I am really fortunate. Exactly two months ago, on October 12, I met him at his residence in San Diego. I was on a performance tour of the U.S. He was his cheerful self, despite being unwell. He cracked jokes, reminisced about his early years in India and spoke fondly of artistes he had performed with.
Panditji was always concerned about the changing musical scenario and the opportunities for young artistes. We musicians will be indebted to him for making our art known the world over. Without resorting to gimmickry, he came up with a unique and universally appealing style.
Quite a few times, I have been stopped at the Customs in foreign countries when they saw me carrying the santoor. But when I told them it is an Indian instrument, believe it or not, their immediate response was: is it the same as the one Ravi Shankar plays? This explains it all.