March 2nd, 2018

Such fun!

Last night we were privileged to be invited for a concert performed by the band of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, and it was one of the jolliest, most easy-going evenings I’ve had in a long time.

The venue, New Delhi’s Siri Fort auditorium, has been the scene of so many horrid concert experiences over the years.

But not last night.

In the past, we have had to wait outside in the street for ages, in long queues, despite having paid tickets, only to be allowed in minutes before curtain up, in an undignified scramble for seats.

No such scenario last night, where we were greeted by members of the ITBP on arrival, with none of the usual screening/scanning, and were escorted to our seats, all with smiles and great courtesy.

The concert was such fun.

Unstuffy, un-protocol-y, despite the dignitaries present, and the emphasis was 100% on the music and the musicians. As it should be.

Under the baton of Major Nazir Hussain, the band (I tried counting them, and I think they numbered 61 or 62) were on cracking form.

They played lots of happy, well-known music, which had the audience singing along at times.

The music was largely western, largely secular, and all of a certain era, meaning it was familiar to so many of the audience, judging from the humming and singing that was going on around me.

At the risk of sounding a tad wide-eyed and impressionable, one of the things I loved about last night, even beyond the jolly, happy music, was the image of India that was on show.

Indo-Tibetan sums up the very nature of the force, but when you add to the mix a Muslim conductor, a Sikh musician, Christian music (“Abide with me”, of course), western brass band instruments alongside a glockenspiel & 2 tablas, well – the whole evening was an example of how wonderful it is when everyone comes together.

And it showed.

The conductor, Major Hussain, had a very affectionate demeanour (does that make any sense?), always encouraging us to applaud the musicians, and with absolutely none of the usual orchestral conductor ego.

So, naturally, we Googled him.  Turns out this man is something of a legend, a composer of over 100 military tunes, no less.

One of my favourite moments was the rendition of “Yeh hai Bombay meri jaan” which had lots of people (your truly included) singing along sotto voce, until the conductor turned round and encouraged us all to sing along.

Which I think the whole auditorium did, with great gusto 🙂

A wonderful evening, relaxed, fun, and showcasing so many amazing things about this country.  I mean, when do you get to see policemen playing the xylophone with such aplomb?!

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