- Vaishali Angal
When Prachi was little, we took her to the labor day camp so that both Sandeep and I could participate. We were not sure how it would work out and if Guruji would be OK with it. But this is exactly why we are a true family. Not only did Prachi listen in with us but also took her afternoon naps right in the midst of students baithak place. No one minded it at all, but on the contrary would pass on a quick appreciating smile at her occasionally. These aspects are something that kept us going and we will truly cherish.
I was not sure what to expect at my first camp. Sandeep told me that at the end of the camp, you will be able to sing but not talk - which was hard to imagine. But surely enough, it was exactly how I felt.
A special thought goes out to Raj, Vandi, Supriya and all other spouses who equally participated in the extra activities and happily offered their home, time and support - including picking up lunches during camps, setting and clearing things up and picking up surprise cakes
Learning from the Yogi
- Suhas Belgal
Growing up in Pune, I couldn't be not interested in Hindustani classical music. However, it was never a direct interest, being too young and impatient. Hindi movie music and rock could be digested more easily. Also, I never had the courage to learn any kind of music nor did I come across any catalysts.
Once I started working in the Silicon Valley, I had time to dispense towards a hobby. Also, listening to hindustani classical music was in vogue in the circles I moved in. That's when Sandeep Nawathe provided the needed spark. He was the first person I met who seriously encouraged me to learn music with a 'you can do it too' attitude. Finally it was time to take the plunge. He introduced me to a 'local' vocal music teacher.
(Learning from the Yogi (contd.):
Still I had the self-doubt about daring to learn the highest form of music. I needed a buddy for this tandem jump. Charutosh Dixit, my friend from the grad school, who had similar interests, was fit for this. And, it was mutual. Mustering all the courage, we show up in a cozy room, upstairs, in one of the residential areas of South San Jose. This house belongs to the founders of India Currents. I 'quiz' the teacher, asking him how long he has been learning music - a modest response that he started it at 19. At 23, I thought I wasn't too old to begin my journey... Then he mentioned his only 'condition' - commitment and 'Sadhana'. Hit us like a missile. He offered to have us observe his next class, scheduled a couple of hours later. If interested, we could try a couple of sessions and then decide. We go home, all apprehensive. 'Sadhana' was still lingering in our heads. Almost decided to chicken out and look for someone or something easier... It was time for chai - so I make an awesome cup of tea. I guess that jolt of tannin did it. We somehow decided to go back to audit the class, and then follow up with our own session. Rest is history. That's the story of how we fell into the lap of Dr. Laxmi G. Tewari.
Over the years, we have realized and experienced the greatness of this 'Yogi', who started learning music at 19 (actually, that's when he started his formal study, BA in music, at that age, while living with his Guruji in a traditional guru-shishya parampara). Guruji has not just been a great music teacher, but a guide in music and life, a role-model, a family member (third parent), an elder, a source of peace and harmony. My association with Guruji has also given me an extended family of other students, a community built with his love and affection.
Music that Guruji has leased to me has definitely added a significant dimension to my life. I now have a primary identity as a music lover. I have come across, met and befriended other great musicians of our times. The memories of all those trips to North Bay for Guruji's concerts are a lifelong treasure.
It is indeed a privilege having Guruji in my life - this is what I think before starting my music 'sadhana' everytime!