Meet the talented youngster, Kailash Ranganathan, a Sitar student of Pt Habib Khan who recently gave his Gandabandhan (Arangetram) concert in the Bay Area, CA, USA. Here are some thoughts shared by the young sitar player on his maiden performance.
My concert at Woodside High School Performing Arts Center showed me a new, secret place in life, a place so serene and calm that only the joys and waves of music could enter. Outside of this bubble of peace, hundreds of people sat on the beige leather seats of the colossal theatre, their minds transported by the beams of music. Surrounding the little dots of people, the mood lights dimly illuminated the walls with little stars, frugally giving light to the darkness of the cave.
At the front rows, a grid of rectangular orange lights on either side spread across, coloring the walls with the presence of a divine sound. Music bounced off of every square inch of the wall into the hearts and souls of all who listened. Those waves of sound came from the stage, where a platform sat, adorned with cloths of all colors and lanterns with little balls of light peeking out of the holed paper.
A looming red curtain shimmered a crisp, black sign of “Om,” the sacred sign and sound for all major Indian religions. All that could be heard was that sacred sound through the sitar, an instrument with roots in Persia in the 16th century. The percussion kept the pace of the beat, creating a road for the music to travel. Vibrations from the sound flew all across the theatre, going through one’s body to fill the heart with warm sensations and positivity, flowing through everyone and creating a network of golden happiness.
Giving control over my body to my soul, it guided my arms to form a phrase, and combined those phrases to form an entire song. Fatigue would break in, only to be absorbed by a million times more positivity and excitement, the drivers of all human endeavors. Walking on stage with my teacher at the start of the concert, I held hands with him and felt an overwhelming sense of excitement waiting to surge through my body, yet I controlled it and bowed to the audience, a universal action of respect. As I bowed, I realized the magnitude of this concert, the fact that people had come from all over the country just to be here, and that that day, I proved myself worthy to seriously learn from my teacher.
I am usually a stern player, but as I played the ending piece of the concert, the excitement of reality overwhelmed me, and as my soul guided my arms and fingers to their last notes, the energy from my heart released from the clutches of my conscience and surged through my body, giving me the energy and happiness to end with feeling and magnitude.
As I banged the last note and raised my hand, a smile broke over my face as the audience clapped louder than the launch of a spacecraft, and I bowed once more, feeling my heart explode as the excitement and pride shot out. On that day, I transported myself into an enclave of music and serenity, an impenetrable heaven where the waves of music danced in unison and in peace