Reminiscences of another time…..

Flashback to July 1974 , San Francisco. One of our theatre troupe member invites me to visit the school she just joined in Berkeley .

So off we go in her old VW bug .

It is the newly opened Centre for World Music , a brain child of Ethno-Musicologist Dr Bob Brown.  . With significant financial help from Louise Scrips , of the wealthy San Diego Scripps family , an old church building on College avenue was purchased .

Louise Scripps was an ardent and devoted student of T Balasaraswatii .

So here we arrive one afternoon there . There on the lawn in front of the main building KVN and Palghat Raghu are laying on the grass . I had seen Palghat Raghu’s name in Ravi Shankar’s double LP ” Festival of India ” , so greet him and even ask him to convey my regards to his guru Palghat Mani Iyer .

For that summer session , some of the topmost artistes from South India , North India , indonesia , and other countries had been brought  to Berkeley .

The South Indian contingent comprised KNV ( with wife Padma Narayanaswami and kid daughter Anuradha ) . T N Krishna , with wife and Kids Sriram and Vidya , Palghat Raghu , T H Vinayakram and V Nagarajan ( kanjira ) . Also T Balsaraswati , her daughter Lakshmia and two others whose names I cannot recollect .

The friend who has given me a ride to Berkeley was a dancer and started taking Javaneses dance classes . I was at that time an amateur percussionist and was very must intrigued by the intricacies of the India Tabla . Next to the main building there was a small annex where Table , Mridangam and Ghatam classes were held , on the first floor .

As I wanted to learn tablas , I somehow began taking classes without registering in the school . I got away with it for a couple of weeks before being found out . Fortunately one of our theatre troupe members has just gotten an inheritance and  he gave me $ 400 to pay for the summer course .

So there i was taking beginner tabla classes , I think the teacher was a North India tabla vidwan by the name of Anand Bolas .  So on the same floor Palghat Raghu was teaching Mridamgam and I took his class too and i also joined T H Vinayakram’s Ghatam class .


To be continued …

 Toufiq’s is an interesting account of his 20 yrs in India under one of South India’s most famous vocalists, Sangeeta Kalanidhi Sr K V Narayanaswamy.

You can read the full account of Toufiq’s journey under Artists

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