Memories of a festival. The Calcutta Classical Guitar Festival.
In the month of December, for a period of 4-5 days, classical guitarists from all over India come together to celebrate the instrument and its music in the biggest classical guitar (CG) festival in the country. The best artists of the CG world are invited to perform. The days begin with masterclasses and as noon approaches, the masterclasses turn to workshops and in the evening the concerts commence. The days close with after-parties where the students and maestro's interact in an informal setting and socialize.
This story that I narrate here is of my first festival, of how profound an experience it was for me, how much I learned from the experience, and how it has shaped the person I am today.It was December of 2013. I was 20 years old. I had been taking CG lessons for around three months.
After a brief inaugural ceremony, the day’s proceedings began and we headed for the individual masterclass. I would be getting lessons from a fine guitarist named Bobby. I proceeded with playing a Romanza. After I finished playing the piece, Bobby began with his class, and we heard whispers. We turn and see two little girls around 13-14 years of age, talking amongst themselves. In a playful mood, Bobby asks them to share what they were discussing. One, with a smile on her face, points out how the angle of my right hand looked very different, something which had escaped me and my teacher. Bobby immediately acknowledged and proceeded to show me the proper posture and we had a very informative session. The rest of the festival days were exciting, to say the least. We had such amazing concerts, made so many new friends and so many warm memories.
This particular scene of the little girl had stuck with me.
A lot of the times it happens that there is a disparity in the level of importance assigned to ideas and suggestions depending on the place it is coming from. We build our imaginary box and measure ourselves and others. This little girl taught me that a spark can be found in anyone and we need to be receptive and listen.
Since then from the most mundane of exchanges I have learned. A library in motion is perhaps a person.
We learn together.