Anand Shankar and the sitar
Hello Everyone! This post is about Anand Shankar and the sitar. “Who is Anand Shankar”, (my previous post) in my mind was always a constant cause of confusion. Do I know who Anand Shankar was or for that matter who is Anand Shankar? No, not really. I’m still searching for answers.
The search began at AFMC
This search began long ago. As I clearly remember, it was in those college days that I came across this all important question. I joined the prestigious Armed Forces Medical College in 1989.
The first term or semester at college was meant exclusively for orientation. By orientation, I mean getting to know the college, the seniors and of course myself. We had just a simple orientation program with its integrated tasks and penalties.
So, as I said it was during orientation that a senior of mine asked me my name.
“Anand Shankar… musician aaa?” he said.
I was wondering how he knew I was into music.
“So you are related to Ravi Shankar?” he asked.
I was taken aback. Ravi Shankar was my cousin. He was an orthopaedic surgeon at Bangalore. I was really impressed with my senior. I had always heard that these AFMC guys were very smart.
“You play the Sitar too?” he asked.
That was a little off the mark as I was a veena player. I had learnt Classical veena playing during my schooling days. Nevertheless, I was Impressed.
“Not sitar sir, I play the veena,” I said.
“Sitar, veena same thing,” he said reflecting his vast knowledge of music and my utter lack of general knowledge!
The wisdom of “Yes Sir”
For me it was never Anand Shankar and the sitar, it was more like Anand Shankar and the veena.
“Yes Sir”, I agreed as that was the done thing. Moreover, we were taught right at the beginning to agree to whatever a senior says. That was invaluable gyan (wisdom). It kept me off trouble in college and it was a handy lesson for years to come. If you ask an army man, it is the universal truth.
I knew there was something amiss and when I got back to my room that evening, I sheepishly asked my roommate “Who is Anand Shankar”? There was no internet or Wikipedia back then to fill up the gaps in one’s knowledge.
“You, of course! he said.
Ananda Shankar the musician
It was later that I learnt that Ananda Shankar was a famous musician. He was the son of dancer Uday Shankar and the nephew of Pt. Ravi Shankar the Sitar maestro. He played the sitar too and was known for fusion music which mixed the sitar with rock guitar and other Indian instruments. He has played alongside Jimi Hendrix, a fact which may make an impression on some of you.
Lessons learnt; Anand Shankar and Ravi Shankar were related, after all, the sitar and veena are different instruments and saying ‘Yes sir!’ doesn’t hurt and at times it helps!
So when I met one of my batchmates recently, she recollected how well I played the Sitar those days. I wonder which Anand Shankar she was really talking about. As I said the search is still on!
That’s it for now dear friends. Do subscribe and share it, if you like the posts. Next time you could possibly hear some veena music that I played! If it interests you do join in and get updates of new articles that I put up.
Have a nice and musical day!