Waah, Ustaad!

Zakir Hussain: the legend needs no introduction… mic drop.

At 68, he looks younger than his years. His eyes shine bright, his smile is warm, his ‘namaste’ is dignified and down-to-earth, his handshake is confident, and his energy is palpable even after his long flight from the US to Switzerland.

Just before the show – he arrives and folds his hand to say a humble Namaste

Twenty years ago, Zakir Hussain, the legendary ‘tabla’ maestro was a youthful judge at the Femina Miss India contest.

That’s also when I – a young, fresh-out-of-college journalist – first met him. He had a heady charismatic and flamboyant presence.

Twenty years hence, I met him again – and nothing seemed to have changed.

Just as I had seen Zakir ji enter the hall and look towards me, my heart had fluttered and skipped a beat with the same excitement I had felt when I first saw him and heard him play live.

I zip back 20 years, holding on to my husband’s arm and rattling off, “Oof, he is still as charismatic as he was back then!”

I had been telling dear hubby about the time when all the contestants of the beauty contest and a few others were going ‘gaga’ at the fact that the tabla maestro was a judge for one of the contest rounds. I was excited back then, but not in a frenzied way – till he walked over!

The 24-year-old journalist in me came alive – just more confident

Yes, there was something about this ‘tabla’ virtuoso, composer, percussionist, music producer, film actor and eldest son of legendary ‘tabla’ player Ustad Allah Rakha, who now sats at the table, spooning his soup, minutes before his performance and answered each of my questions in his uniquely charming manner…

For the complete article, check out: https://namasteswitzerland.ch/2020/03/08/waah-ustad-waah/


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