West Coast Jive ...........................

Place: Venky's House, San Jose, USA
Day: Sunday, 27th August, 2000

Venky puts his feelings to words...


Dear friends,

VenkyIt all seems like a dream, now that I think of it! Probably, a reverie that I would like to revisit (I wish I had H.G.Well’s time machine, equipped with a rewind button!) so that I could go back in time as many times as I wished! I had been on tenterhooks the day Atish mailed me that he would be in San Jose and would like to meet us all if possible (the polite man that he is!!). Let me be frank! The feelings were more pronounced because the East Coast Andolan was discussed with so much gusto amongst our members that I wanted something similar if not equal (bug of envy???)

Came 26th of August, which made me get up as early as possible and get down to the nitty-gritty! As a first move, I went to the nearest music shop and rented a Conga for two days! There were frantic calls between myself, Subhajit, Sourav and Pranav! There was an element of animated suspense when Subhajit, Sourav and I rushed to the San Jose airport only to find that their intended flight was cancelled! Speculations went rife (will they/won’t they…) and I was calmed by my friends that come whatever may, Atish/Shashi would arrive in the next flight! Another 3 tense hours passed during which my wife Sudha was demanding my attention (to help her in the household chores for the coming event!). In the meantime we did go to an Indian restaurant, picked up a few palatable dishes and came back rushing to the airport! Sure enough the two Maharathis were there! Phew! Pleasantries apart, we had to let go Atish with his friend, while Shashi and the rest of us went off to Subhajit’s. It was just incongruous that a man who was ahead of time (I mean time-zone wise) was still fresh as a daisy! And Shashi took the ‘stage’. He opened (nay, parted) his cornucopia like King Midas and showed us the booty. With our jaws hanging, this proud possessor of one of the rarest collections of Pancham Da, started his discourse (…and when Shashi speaks, it is better to be a good listener!). It was almost 2 in the morning when my family forced me to go home!

I surprised myself by getting up at 6:30 in the morning (I wouldn’t, if it were a working day!!) the next day and waited for the folks to arrive! Akin to a lioness that just littered, I was walking up and down the little space that my apartment boasts of! Call from Gayatri (“Oops! I got up late, but would be there shortly!”). Call from Atish: “Kya ho raha hai?” “No attendance, boss!” was my meek reply! “Let me be the first to arrive!” says he. And he comes down straight to my place as if he always lived in San Jose! We did not waste much time and got down to our common interests! I gave him the guitar(s) while I sat with the percussion instruments. And hour and a half of pure, unalloyed enjoyment where each of us appreciated the other’s talents and harmonized with the maestro’s creations!

In the interim, a groggy Subhajit calls up to say “Venky, ham turant aa hi rahe hain” (I could hear Shashi snoring in the background!). Hmmm! This didn’t sound good! Gayatri pops in during our session and politely sits down to imbibe the scene! We were getting introduced to each other when Pranav, Dhruma and the little ones enter (he must have cursed me for missing on his cricket, that day!). More food arrives with them. Atish was charged now that there was another guitarist in the crowd. In resonance, some more live songs followed when Shashi, Subhajit, and Sourav arrive (sheepishly, much to my chagrin for the delay!).

The rest of the afternoon/evening was shared between Shashi’s presentations (I still do have sinister ideas of kidnapping him and the ransom would be… you know what!!) and live music. Before I could even relax, comes the time to part!! Pranav had to leave thanks to his commitment for a scheduled rehearsal. Gayatri was the next to leave (we all are sorry that she did not achieve what she wanted – a share of Shashi’s booty – I too miss the same…). Atish followed (despite my pleas…). We left Shashi to snooze (he must have been dog tired after all the excitement) for sometime while Sourav, Subhajit and I watched the DVD of RD’s songs (it is one of the best and I would advise everyone in our group to have that!). Woke up Shashi, and he continued his ‘lectures’ (as if he resumed from the middle of a sentence, after a pause!). We later settled down to watch ‘Namumkin’ and had a whale of a time just comparing the dialogues with the subtitles in English. Shashi had his own stock of comments just left me in splits! So much so that my neighbor had to hush me quiet!!

At 11 p.m. we parted.

From 2 – 3 p.m. today, we had lunch together (Subhajit, Sourav, Shashi and I) at a Thai restaurant. Even half an hour before his departure, Shashi made sure that we listened to some of his rare possessions. We parted with a promise to meet again (Milte Hain…)

Sapna mera toot gaya…

Well, all good things have to come to an end they say! But then, I will deem this as a new beginning of a newer silsila!

I also take this opportunity to thank every one of the participants (a zillion times) with all my heart for their company, the joy they imparted even though Time was not on our side (Sigh!). Burleigh-ji’s presence would have made the whole event consummate (the only person missing from the West Coast. (My very sincere apologies for not contacting him during the jamboree!). I do not know whether the ‘event’ came up to everyone’s expectations. If it did not, I apologize for the same and shall strive to do better, the next time…

From my side and my co-hosts Gayatri (ladies first, eh?), Subhajit, Sourav and Pranav (many special thanks to Dhruma for her ‘dhoklas’(yummy!) and handling the camera while we were busy…), we thank Atish and Shashi for their lively company that made this event memorable…

Venky Subramaniam

Participants say ~ Photographs


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