Fusion fun

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By A school's annual day that had everything from plays to prizes. Plus Dhun, not dhokla, was the most delicious part of a Gujarati meet in the capital ACHINTYA GANGULY
  • Published 8.01.13

The theme was writ large on the stage. Oxford Public School, Ranchi, dedicated its annual day — celebrated on the campus on January 5 — to a fusion of myriad things. And everything, right from the stage to the performances, upheld this theme.

The background of the stage had a collage of human figures and musical instruments. Figures clad in western dresses with a set of drums shared space with the ones in local attires and traditional musical instruments.

“It’s a fusion. The programme itself is all about this theme,” said Father Alex Ekka, director of XISS, Ranchi, who was the chief guest on the occasion. “The education should also be a fusion of all things, incorporating the best of everything,” he added.

He was right. The cultural programme presented was actually a blend of various items presented by students of Classes VI to XI.

If a group presented Spanish Steps, a dance form of Spain, another matched steps with the tune of a Nagpuri song, Dhol bajawo re mandar bajawo, with the mandar for company. Some more students danced to the popular Rabindrasangeet Paush toder dak diyechhe. There were Sufi songs too besides group dances like Seven Waves and Glimpse of Classical Rhythms.

Skits were also staged in both English and Hindi. Some students presented Ab Aur Nehi, a Hindi skit on bandhs that do more harm than any good. Another group acted out an English play, Dear Departed, which spread the message to care for the elderly.

Earlier, the function began with lighting of the lamp jointly by chief guest Fr Alex Ekka and guest of honour Lt Col R.S. Saini, project manager of DRDO, Guwahati.

Headmistress Rashmi Bakshi welcomed the guests while principal Jacob C.J. presented the annual report, happily highlighting the achievements of the students in the year gone by.

For the students, it was time to rejoice and get rewarded for their hard work. The school presented 209 students, who achieved 90 per cent or above marks in exams conducted in 2012, a gift cheque of Rs 501 each. But the class toppers received special treatment — all 17 of them bagged a gift cheque of Rs 1,001 each by Fr Ekka and Lt Col Saini.

Members of Akhil Bharat Gujarati Samaj at the meet on Sunday. (Hardeep Singh)

Musical flight on flute

The 44th national meet of Akhil Bharat Gujarati Samaj at a Ranchi hotel on Sunday afternoon got a melodious bonus when renowned flautist Chetan Joshi took to the stage.

He started with Ramdhun, an apt choice given Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait on a banner as a backdrop.

Joshi, originally from Jharia (Bokaro), has settled in Delhi for years now. Recipient of Sur Mani and Bismillah Samman and known for his classical purity, his tutelage has been peripatetic. He trained under late Acharya Jagdish (Bokaro) and Bholanath Prasanna (Allahabad), besides Raghunath Seth (Mumbai) and Ajay Chakraborty (Calcutta).

He also proved his credentials ably. By the time the audience, involved in Ramdhun, wanted something more, the flautist chose to present Raga Kirwani, said to have its origins in the Carnatic system of music and assimilated in the Hindustani classical fold. Keeping his purist tag, Joshi also chose this Raga which is not identified with any particular time of the day.

Ably accompanied on the tabla by Bhaskar Dey, Chetan bhai charmed the audience who wanted more.

When the flautist wanted to wrap up, thinking that the audience would want their lunch, it clamoured for more notes, not the platter on the menu.

The artiste then played a Banarasi dhun that had the audience glued to their seats.

Joshi, who has cut many discs, has also given live performances at many noted music conferences across the country and toured Japan in 2002.

He also sat at offbeat jugalbandis with Japanese flautist Nakagawa Hiroshi in 2004 and santoor player Shruti Adhikari in 2008.

The empanelled artiste of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (New Delhi), Sangeet Natak Akademi and All India Radio, he was also felicitated on Sunday by his hosts for his outstanding contribution to music.