Sunday, October 08, 2006

Thank you for the music!
Sharodotsav 2006. Nobomi evening. Dhunuchi competition. A heady cocktail of dhuno and dhak in the air. The maestro is in his elements. He wields his drumsticks like Zubin Mehta’s baton. He dictates the tempo for the participants as they keep step to his rhythm, balancing one, two, three… even five earthen urns at once. The soft staccato roll swells into a rousing crescendo. ‘Bolo Durga Mai ki, Jai!’ The maestro pauses to catch his breath. His body can no longer keep pace with his drum. It was one distant autumn when he had taken the train to Kolkata, hoping to make some money during the four days of annual revelry. And every Durga Puja since then has been spent away from his family, accompanying the priests with his percussion. He has seen durgotsav go from banidi exclusivity to barowari eclecticism. He’d have liked to see more, but knows he’d probably have to make way for some young pretender next year. But, that doesn’t stop him from giving one last virtuoso performance.
Aschhey bochhor abar hobe!
But will he be there next year?

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