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Evening RAGA

The FD Block puja committee hosted possibly the biggest Indian classical music concert in the township organised at the block level on January 2. The initiative brought together legends like Vidushi Girija Devi, Kaushiki Chakraborty Desikan and percussion duo Madhu-Gopal Barman.

“The event was slated to be a part of our Puja and Diwali celebrations last year, but it is only now that we could get all of them together,” said block president Arijit Ray.

About 800 people flocked to FD Park in the evening including residents of other blocks. Though the majority comprised senior citizens, about one-fourth of the audience were school or college-goers and young professionals.

“The main purpose of organising such a concert is to help forge a link with our rich tradition,” said secretary Pradip Tarafder.

The concert started with a soulful rendition of Raga Bhim Palashi followed by a powerful thumri by Kaushiki, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty’s daughter.

Her recital was followed by a jugalbandi of the Barman brothers whose expression of real life experiences through Indian classical instruments like pakhwaj, tabla, dhol and khol created quite a stir.

The highpoint of the concert was the arrival on stage of the legendary Girija Devi. “It’s a dream come true for me,” said Arunima Bose, a Class X student of Hariyana Vidya Mandir and a resident of FD Block who has been training in classical music since the age of four.

The 84-year-old singer effortlessly performed Raga Behag, followed by a thumri and a Meera bhajan.

“It’s been 63 years that I have been performing but this is the first time I have come to Salt Lake. The response of the audience has been overwhelming and God willing, I will come here more often,” she promised.

As the programme concluded, many ran to touch her feet and some pleaded for the programme to continue all night.

“Nowadays all programmes are geared towards the youth and we feel left out. Organising a programme of this stature has been the best new year gift that our block could give us,” said Rekha Saha, a teacher, as she left with a smile on her lips.