1st RD Meet at the East Coast,
Well what can I say. Except for ...WHEN CAN WE MEET AGAIN?
But that's not the way to start, so let me begin by saying--A very big thanks to Atishda and his wife for being such wonderful hosts. And a very big thanks to all those who came.
Now a big apology to everyone for showing up late. I had some previous committments. I even cancelled one of them to reach Atish's place early but then 'kambakht' traffic kept me out. It took me 2 hrs and 15 mins to drive some 55 odd miles all of it on the freeway.
But reached I finally did. Incidentally, Atish, I was ringing your door bell for a good 10 mins but I guess no one heard me over the sounds being created in your basement. :) I then effected an entry thru your porch and backdoor. Boss, I could have walked in and out with Shashi's music bag, and no one would have noticed since all of you were in the basement. :)
All the woes and tiredness of the traffic were driven away a short while later with Jayati's rendition of "Dum Maro Dum". She said it was close to her heart and one could see her really putting in her heart into singing it. She had a fantastic backup on the synth, guitars and drums with those guys also putting in their heart into it. Ahhhh man, you folks had me misty-eyed with that.
Unfortunately people had to run back, Shashi had a flight to catch, and probably thought the plane would stop by Atish's house to pick him up enroute, since he simply would not budge, and I had to drop him off to the airport. :) Shashi, I saw you walk into the terminal. Ab uske baad if you still missed the flight, I am not responsible. :)
But before we left, we had two minor noises last heard at Pokharan--one in the form of "Pyar hame is mod pe le aaya" and the other one as "Zindagi milke bitayenge". Good God, such few people and so much energy...:)
Alas, after dropping Shashi. my traffic saga started again, so that this time it only took me some 3-3.5 hrs to drive about 140 miles. I feel tired, but this is the kind of tiredness that makes one feel "Paisa vasool".
In short, "I came, I saw BUT you all conquered"
Thanks also to Rajarshi, and Pankaj who provided such superb backups. Missed the West Coast and the India folks. If you were on the East Coast and did not come out of laziness--well..shame on you. All I can say is "Nyah nyah nyah" :)
And Ajit says...
What can I say about the east coast meet? If there's something like life after death, I can swear Panchamda was there with us in Atishda's house (especially the basement :) ).
It was a wonderful experience to associate a name with a face, like Subhash aptly put it, 'all those known but hidden faces'. Subhash, Shashi and Rajendra were the closest to how I had imagined them to be. I had the privilege of being the first one to make an entry. Imagine my excitement as I was sitting in the living room talking to Atishda as each one of the stalwarts made their entry.
Shashi walked in with 2 bags and the first question I asked him was 'Is it what I think it is'? Oh!boy and what a collection he had. Qayamat, Karishma, Tadap, Gunehgaar kaun interspersed with Shashi's comments. It was a program for the 'uninitiated'.
And yes! Before I forget. I have parts of the meet vido taped. I watched it today and it's fabulous. It covers RD's intro by Shashi as he flaunted his LP's (along with Mangalsutra of which he apparently has 3 copies, are you listening Nil?) showing us the rare pictures of pancham lighting a cigarette, with Anand Bakshi in his music room etc. Then after a quick round of introductions, without wasting much time, the video takes you right into the basement with Atishda on the Guitar and myself on the keyboard with a professional singer singing 'Rimjhim Gire Saawan', followed by Mone pode Rubi rai, Ashok's 'Ek paheli hai tu', Vivek's 'Bade acche lagte hain' (By the time I hit the right note on the Keyboard, he was done with the song!!! so much for my keyboard talents), Jayati's 'Janeja Dhoondhta phir raha' (this time with all the pieces in the prelude and interlude :)), Dum maro dum and Chura liya.
Unfortunately, Pyaar hamen, Zindagi milke bitayenge and Atishda's fabuluous stint on the guitar with Hum kisise kum nahi's competition song did not get recorded. But we still have a good half hour of recording of which I will be making copies soon. The most important thing is, every member who attended was covered in the video.
It was such a wonderful day and I was saying, 'Damn it! It's over to myself while driving back, but with memories to last a life time'.
Thanks to Atishda and his wife Aparajita for being such wonderful hosts and again Aparajita and Jayati for the naan, Kofta, Moong dal and ... Slurp! I think that should be enough ...
Everytime I see an e-mail now from Ketan, Shashi, Ambika, Ashok, Atishda, Subhash, Rajendra and Jayati, I know who's writing it, where it's coming from and isn't that a wonderful feeling?
