Over to dinner, the notes of Shyam Kalyan were playing havoc in my head. Shoora me vandile, a famous marathi natyageet has been set in the raga, and its version by Kaivalya Kumar Gurav in the video above was running like a never ending tape in my head. All for the good, as such records make you hum the swaras, and get the foundations of understanding atleast solid. So, I was busy humming my way through Shyam Kalyan on my way home when suddenly another almost numbing thought struck my mind. This is not the first or the only Shyam Kalyan I have adored so much.
Shyam and Kalyan- were two names given to my grandfather.(Mothers father). His official name was Kalyan, but all his siblings and cousins and friends called him Shyam. I do not know who named him so, but whoever did, was absolutely correct in naming him that way. As far as I know, I barely know anyone from the Chaphekar side of my family who is deeply rooted into Indian Classical Music to name one of its members in the way he has been. Whether the name was kept knowingly or unknowingly, for me it does not matter- for the name was apt. My grandfather, like the nature of the raga was very very sweet. Infact, I would not think twice to say that he was the sweetest person I have ever met. For 23 years of my life, he was always looked upon as the most selfless man, a true friend, a loving husband, an even more loving father and an ever caring grandfather. He passed away a couple of years ago, but he lives forever in our hearts through uncountable memories which will always be cherished. I am just sharing a few of them.
Ajoba, as we called him, used to stay in Andheri till the year 2000. Every summer holidays, me and my cousins used to go to his place for a months time. Every evening, at around 7, the Flying Ranee- a double decker railway used to cross Andheri Station on its way from Surat at very high speed. I distinctly remember ajoba taking us to the railway overhead bridge at Andheri at that very time so that we could catch a glimpse of the Flying Queen of Surat. Those were some of the very first memories.
Later when Ajoba shifted to Pune, he used to come to teach me science and Mathematics when I was in 9th and 10th. It always used to be a morning session- 7 am to 9 am. It was the time of the day I used to look forward to the most. I never learnt more from anyone as much as I learnt from him. He is the sole reason why I developed a liking for science and maths. He is the only person who is responsible for giving me a rock solid understanding and foundation in mathematics. One feature of this session used to be the fact that he used to teach for 20 minutes and spend the rest of the time calling his friends and cousins leading to increased telephone bills, which used to annoy my mother. "Tumhi shikvayla ala ahat, phone karayla nahi" were her frequent remarks- but to no use! Whatever he did, he could not be blamed though, for I always received over 98% marks in what he taught me. Science was never taught as science, but as history of science, where stories of all scientists were told at great length. Yes- it made learning much more enjoyable.
Another memory of Ajoba that will always be cherished is the way he used to appreciate my grandmother (Aaji) if she made any dish. He loved his wife. And he loved her a lot. No one can ever say anything against that. The testimony to this statement? Ask anyone from my family of what Ajoba said about Aaji's cooking. He always used to say that its the best and the tastiest food that we can ever get as it has a secret ingredient in it- dollops of love. I have never ever seen a husband so affectionately praising his wife. But Ajoba being Ajoba and a total sweetheart stands out in this respect.
There are many memories that can be told, but Id rather not. I want to keep Ajoba to myself too. But there is one last one- a memory from his last few days. Ajoba was not at all in good health, and could not necessarily remember lesser important things in life such as songs and poems. But there was one song that he always remembered- Sudhir Phadkes "Paraadhin ahe jagati, putra manavacha", penned by GaDiMa. He was never a great singer, but just the way in which he used to recite this song provided a complete picture of it. His rendering of the paragraph "Don ondakyanchi hote, sagarat bhet" always used to bring a tear. After his demise, even more. Some songs are always associated to someone you know. Paradhin ahe jagati will always be my Ajobas song.
The Raag Shyam Kalyan which I was listening to a couple of hours ago has been taken over by Yaman in which the song Paradhin Ahe Jagati Putra Manawacha has been set. But its the memories of My Shyam Kalyan that are now flooding and taking over my mind. I miss him.. And this is the point which seperates the two Shyam-Kalyans I adore so much- one will be taken over by something more soothing to the ear, the other is an irreplaceable part of my heart. I know the latter is always there in my heart, but I miss him...