Ronu Mazumdar is in search of the silences at the core of pure notes.Pandit Ronu Mazumdar seems to have reached a point where he is contemplating becoming a pure musical medium for the divine notes, like his flute. "It takes a long time to give a note various shades in different ragas, to get the feeling of bliss and to share it with listeners," said the flautist before a concert he gave recently in Varanasi on the occasion of the convocation ceremony at Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth. "For, the true notes are where the deeper silence is." Ronu da, as he is popularly known among his admirers, presented raga Saraswati, which is an uncommon, less popular raga of the Vachaspati ang. Rarely heard, over the past decade, this raga is associated in the memory of Varanasi's music lovers with the voice of Prabha Atre. In his exposition, Ronu da emphasised classically the true notes of Saraswati: Tivra Madhyam and Komal Nishad. "This raga is not commonly known and very old. One always presents this in a very traditional way, but any raga, old or new, can reveal its intrinsic beauty and inner content if we bow down before that raga in a sublime manner," he said, before letting his long flute, named the Shankha Vanshi, speak for him. Initially inspired by his father Bhanu Mazumdar, Ronu da learned the musical nuances from his Guru Vijay Raghav Rao. Then he cultivated the various and deeper aspects of gayaki under Pandit Laxman Das Jaipurwale, and finally, he became a disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar. "He pointed out to me first to use the beauty of andolan while improvising a particular note, for no flautist in Indian classical music uses this very art in flute. The shades of a note vary in different ragas. The beauty of Dhaiwat in Marwa is not the Dhaiwat of Saraswati. Similarly, the use of Komal Rishabh in Bhairav is not the same as in Purvi, Marwa or in Todi. My guru ji Laxman Das ji taught me how to play a bandish on this kind of an instrument, known as a Susir Vadya. That's why people like my style in flute," he explained. It is widely accepted that after Pandit Pannalal Ghosh of the Maihar gharana, the andolan technique is hardly used. Even Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia uses kana during the alap of the raga. His attitude is not one of gimmickry and he prefers to explore the beauty and the central theme of a particular raga while elaborating it in the alap portion. "The beauty of Yaman or Yaman Kalyan manifests in the madhya saptak (middle octave). If we take it up in some other octave, we will lose its beauty," said Mazumdar. "When an artiste lacks in sadhana (practice) and taleem (training), he shifts easily to gimmicks, but one can use this in a most modern musical way." After presenting raga Saraswati, he played raga Darbari Kanhada with a Pahadi dhun same as in Vidyapith. One can easily visualise the sad tones in this sweet melody as he deliberately used the soft notes, "To beautify a raga, the innermost tone of pain is essential just to give anand (bliss) to the listeners. They feel anand in place of the deeper pain."