A Thanks to all of you who showed up and made this event a grand success. Those who missed it, be rest assured there's one more coming soon. Arre this was only a trial , just to whet our appetite, let's start planning right away guys, WOT SAY?
I just wanted to thank everybody for making the 20th Aug of the millenium such a memorable day for me. I enjoyed every moment of it. Thanks again Atishda for taking up the initiative. It was great meeting everyone and sharing the kinship called 'PANCHAM' between us.
Shashi is a live encyclopedia of Pancham. And his collection (a part of which we could have a glimpse at) is ............... WOW!!!!! (I couldn't think of any other words). His knowledge about Pancham is so vast that he could talk about the great one for hours (on second thoughts maybe that is a mild way of putting it.. I should have said days or months).
I think I could take the liberty to talk on behalf of our music group. The sheer joy of performing all RD songs in front of an exceptionally knowledgeble audience, boosted each and every person's enthusiasm to the max level. And nothing could have been better than the grand finale of 'pyar hamen ...' and 'Zindagi milke.....'.
Ketan, better late than never. And this was just the beginning.. So you don't have to feel bad about being late. And the real icing on the cake was talking to Vinay and Nilangshu (somehow I missed the chance to talk to Venky ). Looking forward to such musical encounters in the near future.
Shashi drops in...
Cherry Hills - @ 1:00pm. Shridhar/Radhika drop me to THE PLACE.
The first one to notice us is Atish. And I enter to meet upon Ajit, Subhash, Deep, Rajendra. We move to the bigger room and the bigger crowd - Jayati, Ashwin, Mrs. Atish, etc. The whole crowd is so familiar...and I am so comfortable in this house - miles away from my home...which I never knew existed a week ago.
So much warmth and familiar conversations. And we have some smokers in the crowd...hooray...Pancham would've blended in.
We attempt at an agenda and a place to sit. But nothing works. Everyone wants to talk to everyone...and listen to music.
And Atish keeps calling up India and introducing us to Nilangshu, Vinay, Venky...like a host brings in the various delicacies during a 15 course meal.
And who knew that speaking to Venky - I had mentioned 'Milte Hain' - that we would be meeting so soon. This Pancham's 'Milte Hain' seems very powerful.
I am amazed by Rajendra's 90s collections. He seems to have all those oddities that only a hardcore Panchamite would collect. And look at the generosity of the crowd. Rajendra whips out an extra copy of Gunehgaar Kaun for Subhash before you can say Moshin Khan, the Atish family and Jayati whip out this great food spread as effortless as PC Sorcar whips out a rabbit outta the hat (and we make it disappear as slickly as he makes elephants disappear!), the whole groups decides to play just for the heck of it. A truly motivated crowd!
After the sampling of Pancham's numbers, we come across the Indrani Sen album with Pancham's instructions to Indrani. We listen while the group tunes the instruments in the basement.
And then the entertainment begins. After the madatory initial fiddling with instrument and 'pehle aap - pehle aap' the group goes full blast. We see the dexterity of Ashok, Atish, Ajit, et all. Vivek jumps in with a Bade Acche Lagte Hai. Ashok gives us a few numbers.
And then Jayati steps in. Whoa...what a voice...the tempo escalates. I'm listening to her rendition of 'Piya Tu' and 'Dum Maro' and thinking - this is the voice you need to sing Asha. Many have attempted and frankly speaking I haven't found any amateur singer to have the robustness that Jayati brought in.
Ashok Sharma goes ga-ga on his guitar. And Ajit is very much engrossed on his keyboards to realise that the crowd has grown.
Enter Ketan - who is a casual observer. What a let down! For all those who expected fireworks...Ketan successfully disappoints them with his quiet presence...that is till he speaks music. Then that is a different man totally.
The group now decides to begin some chorus songs...including 'Pyar Tumhe' and 'Zindagi Milke'. This reminds me of the college parties and those picnics to Matheran, Lonavala, Khandala. We sang till we had sore throats. And who cares for surila voice...when its chorus singing - everyone is a Kishore Kumar and Pancham in their own way.
Today I can give Raza Murad a run for money on his bass voice - the East Coast trip was one heck of a holler.
And like magic - tea appears. I constantly keep picturing Pancham and Anand Bakshi on that gadda - smoking - drinking tea - composing magic.
I have to interrupt the proceedings - cause I have the flight to catch. Party-pooper! So we troop upstairs for photographs, smoke, exchange notes and Pantera. Adios Cherry Hill.
Ketan gallantly offers to drive me to the airport - this inspite of the fact that he's got a 110 mile trip ahead. On the road - we talk music - find that we have some mutual friends - and exchange notes.
