The evening was kind to us. A softness in the air lifted spirits and the glow of a lantern on stage created an intimacy that was just right for a poetry-music encounter. The elegant Kala Ramesh, Pune’s very own Haiku Queen and Milind Date, our Master Flautist, floated on to the stage immaculately attired, and struck the first chords in our hearts. Through the cultural aesthetics of Japan and India, poems and Zen stories, the duo unfolded dreaming spaces filled with imagery that captured magical moments ….setting us off on an unforgettable journey to a place from where we had no intention of returning. It was for us an hour of pure rapture.
“Kala Ramesh is one of the best haiku and tanka poets to come out of India onto the world stage in the last decade. She’s a leader in these genres, a formidable and much-loved artist,” says Michael McClintock, President, Tanka Society of America (2004-2010). And he isn’t far from wrong. She is a well-known haiku poet who also writes in related genres like, tanka (five-line poem), haibun (tight prose embedded with haiku), senryu, and renku (collaborative poetry) and has more than a 1000 poems published in reputed journals and anthologies, both online and print editions in Japan, Europe, United Kingdom, Australia, United States of America and India. As a faculty member of the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, she conducts a 60-hour haiku module for the undergraduates. A first in our country.
As for Milind. What can one say? He leaves one breathless with his exquisite music. One of the seniormost disciples of the legendary Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Milind has performed more than 3000 concerts all over the world and featured not only Indian classical and folk music but also different styles of music… Indian Classical Music, Indian Folk Music, Devotional Music, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Fusion-World Music, and Free Music have all been brought to life by him in his own inimitable way through live performances and recordings. An accomplished and versatile composer and arranger, Milind has experimented with several music and dance forms which he has showcased with his band Fusion Ensemble.
In the presence of these two unusually gifted creative souls, we were like deer caught in the headlights of cars, unable to move.
The rapturous conclusion left us in mid-air.
Someone in the audience asked, “where am I?”
“At Gyaan Adab,” a reply flew back at him.
“I know silly. I mean this music carried me away for a moment.”
The lost one was a diminutive woman with a dramatic mop of silver hair which shone in the dark. She looked at me and smiled, “Good stuff, this. I’ve seen a lot of this experimentation in the city. Aditi Deo, some years ago, ran Open Canvas I think it was called, at Malaka Spice, where they had art and literature and music and a lot else woven into one experience. Now she runs The Doodle Factory. Amazing.” She waffled on, singing the praises of the fusion spirit of Pune whilst I slipped away to thank Kala and Milind for their magnificent performance.
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