In a world where everything seems to be going full tilt all the time, it is therapeutic to be in a place that gives the illusion of permanence, if only fleetinglyI always go by myself, and there's hardly ever anyone I know in the audience. And it's not like a lot of the music is new to me, nor are the performances extraordinary. But it feels good to be there -- reassuring and steadying somehow. In a world where everything seems to be going full tilt all the time, it is therapeutic to be in a place that gives the illusion of permanence, if only fleetingly. I sit there in the darkness, and wonder which young minds are being touched by the poet's words, which souls stirred by his melodies. Surely some young women and men will go home this evening subtly transformed by Rabindranath's particular enchantment, just like I felt I was many years ago, or my mother and father must have been a few years before me? Surely that magic still endures? I sit in the dark, close my eyes, and try to feel my mother's presence beside me. I think of the one time I took her to a musical performance of an elderly and frail Hemanta Mukhopadhyay -- this must have been in mid-1989 -- and the joy on her face at seeing her childhood idol again. Hearing “emono diney taarey bola jaie” for the first time that drizzly evening, in that faltering, but still incomparable voice. Softly singing along, my mother and I. Hemanta babu passed away a couple of months later. My mother left us the following year. But in that darkened hall in Chhayanaut, after all these years, I imagine I feel some lingering trace of her spirit. For those two hours, she does not seem so distant after all. And although I know that this universe is indifferent to our joys and our sorrows, on evenings like these, I am grateful.
Tanvir Haider Chaudhury has spent most of his career as a banker and is now running a food and beverage company.