The world of Indian classical music has become poorer with the passing of the great sitar maestro, Pandit Ravi Shankar. We have lost a musician who could hold the audience spellbound. As one who had the good fortune of being in the company of some of his disciples in the 1960s, I was wonderstruck by the preparation he expected from his students before a concert. They were expected to get three tanpuras synchronised hours before the performance. While he used to get annoyed with them at the slightest sign of imperfection, he was very kind at heart and would pacify them immediately.
When we once approached him for a charity performance to collect funds for a school in Kolkata, he readily agreed. Although he could not perform on the scheduled day, he deputed his senior disciples and ensured that the show was a great success.
Pandit Ravi Shankar was synonymous with the sitar. Although the sitar maestro lent support to ‘fusion’ music, he remained a pure classical musician. One will always remember Ravi Shankar as an ever-smiling sitar player with flowing hair! His death is no doubt a great loss to the music world but we are glad he lived a full life.
Ravi Shankar was one whose music could produce any emotion at will, and turn back time. His unalloyed smile was testimony to the happy heart with which he played. Panditji was in a league of his own. It is perhaps time for the gods to soak in his magic!