1st RD Meet at the East Coast, USA...........................

First it was the Mehfil in Pune. And then this hugely successful congregation of RDent fanatics at Atish's House in the East Coast, USA. The group finally is showing some activity beyond the e-group. This meet at Atish's has done a wonderful job in whetting the appetite of other fanatics who missed it, to organise such events. Here are the details of the meet.

Place: Atish's House, Cherry Hill, NJ
Day: Sunday, 20th August, 2000
Time: 12 noon onwards

Without much ado now, pesh hai event ki kahaani, Atish ki jubaani...


Atish MitraThe first to arrive was............who else but the Panchamomaniac, Ajit Iyer. He came in with his latest acquisitions (from a store in New Jersey) which included Ghungroo Ki Aawaaz. Meeting Ajit was like seeing a long lost friend. We settled down to getting familiar with each other when Jayati, the co-host arrived. We went over Ajit's stock of CD's and cassettes, primarily since Jayati and myself don't really have any great collections to talk off. Nilangshu had sent us an Asha number, 'Gapagare ga' in MP3 format, which we all went and listened to on my computer, while we waited for the others. Amidst all this Rajendra Patel came in with Vivek (Vinay's brother). Rajendra was on the road for 5 hrs. but he looked as fresh as ever; perhaps it was the excitement of the 'meet' that kept him going. We were still in the process of getting to know each other when we were joined by Subhash. He was followed by Ambika and we were two hours past our scheduled start of 11:00 a.m. Then came Shashi and Ashok followed soon after. Now the party was in full swing.

Shashi set up his swap-shop straight-away and one could only marvel at what he put on display. He had about 50 cassettes, 30 CD's and 15 LP records. He held up each of those records for the benefit of the rest of the group and narrated episode after episode. The crowd around him was something to be seen. Meanwhile Subhash got busy recording whatever he could, in that limited time, from Shashi's collection. Lunch was served at this juncture but hunger was not topmost in Shashi's mind. He was willing to go on endlessly with his anecdotes. And the group enjoyed every minute of it.

At this stage we decided to make a few calls to others who must be dying to participate but couldn't. The first person we called was Vinay, at Jaipur, the man who really brought us together. It was great to hear his voice and thank him for the CD he sent in perfectly on time for our meet. Thereafter it was our turn to call Nilangshu, in Calcutta. It was 11:30 p.m. in India but he was wide awake and thrilled to be finally talking to the guys he shared thoughts with everyday. Almost every member of the group spoke to him and he seemed a pretty popular guy. Then Venky in California was called that was a big surprise for him. He was happy to be able to speak to fellow Panchamites and a part of the feeling that he was missing something good was compensated for.

After lunch it was back to music again. Participants played from their collection of rare gems. Again Shashi was in the forefront with his stuff. Rajendra turned out to be the dark horse here. He seemed to have many songs in his collection which were considered 'rare' by Shashi.

Having heard recorded music for a while it was time for us to indulge in singing ourselves. Ajit got on to the keyboard straight-away and played with the others. Ashok was next, with his 'O mere dil ke chain' and a Kishore solo from Heera Panna which had everyone humming away to glory. Vivek then went up and sang 'BaD.e achchhe lagte hain' from Balika Badhu. Finally it was Jayati's turn to sing and what a great job she did of it. She really charged everybody up with her rendition of Dum Maro Dum, Piya tu, etc. Somewhere during this session Ketan arrived. Everyone was thrilled to see him, considering that he has held center stage on numerous debates in our group. Between each song, however, Shashi would give us a narration on what went into the making of the song, the movie or any other trivia he could think and this made the whole thing very interesting.

Then came the climax. Ajit suggested we do one of RD's own songs. The group sang 'Pyaar hameN kis moD. pe le aayaa'. I can't explain in words the feeling I had, hearing some 12 people sing in unison. Immediately thereafter we went on to sing 'Zindagi milke bitaayenge' and the sound inside that room was deafening. By now time was running out for folks who had come from long distances.

The day was ended, listening to Pantera, from Shashi's collection while everyone took out their cameras and made the most of the opportunity.

It was finally time to say 'goodbye' but there was this comforting feeling that RD's ageless music wud still keep us together and present us with many more such memorable days in future.

Atish Mitra


Participants say ~ Photographs


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