“I merge into Delhi with­out mak­ing an ef­fort”

India Today - - MY CITY - The au­thor is a clas­si­cal singer

Delhi is the city that I come back to, af­ter trav­el­ling for days to­gether for my con­certs. It is very im­por­tant for me to unwind af­ter th­ese days and I am glad to come back here for that. Most of it comes from the pres­ence of my guru in Delhi, my fa­ther Pt Lax­man Kr­ish­narao Pandit, his pres­ence it­self is re­as­sur­ing. We of­ten sit for mu­sic, I learn new ban­dishes as Gwalior Gha­rana is a trea­sure house of com­po­si­tions, be­sides I do long stretches of riyaaz ev­ery­day; thank­fully the neigh­bours are kind! I also like to teach.

There is noth­ing more sat­is­fy­ing than im­part­ing the vidya, though I take only about 10 stu­dents a year, in­clud­ing In­dian and for­eign na­tion­als. I am a bit choosy when com­ing to tak­ing more num­bers, as I teach oneto- one un­der guru shishya Param­para. I am happy to see that many peo­ple in Delhi ap­proach me to learn mu­sic. How­ever it ir­ri­tates me when asked “I have one month to learn for the au­di­tions of In­dian Idol! Delhi has many op­por­tu­ni­ties to hear mu­sic of all gen­res. This is a great way to unwind. Be it fes­ti­vals, baithaks, haats and the like— we also are blessed with many good au­di­to­ri­ums. I just wish the au­di­ence was more groomed, to come on time and keep their cell phones switched off, for starters! I have al­ways ad­mired the abun­dance of mag­nif­i­cent monu- ments in our neigh­bour­hood. And I don’t have to travel far as I can see them in my daily life— while driv­ing, morn­ing/ evening walks, at­tend­ing fes­ti­vals( where mon­u­ments it­self are the venues). Be it the Saf­dar­jung Tumb, Hu­mayan Tomb, Qu­tub Mi­nar, Pu­rana Qila, the Subz Buj round­about where Lodhi road meets Mathura road. My favourites for walk­ing are Deer Park and Nehru Park. Both are rich in ar­chi­tec­tural mon­u­ments and wa­ter bod­ies, tall trees, walk­ing trails which make them plea­sur­able. I spe­cially love the Deer Park for its his­toric re­mains; the Siri Fort wall, par­tic­u­larly the evening light­ning in the wa­ter body with foun­tains.

How­ever, what dis­gusts me is the lack of clean­li­ness, de­cent ce­mented park­ing lots. I wish there was more safety for pedes­tri­ans. Hav­ing lost Tushar, my elder brother in 1994 in a road ac­ci­dent, I think things have not changed much. I like to sit late evenings in parks, but don’t feel safe. Peo­ple come for pic­nics to parks and lit­ter all around. The same lot when abroad doesn’t seem to for­get the rules. It seems that a bug bites them when they are in In­dia. With sab chalta hai at­ti­tude. But de­spite all th­ese draw­backs, I love Delhi, it is the city I merge into with­out an ef­fort.

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