College Amphitheater

Have you heard about SPIC MACAY (The Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth)?

If your answer is NO, try to search for it on Google.

The following story dates back to 2011. This incident made a lasting impression on my life. I was awakened to the meaning of the muscled word “Power”.

Students were organizing a cultural event at TERI University, New Delhi, and an esteemed guest of SPIC MACAY was supposed to grace the occasion. We were fortunate to have Pandit Rajendra Prasanna with us that day who plays the flute as well as shehnai.

We had planned for the event well in advance and all the arrangements were in place except one. We had completely forgotten to identify someone who could introduce the guest to the audience.

Pandit ji as well as some of his fellow musicians had already arrived on the stage. When I requested a couple of students to initiate the introduction, they politely declined. Finding no other way, I quickly referred to Wikipedia to find a few lines to say about our guest for the evening.

The sun was about to set as I hesitantly edged close to the mic. An audience of more than 150 that included Professors, students and college staff had already taken their seats in the amphitheater. I took a few deep breaths until waves of dizziness lessened and started the introduction.

In order to avoid further discomfort, I didn’t look at the audience at all. I just tried to focus on few lines that I had scribbled on a small paper a couple of minutes back.

For the next several minutes, there was a pin drop silence except for my voice. That really unnerved me. I finished the intro and requested Pandit ji to start playing his musical instrument.

Panjit ji took the mic and said, “I really liked the calm and slow manner in which you introduced me.”

That sentence was sufficient to put an end to my struggle of the last 10 min. I walked to my friends sitting in the amphitheater to enjoy the rest of the evening.

For the next 20 min or so, Panjit ji played beautiful classical ragas on his long flute. He was aptly supported by a Tabla player and few other musicians. The evening looked beautiful with soothing music and a cool breeze blowing across the place. However, at that moment, I was unaware that I was about to discover something so celestial that would change my overall perception. 

Then Panjit ji took out a very small flute from his bag for the next performance. All of us got super-excited as he described few memories about this flute before he blew his magical air into the flute. When he began playing, it felt as if a divine space transcended at that moment.

There were two medium-sized trees on both sides of the stage. When Panjit ji paused for a few seconds after playing the small flute, a large flock of birds came from nowhere and sat on one of the trees. They started chirping as the music had stopped. All of us were surprised except Panjit ji. He resumed playing his small flute and the birds stopped the chatter. Panjit ji came to a halt again after a couple of minutes and birds resumed their twittering. It felt as if the birds were part of the jugalbandi (a performance in Indian classical music).

A few moments later, all the birds glided over the musicians and sat on the tree on the other side of the stage.

To witness something like this was miraculous. Panjit ji continued playing his flute for some more time and the birds enjoyed the music for the entire duration. When the birds flew away, they had already left an extraordinary memory for all of us to cherish for the rest of our lives.

Panjit ji felt extremely emotional and we echoed his sentiments.

This episode unleashed a new definition of “Power”. When you can influence others with your love and passion for any activity, without applying any force, you have discovered a vast source of untapped energy. You can use this power to change the world.

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