14/12 : Raj’s birthday; since he wasn’t in the city, I decided to celebrate the day visiting Sawai Gandharva – 2008, India’s premier classical Music Extravaganza held in Pune every year.
And what a celebration that was !
Magical performances, Excellent support band, Discerning and equally colorful audience, Comfortable seating, Typically fabulous Pune weather alongwith Puneri delicacies (served hot and crisp) made my day !
Stalwarts like Pt Jasraj, Shrinivas Joshi, Dr Prabha Atre, Pt Shivkumar Sharma, Pt Ronu Majumdar, Aruna Sairam played to jam-packed galleries and over-flowing aisles at Ramanbaug.
It was heartening to see all age groups coming over to watch the biggest classical music concert of the nation. You could see guys with camcorders, women wearing silk saaris – gajras(garlands specially made for women’s hairs), girls sporting their beautiful shawls ….. Fervor all over ! The crowd numbered more than 25 thousand and I felt as if there was no one around when an artiste was performing; such astute silence. On the other hand, whenever a performance finished, there were more than 50,000 hands busy applauding it. Music touches everyone and climax of Sawai Gandharva just highlighted it yet again.
Whether it was a raag, a taan or a harqat, chants of Marathi Bhajans or crescendo of flute, mridangam one thing was evident; it was something that soothes your heart, something that delights you every time you listen, and something that’s only one of its kinds. And then, its not difficult to guess why classical music artistes like to perform at Sawai Gandharva and especially in Pune. It wasn’t a game of cricket, it wasn’t a rock concert ….. and we witnessed an enormous crowd. Mind you, it wasn’t a wild crowd, people were peacefully helping themselves everywhere, no push and shove at all, elders and kids were escorted carefully ….. Truly a family fiesta !
Many thanks to Maharashtra police for tight security arrangements and organizers for managing to come up with such wonderful ambience. Next year, I expect even bigger crowd and little better arrangements and hospitality.
All and all, the day will go down as one of the best and the most pleasant gathering in my memory, Marathi classical saga at its best.
Let me make a wish that the tradition goes on forever and we get to listen to such Beautiful and mesmerising songs and Bhajans …..
लाभले आम्हास भाग्य बोलतो मराठी
जाहले खरेच धन्य ऐकतो मराठी