When we talk about travel, we almost always talk about physical travel. But then, if you cannot travel physically, why not do it with the help of your mind and soul. With COVID I think, all us travel freaks would have to resort to that, probably at some point of time. We can get transported spiritually to another level of consciousness. And that is exactly what happened recently with me when I attended a concert, online. I was in Pune, in India and the concert was to be streamed live from UK. This concert was a part of An Indian Summer Festival, UK, which went live on 10th August. The kickoff was with an exceptional performance by Roopa Panesar on Sitar and Upneet Singh on tabla. Roopa Panesar is a very well-known and accomplished name in the classical music circles for her incredible talent. Likewise, Upneet Singh has carved a niche for himself as one of the finest tabla players around. The set up too was beautiful, in what seemed like a nice courtyard with lot of greenery around. The two artists nicely settled on a stage. So, what culminated with the collaboration of these two for an hour of sheer brilliance and magic. It so happens that it is monsoon in my part of the world and at the time of their performance was being streamed, it was raining heavily. And perhaps, it was apt and no wonder it was raining because the encore was with Raag Megh Malhar, which means the melody of rain or clouds. It was a composition by the Sitarist’s guru. I was almost on some different plane of consciousness, where I was physically aware of my surroundings, but in think in my mind I had travelled to one of the places I have always wanted to, in my outrageously lengthy list of places to visit.
That rendition of Megh Malhar set the tone for more fabulous things to come. It was followed by Miya ki Malhar and Raag Bihaag in Teental (fast-paced rhythm). Staring off with the slow tempo and rhythm, Upneet Singh and Roopa Panesar took to a crescendo and ended with a flourish. Soon enough, an hour was over. I wondered how can it be that it was just probably 15 minutes or so but apparently an hour had passed. So I guess I had time-travelled too. Nevertheless, here I feel compelled to mention the fact that music has the power to transcend boundaries of time and space (oh what a cliché) never made any more sense to me than during that concert. And the more I have been listening to this amazing sitarist, I feel that the way she plays, there’s just more than the melody or the perfect notes. I always get this sensation that it goes well beyond just the perfect rendition of notes and composition. I wonder if it is the soul or what they call it. But one thing is for sure, I definitely embarked on a beautiful journey of knowing myself by getting completely immersed in the music.