This was one of those rare moments I regretted my resistance against upgrading to a gimmicky super-phone that could carry out my every command. Except perhaps go powder my nose for me. Sans my camera, equipped only with a phone that beautifully fulfills its primary purpose (to receive & make calls, for the uninitiated) and some, a last minute plan had found a friend and me at a sitar recital by Ustad Shujaat Khan, as part of the two-week long Jashn-e-Khusrau festival held at a number of venues across Delhi.
It was a magical performance. A near full moon hovered above a head bobbing, foot tapping audience of music enthusiasts in the foreground of the beautiful marbled building called Chaunsath Khamba in Nizammuddin. Said to have been built by Mirza Aziz Kokaltash, one of Akbar’s foster brothers, the 17th century monument houses ten graves, two of which are those of Kokaltash and his wife. It was against this backdrop that the sitarist and his talented ensemble had us completely enthralled.
Though hazy, images from my phone will provide a sense of the ambiance. As will the short video clippings I enthusiastically grabbed before losing myself to the splendid strumming unfolding before me. The footage shows the maestro performing solo, accompanied variously by tabla players, by vocals, and by an ensemble.