Twin mothers (Part 3)

My mother has two elder sisters and a brother. Many called them the ‘Mangeshkars’, citing the similarities of music and the four sisters + a brother combination! All of them are connected with music in some way or the other. The most exciting experience is to see them meet each other and get immersed in the music! My Mama  is an exponent of Tabla while all the Maushi’s  sing. Mama will get his Tabla and ask his sisters to share the new song/raag/bandish and this goes on and on! I have also seen them literally cry, when they hear someone sings extremely good! Even if it is a recording! For us, they are one of the finest symbols of how siblings should lead life! I tried to capture their joy in this photograph, when they came together to celebrate my eldest Maushi’s, 81st birthday!

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I know that my mother had deep liking towards drawing and painting (the sketch given below is one of her old scribbles, which I had clicked using my Nokia N93). So much so, that she wanted to pursue fine arts after her matriculation. My grandparents were worried, since this course was quite expensive. In addition, if the twin sister demands the same course, it would multiply the problems (expenses). Therefore, it was decided that both will pursue Arts, and learn music too. This decision was accepted by both, however, I could realise how happy Aai was, when I decided to pursue fine arts!! It was a moment that I lived for her, which she always wanted to!!

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This year, while she was visiting Mumbai, I met a campus girl, who has got an admission at NIFT, and comes from a very poor family! Her story was similar to Aai, since her father (watchman in the Institute) wasn’t able to appreciate or afford her decision to pursue art, and was keen on ANY thing else but art! Being a father of three daughters, he was going through the same dilemma, just like my grand father. I assured him about the career option, and explained the achievement of his daughter, who cleared the entrance exam to get in to the top institute in India. When they met me to clarify his apprehensions in this field, I proposed a plan. I started a small scholarship (every month) to her, not only to celebrate her achievement, but also to avoid an aspiring art student, to go away from the art! Although the amount is small, since it goes directly it to the girls account, her father is relieved of the ‘art’ expenses, which were a cause of concern for him.

I could notice, a calm glow of satisfaction on my mother’s face. She perhaps was happy for a girl, who could now pursue her own dream of becoming an artist!

 

(…to be continued)

 

 

 

 

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Twin mothers (Part 2)

Mukta Maushi and my Aai, being twins had a lot of similarities, they still have, especially for the music! On their 60th birthday, I wanted to surprise them with something unique. I thought of many things which would be useful to them, and make their life happy. However, I was not convinced with the options!

At one point it flashed to me, that the best thing for them could be to gift memories! I took up this challenge, and started to look for smaller details from their passion for music, if I could create a unique memory. I was told that one of the initial music Guru, in Nashik, was Pt. Kamlakar Joshi. He was visually impaired, but extremely passionate about music! They used to have a music group, where one day a week they would have a performance by the members. Also, the interesting rule was to present a new raag every time! I am sure that these performance (although, in front of smaller and known audience), gave them the confidence and the presentation skills, much needed for a performer.

I began the search for him, and asked all my ‘musical’ contacts for the information. My sister, Neelima Bhagwat and my brother in law, Rajesh Bhagwat, asked Umesh Purohit (renowned harmonium player) about it, and he seem to know Pt. Joshi, who stayed in Pune now a days!. Finally, we could find him, leading a retired (but not at all tired) life with his two daughters, Mrs. Shubhada Athavale and Mrs. Sampada Thite. We contacted her, introduced ourselves, and asked for a permission to video record Panditji! They cooperated happily, and I planned a proper interview! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to Pune that particular day, and since the deadline (birthday), therefore, decided to request my friend Kishor to help me out. Kishor Khoje is a renowned cinematographer and runs a full fledged film production house: New Golden Art (preferred by the biggies of film industry for their shoot in Pune). He was thrilled about the topic, and went with his team to the venue.

Panditji, was extremely happy to know about the context of the video recording. He wished Mukta Maushi (her name was Tara earlier to rhyme with Meera), and Aai on their birthday. What followed later, was a flurry of memories, which he described with exquisite details, recreating the enjoyable musical period all of them shared. Apart from Mukta Maushi and Aai, he was associated with the entire Manohar family (My Mama, and elder Maushis too!). He also sang a few music pieces, he was referring to!  Kishor recorded the whole interview in a very candid, yet professional quality finish, and sent the tapes to me. I edited a short video out of that, which I share with you all!

After I showed this clip, on their birthday, they were thrilled to see/hear him after so many years. None of them were aware of his whereabouts, and because of this, they could have a chat with him after many many years!

PS: It was unfortunate to know that Pt. Joshi passed away within a year, after we recorded this video. I added few other shots, and made it in to a short film about him, which I shared with his daughters, who were extremely pleased to have a video memory of the great father and a devoted musician. I am thankful to them for permitting me to share it online!
For the music lovers: The collection of the bandishes composed by Pt. Joshi (Swarkamalanjali)  is published and available online.

Twin Mothers (Part 1)

I always had a ‘wow’ moment from the listeners, when I used to tell them, “My mother has a twin sister!”. To add up to this, I used to bowl the next bouncer, “..and my Mausi also stays in Aurangabad!!”. The listener used to be astonished by now, and used to ask the only possible question, “Where?”, and I used to proudly tell him/her, “Have you seen the famous ‘Thatte Haud‘, on the way to Bibi ka Maqbara?, well that’s where she stays!”.

Some new friends in the colony were quite aloof. They used to pass from the road in front of my house, but never came home to play! We tried calling them, and saw them hurriedly bicycle away! Finally, one day I asked him, “Why don’t you come to my courtyard to play? We all have such a nice time!”. He sheepishly replied, “Your mom teaches in my school, therefore I am afraid of entering your house!!”. I laughed louder, and explained, “The teacher in your school, is my Mausi, and not my Mom!”. He seemed convinced, however, took couple of weeks to believe me!! These and many other experiences, were my early memories of having my mother’s twin sister in the same city! In addition, there were many other unforgettable experiences!

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My mother (Meera Sahasrabudhe) and my Maushi (Anagha Thatte), both of them have a lot of things common, and the most important of them all is their passion for music! Today, as they entered their 70th year, music still remains very much as a passion  for them! Both of them have enrolled themselves for a music class by well known classical singer, Vidushi Shubhada Paradkar. They also snatch out every possible moment for the riyaaz!

Hardship is another common factor for both of them! I remember, the days when I studied in the arts school, and the timing was from 9 am – 4 pm. Once a week, I used to visit Mukta Maushi (her pet name), so that I can accompany her on the tabla.  Off course, it used to be followed by a nice snack, and meeting my cousins over a cup of tea! I vividly remember, how her day started very early at 5 am, to cook and catch the bus at 7:15 am along with her daughters (who were in the same school). It wasn’t easy for her to spare the time and energy for the ever demanding hindustani classical music, but she managed this balancing act beautifully, all this while!

Although, my mother wasn’t working outside, our house was more than a full time (and many a times, a thankless) job! With visitors mobbing the place all the time in the day, all the days in a week, month and years, her job had NO timings! The saving grace was my grandfather (Nana), who ALWAYS insisted on her riyaaz! He used to often tell her that, “This cooking and serving is going to be forever, just get the tanpura, out of the cover, and start the riyaaz“.  I remember visiting Nevasa (small village near Aurangabad, where my father was posted), with my grandfather, just because he used to encourage my mother’s music!

Both are the official singers at the All India Radio, Aurangabad, and strive to present better every time they are invited for the performance!

whatsapp-image-2016-10-14-at-8-59-09-amOn their 69th birthday, I wish them all the happiness, good health, and a life full of music!!

(To be continued)

 

 

 

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