It was compulsory for teachers to attend the inauguration of MIT’s Vishwashanti Sangeet Academy. But my day was made when I saw Ustad Amjad Ali Khan ascend the stairs. With his characteristic humility, he acknowledged all those waiting on the sides, unlike many others who obliviously walked by. Unembarrassed by his outdated chivalry, he remained standing for as long as his wife was standing. He spoke briefly, boring none with long-winded, irrelevant speeches.
I felt like a school-girl meeting a film-star when I saw him up close. My colleagues made fun of me, and I enjoyed that too – like a school-girl again.
There he stood, dignified, poised, smiling. He didn’t even play. He sat beside his wife and listened to long speeches in Marathi, not even in the limelight – because Lata Mangeshkar was in the limelight.
There has to be something special about a man who, even without the instrument that seems to be part of him, is so surrounded by the magic of his music that it makes the audience glow.
There’s something about him that made me feel, quite simply, happy.