Tag Archives: music

One Musical Afternoon…Remembering Uttara Di…

On 26 January 2020, while the whole country basked in the glory of India’s 71st Republic Day, my husband Sukhangshu and I participated in another memorable event in our lives; he as a performing artist and I as part of the audience at Mrs. Uttara Dutt’s Memorial function organized by her family at their picturesque mansion in DLF phase I, Gurgaon.

Sukhangshu did a monologue on Tagore. He received a big applause when he ended. The other artists who performed before Sukhangshu and after him also got similar appreciation.

It was amazing to see even the young children perform so confidently without feeling an iota of stage fright.

It could be because the stage had the aura of a wonderful personality who continues to shower her love and blessings on artists even after passing away.

The kind of barriers normally associated with a formal stage did not exist here. Both the artists and the audience were completely relaxed.

Uttara Di’s daughter Sanjukta Dutta and daughter-in-law Debjani kept coming in with trays of snacks for the guests. Some had green tea, while non-experimental people like me had dudh-cha (tea with milk and sugar), which was excellent.

The stage was set inside a large room at ground level with a backdrop of a lot of greenery behind a huge glass window, a room full of guitars, and a huge, heavily garlanded photo in one corner of a youthful Uttara Di playing sitar. The audience sat on sofas, chairs, and on little cushions on the floor.

While the benevolent winter Sun smiled in the clear blue sky outside, the green shrubs and leaves peeped through the window and created shadows on the surrounding walls.

Being far away from the noisy traffic of Gurugram, the place had a quiet and soothing ambience and contributed in keeping the discerning audience engaged with every performance.

During lunch time, we were all treated to delicious home made food cooked in Bengali style.

Being a vegetarian, I loaded my plate with my favorites, shukhto, rice, salad, luchi, aloo dum, chana dal, chutney, and payesh. They all tasted heavenly.

At the end of the program, Uttara Di’s husband Kalidas Da, an accomplished Architect, discreetly gave each artist an envelope as a token of appreciation. I came to know about this from Sukhangshu. This is meant to be a secret, so I will keep its sanctity intact by not revealing anything else.

Sukhangshu told me that this practice was begun by Uttara Di and Kalidas Da to nurture musical talent and their family organizes this kind of a get-together every year.

Being a singer, Uttara Di was well aware of the struggles young Indian singers and musicians go through in keeping their art alive and this was her way of quietly doing whatever she could to help, no matter how small. Kalidas Da ensures that this family tradition continues. Which only proves that Love is stronger than Death.

Here are some more pics that I clicked during the program.

My husband Sukhangshu. See him below.

Now the kids…

Flutist’s flutes…

This young man performed here earlier when he was a small child.

Kalidas Da, wearing grey sleevless jacket, busy, supervising…

Debjani (standing, in blue sari) and Sanjukta (seated on sofa, in magenta-colored sari), taking care of guests, offering them snacks…

Here I am with my Aunt-in-law, Maima, Mrs.Maya Bannerjee (Kalidas Da’s sister)…

With my Uncle-in-law, Bhola Mama (Mr.Bhola Bannerjee)…

Prayer at Work

Every organization that manages to survive for at least 10 years has, I think, at least one good practice that it can proudly boast of as its ‘Best Practice.’

But how do you define a best practice? I can already imagine you asking this. Well, my idea of a best practice is a positive activity that is so deeply ingrained into an organization’s culture that it seems to happen almost automatically, requiring no supervision or intervention to keep it going.

In my current place of work, for instance, we begin our day at 10 AM by standing together in a common hall for a short prayer session. Lata Mangeshkar’s song ‘E Malik Tere Bande Hum…’ is played on the music system and all we have to do is stand with folded hands and hum along. As soon as the song ends, the music system is switched off and the hall reverberates with everyone saying ‘Om’ thrice, loudly and clearly.

The lyrics of the song have universal appeal as they are devoid of any references to any religion or prophet. This is important as India is a diverse country and organisations cannot afford to indulge in activities that isolate individuals.

I look at this daily prayer session as a best practice because

1. This practice is so wonderfully simple and deceptively easy to follow that it seems to happen daily almost automatically, which is, I think, a great thing, considering the fact that every other process requires a strong driving force. Without that force, everything falls flat and things fall apart.

2. It helps employees in starting work with positive vibes towards each other.

3. It inculcates a sense of humility and unity under all circumstances as everyone, including senior management, participates in it.

My organization is, I think, the only car dealership in Delhi NCR that follows this practice.

I recently read an article in LinkedIn about an organization where people have a short dance session before hitting work. Isn’t that wonderful? A great way of staying fit too.

Do comment, dear readers, and let me know about the best practices followed in your ieganization