Handling Mid-Life Issues with Musical Connections

Mid-life issues come in all shapes and sizes. Some buy Harley-Davidsons, some get divorced, some run half-marathons, a few go deep-sea diving and a few others get politically involved. It’s all about the “what next” question. At this stage in our lives, many of us have already been there, done that and are well settled in our professions. The kids are either almost grown up or have already flown the coop, leaving an empty nest of orphan-parents behind, along with this haunting, angst-ridden question!
One answer is to start re-connecting with old friends, family and even the surrounding community; meeting over drunches (drunken lunches), getting together in our homes, doing reunion parties or as we saw on Republic Day, meeting friends at a musical concert.
I don’t particularly like “musical orchestras”. This is a unique Indian phenomenon that sprung up in the latter half of the last century, simply because our four-five singers barring Kishore Kumar were not live performers. So if you wanted to listen to Lata or Asha or Rafi or Mukesh, the usual alternative was to go to “orchestras” where “voices” of these singers would belt out their songs.
With the easy access to music that we have today, why would I want to listen to “others”, when I can sit in the comfort of my home and play original Mukesh or Rafi songs in whichever order I want, as many times as I want? And considering that most of the singers these days are also consummate stage performers, why would I want to listen to “duplicates”, when the “originals” themselves are available to sing their own numbers? Clearly, singers today have to learn to forge their own individual identities.
Last Sunday, we had the opportunity to catch a performance by Shaan, at the UDCT Grounds, in our backyard (we could walk to the concert) in Matunga. It was a pleasure to see an entertainer with such a large repertoire, taking us through his entire range of slow, fast, sad and “disco” numbers with supreme confidence and elan. It was just so much fun.
So, when a group of friends, two years my senior from Sion, called us to a “musical concert” on Republic Day, I went with some trepidation. I shouldn’t have worried! With the first number itself (Meri Sapnon ki Rani), five excellent singers took us through an interesting set of songs from the 60s and 70s, never letting the mood or tempo falter. Weaving this into a common thread of love and friendship, meeting and connecting, was Anil Bradoo, who as the compere was just terrific – I had no clue he could be so good on stage. And I can’t help but mention one of the five singers, Avanti Patel, who at such a young age, is already an amazing performer…a daughter of old friends and hence that much more special and dearer.
And while the songs were about connecting, the actual connections came outside the auditorium, in the foyer, where both before the program and during the interval, we ran into so many people, some after more than 20 years. With old friends around, we continued to linger outside, catching up; we finally left, satiated and happy, musically and otherwise!
So here’s a big thank you to Anil and Renuka, Anand and Mandakini, Ajit and Jaee and Pankaj and Anita. We hope there are many more such “connecting” events in the future. And perhaps now the other ex-Sion batches could do something similar…or perhaps even better?

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