Calcutta, Oct. 16: Pandit Ravi Shankar is in a hospital in the US and is being treated for a lung problem, a source close to the family said.
When The Telegraph called Hospital Encinitas in San Diego, California, and spoke to the sitar maestro’s wife Sukanya, she said: “Panditji is slightly better now. He has been here for two weeks.”
Asked what he was suffering from, Sukanya only said: “Please pray for him.”
The source said Ravi Shankar, 86, is admitted in the intensive care unit of the hospital but has been feeling a little better for the past three days and has started to take food.
Next-door neighbours took him to the hospital, seven-eight minutes’ drive from his home at Encinitas, a coastal community of 59,000 residents, 25 miles from downtown San Diego. Ravi Shankar spends part of his time in the US and the other part in India.
According to the source, he is known to have a cardiac problem but this time he had a bad cough and was diagnosed with a lung infection.
As news of his illness became known worried family members in Calcutta called his home but there was no response. “We were very concerned as the phone went on ringing. We did not even know about his illness,” said Tanusree Shankar, the daughter-in-law of his elder brother the late Uday Shankar.
In less than a month, Ravi Shankar has cancelled two concerts where he was supposed to play with daughter Anoushka in the US. The first was on September 22 at Syracuse University and the second at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Centre in Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 3.
The reason cited for cancelling the second programme, which would have been the fourth on a North American tour by the father-daughter team, was that the maestro had had a shoulder injury.
In an interview last year, he had said: “I will keep playing as long as my body lets me, and as long as I’m wanted by my listeners.
“Because music is the only thing that keeps me going.”