Famous Indian Tabla Player!

It was a loooong trip to Bangalore from Varanasi by train. The year was probably 1988 or 1987. One also had to change a train at Chennai and connect to Bangalore. Two nights and God only knows how many days later, I was finally at the Bangalore station. Literally waiting for my ride to the hotel, a quick shower, food, and then off to get some sleep.

While at the platform waiting for someone to receive me, I saw some people running around with garlands (traditional way of welcoming someone in India). There was a placard with “something” written on it… I say “something” as it was written in Tamil and it could be as foreign to a North Indian as to a North American or anyone else from any part of the world!

One by one every one disappeared from the platform except me, and these few people who were still running around... were definitely looking for someone. Remember, these were pre-cellphone days and thus there was no way for me to reach the organizers to ascertain who had come to receive me.

I finally decided to stop one of them with the garland and ask if by any chance they were looking for me. I stopped him and gave a smile as sweet as possible, and signaled and asked if by any chance it was me... but before I could proceed any further, he gave me a disgusted look as if to say, "I have enough problems already, don’t add to it." And he hurried away from me looking carefully inside every coach that he could.

So there I was, left alone again and starting to imagine the worst-case scenario.
  1. Concert has been cancelled.

  2. Now I have to fend for myself.

  3. My return is booked on the day after tomorrow.

  4. Do I have enough money to sustain my stay in a hotel?

  5. No credit cards for self employed musicians in those days…(that’s another story.)

Suddenly I see these people looking at me from a distance and talking amongst themselves, almost placing a bet on me…! Then, a glimmer of hope as I see this one with the placard coming towards me. He comes to me and signals at the placard, obviously trying to ask me whether this was my name on the sign or not?

But there were three problems: