Wednesday, March 28, 2007
"You can call me Zakir, Zak, Zakir Bhai, Z, even Ozzy bhai but please don't call me Ustad," spilled the sharp tongue of Zakir Hussain. We could only laugh. Hair disheveled, clad in a faded shirt and old but comfortable looking trousers and sandals he looked a far cry for the maestro that I've idolised since I was a tiny tot.
His eyes veered me away from such irreverent thoughts. Blazing with intelligence and wit, they had me transfixed from the time we shook hands. Those same hands that have caressed and hammered thousands of tabla skins on thousands of occassions for millions of people.
Before all this, I was worried. I had only heard about his shotgun temper and his notorious impatience with the media and I was afraid I would have to face these armed with nothing but a recorder and my own, quite inferior mind. I was proved wrong, all my apprehensions washed away with his twinkling smile. He was charming, erudite and very cool.
Ozzy Bhai, I will always remember my 20 minute conversation with you. :)
(Oh, and I hate huge mics and stage set ups with tons of garish decorations :P)