A week into my stay in Hyderabad and the culture vulture within can't sit in one place only. Waat to do saar??? So last weeked was yet another exciting trip across the city - and my सारथी, none other than Mr. Kotha. Of course, he was also playing porter on Saturday. To make amends, we decided to make a quick trip to Geetha's. Ha ha. What a jox. Quick trip and Geetha's. What was tentatively planned to be merely a social visit to the jungle resident, turned into a feast. Gee reminds me of my mom's aunt in Baroda. The food keeps coming out of the fridge like an unending flow! Seamless conversation that began with concerts, what one MUST wear, meandered to Karthik's super brat brother and finally to women and marriage. [Looks like this is more or less the range we're always going to follow.] Of course, there's so much talk about teaching and kids happening, it's not funny.
I'm most amazed at how the lines between Kart and Gee blurred almost instantly the first time I got them to meet. Their Chennai connection was so much stronger than having me as a link, which is seldom the case when I get any of my friends to meet for the first time. It is an overwhelming experience when two people from seemingly different spheres socialise and how! I thought Chennai could probably be a starting point, but they had so much more to exchange, I felt rather inadequate (:P).
But neither Kart nor I knew what the concert on Sunday had in store for us. The Chowmahalla Palace played host to one of the greatest concerts I've ever attended in my omnivoric hunger for great music. Hyderabad seems to always attract the best talent there is. I've often heard of its audience being intelligent and well read and widely travelled. The audience at Chowmahalla proved the point. even when it came to requesting, nothing short of an Amir Khusro popular would do!
That it was begum Abida Parveen on stage brought the kind'a audience that had to be either niche - pretty much mostly the old affluent - or outsiders (that's me!) who had a sense of the scale and concept that is Parveen's voice and area of expertise. I was simply taken by the simple fact that she sounds on stage exactly like she does on recording. I mean... the sound editor hasn't to work at all on getting the सुर right at all! Of course, what hits you as the listener is the instant and constant connect that she established with and when she began every composition with "मौला...".
They taught us, when I was training in classical music, that संगीत is the combination of getting the notes right and getting the thought spot on. Begum sahiba personified the definition flawlessly. Of course, my saying it adds no value and perhaps if I didn't, it would take away nothing, but the experience was made surreal: every time she began a new song, the cold drizzle, that threatened to bring the show to an abrupt end, ceased. That is the power of music, I guess.
Overall, a fantastic first weekend in the city that raised my bar always always.