Time for the flight - I make it on time - reach home at around 1:30 am - I am still flying...wondering if I dreamt this weekend. But no - my sore voice reminds me of 'Pyar Hame Kis Mod Pe'.
Thanks a lot East Coast - Thanks a million Panchamites - it will be a trip I will cherish in my memories.
As already been mentioned, what a wonderful day we had in Atish's place..entire credit goes to Atish for his admirable effort to conceive this idea and making it a huge success..surely it opens the way for future musical gatherings..(i heard someone already talking about West Coast meet :-))
It was really my pleasure to meet big maharathi like Shashi, Ketan, Ajit, underdog Rajendra (yes, he amazed me by his collections), Atish and last but not the least Jayati..what an awesome vocal she got! Of course, there is always a room for making it better & better and for that matter i wish if i could get chance to listen all pancham's bangla numbers and other rare Hindi collections which Shashi was holding so proudly..but then its always the next time..probably it wouldn't be a bad idea for future gatherings that everybody comes out with his best of 5, so as to enlighten the group..One great thing which makes such meeting more astonishing, the way reality hits to one's unconsciously self-created imagination for a specific individual. For example Ketan, whose posting most of the time (well, did i say offensive? nah i didn't :-)) come with so much of passion and fire...yet in-person, he sounds so soft that its difficult to believe him for the same..even to some extent my myth was shattered in terms of Ashok too:-) I am sure others might not have had similar experience towards me as i do look like that stupid the way i write..! Anyway, its always fun to see all those known hidden faces:-))
I wish if i could lay my hands on Shashi's entire rare collection, but just managed to get Raajkumari..a pancham bangla score.and needless to say that i do pat myself on the back every now and then for making a such a good choice:-) great score...i dunno if in my lifetime i would get chance to get such scores, more so when i don't know how to read bengali (or even understand!)
My special thanx to Rajendra (also in advance for the MP3 CD :-)) for providing me Gunahgar Kaun..a score which i was looking for a long time...
By the way, did i mention what a wonderful host Mr. and Mrs Atish were? in fact when i was passing thru Kitchen and saw Mrs Atish so busy in preparation, i did ask her how it feels to cook lunch for almost a dozen people whom you haven't seen or never knew before, she just passed on a great smile..saying that it really doesn't matter!
thanx everybody..and hope to meet you more often!
Vivek writes in a personal mail...
We reached there at around 12:30. Atish Bhaiyya was waiting for us on the door. He is a handsome person with a pleasant smile always there on his face. Sab log aapas meiN pahali baar mil rahe the. That was the most interesting thing about the whole meet. No one had seen anyone. kya majedaar situation thi. par koi ajnabi nahiN lag raha tha. Because the aim was same, the mission was same, just to remember RD, talk RD, sing RD and play RD.
Ajit, Jayati, Deep were already there when we reached. They were all very happy to get the CD, asking for the next version.
Aur bhi bahut saare log the Subhash, Ashok Sharma Ji, Ketan, Shashi aur bahut saare. Aroud 25-27 pancham fans were there. Shashi is really an encyclopedia, he knows about everything, every event related to RD. Just Great!! I was truly impressed with his knowledge and collection of things related to pancham.
After having a delicious lunch we went to the basement in the same house, where all the arrangements had been done to play & sing RD's music. It was like a complete Orchestra having Tabala, Drum, Keyboard, Guitar, Octapad etc. Sab log kalakaar haiN. kya bajaate haiN!!!!
We all enjoyed that journey of music for about two hours. Jayati ji is a very good singer, she sings like a professional. Ajit Bhaiyya keyboard par the, Atish bhaiyya to bade artist haiN. He plays Guitar, he sings also. Maine bhi ek gaana gaya, par wahaaN sab mujhse achhe singer the. I sang 'baD.e achchhe lagte haiN'.
Phir we all had a photo session. I also have some pictures of the whole event in our camera. Bada maja aaya. Tum hote to aur bhi maja aata. India se koi nahin tha mere sivaay. Atish bhaiyya phoned many pepole in India including you and Nilangshu.
Tthe day was full of fun & entertainment, mujhe neend ka ek jhoNka bhi nahiN aaya. (Vivek had reached the US just two days ago and hadn't slept even for an hour since he reached there -Vinay). The full credit goes for that great event to Atish Bhaiyya. He managed everything in a great manner.
laga ki aise event India meiN bhi hone chahiye. Hope ki ye silsila bana rahega. I can never forget the day & time which I spent with some great Pancham fans.
Vivek P Choraria
Meet Detail ~ Photographs
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