40kms from Nagpur) by Amol Khante of CAC Allrounder. Tarique and I couldn’t have been happier. Three things we love, music, adventure and jungles and an opportunity to explore them together all gave us the push we needed to drop all work on two weekends and become adrenalin junkies.

Bird Watching and Jungle watching was enjoyable in itself but what came as a huge bonus was discovering a Grey headed fish eagle at Mogarkasa. Perhaps a juvenile in search of a new territory (the GHFE was seen again at the same spot 2 weeks later).

Grey Headed Fishing Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus), spotted at Mogarkasa.
Grey Headed Fishing Eagle

As if the high of spotting birds was not enough, we decided to push ourselves further and decided to parasail. And what fun it was. After almost 20 years both of us got a chance to go up in the sky and the thrill was unbeatable. Promising ourselves more of it, we returned home.

The week was hectic and we worked long and hard hours and missed all the musical evenings of Kalidas Festival till it was Sunday again. On Sunday, 7th March, thanks to Sameer Naphde of Nirzar we got the chance to attend what was the pinnacle of Kalidas festival – An evening with Padmashree Smt. Shubha Mudgal. She presented Koshish- a musical crossover, her new venture of mixing Jazz with Indian Classical music which was a treat to watch and listen to. Shubhaji sang all her popular numbers but for me the biggest attractions were the two unreleased songs she sang (one written by Alok Shrivastav, titled “O-re bawari” and the other by Gulzar Saheb titled “Shabnam”)

Her effortless singing and mesmerizing voice sent shivers down my spine. I and Tarique held hands as she sang this romantic nazm by Gulzar. Set on Jazz; she took poetry to a level so high that only music could reach it. She made poetry look more beautiful than itself, her singing brought poetry to life, and her music and Gulzar saheb’s poetry became soul mates.

Shubha ji's photo by Nitin Joshi

कल की रात गिरी थी शबनम
हौले हौले कलियों के बंद होठों पर
बरसी थी शबनम
फूलों के रुखसारों से रुखसार मिला कर
नीली रात की चुनरी के साये में, शबनम
परियों के अफसानों के पर खोल रही थी
दिल की मध्यम मध्यम हलचल में जैसे
दो रूहें तैर रहीं थीं
जैसे अपने नाज़ुक पंखों पर
आकाश को तोल रही हों
कल की रात बड़ी उजली थी
कल की रात उजले थे सपने
कल की रात तेरे संग गुज़री

My prized possession

I was lucky to meet Subhaji before the concert and so awestruck was I that I could not even tell her that I have been her fan for a long long time and have all her albums (all but one -“Ali more angana” It’s under litigation I learnt) But she was gracious and kind enough to sign two album covers for me.

Subhaji’s  awesome Koshish team included Dr. Aneesh Pradhan,  Mr. Sudheer Nayak,  Mr. Pratap Rath, and the Jazz musicians Mr. Joaquim Dias, Mr.Benoni Soans,  Mr. Berry D’Silva and our own Nitin Joshi. It was lovely to meet Nitin after a long time.