A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Contents Page: March, 2010, vol 6 no 1


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Kala Ramesh

An Autumn Note

nirguni bhajan...
his out-stretched hand
pins that perfect sur

I remember the shehnai — I remember him — Ustad Bismillah Khan – the maestro. Why, even my kids, who were so young then, remember him. The applause he received for playing the same thing he had played for years. “Some things, one can never get tired of,” my mother used to say.

That day on the dais, when his son began to play the shehnai — a reed/wind instrument like the flute — the Ustad, with his usual smile running into all the crevices on his face, held his hand high. His poor son had to hold on to a top note, steady — a seeming eternity — until his father’s hand came down.

autumn note...
his breath holds even
the song’s silence


sur – means pitch in Indian classical music
nirguni bhajan – a devotional song
Ustad - a learned musician
autumn note - in my view means a musical note which is perfect in its musical quality and emotional content


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