Written by N R Padmanabhan, President, Rafi Foundation, Hyderabad Chapter.
PROLOGUE : “ …..in July this year, we had thought of making such musical get-togethers with Rafi bhakts from other centres to join us. Instant response from all our members gave us the idea to talk to our friends in Chennai and Bangalore and spend two days in the company of all the known Rafi Bhakts at one central place – calling the meet as RAFI HOLIDAY. Go on a Holiday friends, take a RAFI HOLIDAY “.
A rose is a rose is a rose……….
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet … Shakespeare.
Thus goes the phrase. Yet, when it was presented to each one of us at the Bangalore Railway Station, the inherent statement unfolded in the next two days only.
The seeds germinated from Hyderabad, where some of us were members of the e-groups in Bangalore and thru that interactive with members from Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Oman, Toronto and the USA etc. It was watered by them and finally bloomed in the garden city of Bangalore. We had thought of making such musical get-togethers with Rafi bhakts from other centres to join us. Instant response from all our members gave us the idea to talk to our friends in Chennai and Bangalore and spend two days in the company of all the known Rafi Bhakts at one central place – calling the meet as RAFI HOLIDAY.
One often wonders as to what takes any initiative to its logical conclusion: The idea? The planning? Untiring effort or focus approach of a select few? Or the implementation part? Each is significant individually but attains the momentum and direction only if it combines with all others in a complementing manner.
This Yatra was a bit different in the sense that it called for an interaction amongst people who thought they knew each other without ever having met! We did envisage a role for the hosts who had to undertake the pains of arranging everything. But at the same time, did not want the “guest” tag on ourselves for it would have impeded our sense of belonging to the cause dearest to all of us –
celebrating Rafi Saahab’s legacy. It is in this context that wholehearted participation became the most essential requisite for the success of the Yatra. That we became one during this sojourn is the key takeaway from this exercise. How often do you meet simple/ uncomplicated people espousing the same cause, not with fanfare but as a way of life?
I am not attempting here to prepare a reportage on the music-sessions. The accompanying photographs will give you a sense of camaraderie and revelry prevalent on that day. As amateurs and untrained in music we all have our limitations; but the passion with which we try to overcome these limitations to sing to an appreciative and understanding audience is the real fruit of our effort. That is the way we try to pay homage to the Maestros who gave us such melodious renditions. Music is all-pervasive and soul stirring. The deeper you go into it, it provides you unexplored insights. You do not read or just hear music; it cajoles and stirs your feelings, your abstract senses.
That is precisely what we were all looking forward to when we started with the “Yatra” idea, a confluence of like-minded lovers of retro music who are prepared to go that extra yard to understand each other, informally.
NOVEMBER 14, 2009 (Birth of RAFI HOLIDAY)
It is not always that groups lose their identities so soon. The way the antakshari was initiated through the random draw, ensured that there were no pre-formed groups. And the way individuals made their respective marks, was to be seen to be believed. The quiz too was keenly fought and a very thin line separated the victors from the vanquished.
The post lunch session devoted to singing, brought out the best. As a coherent and vibrant group, we knew so many people from a distance. But their live performances brought each one of us so close that it was real thrill just to be present in that ambience.
AND THE VARIOUS MOODS OF RAFI BHAKTS – ANTAKSHRI, QUIZ, HOLIDAYING, LUNCHING, SINGING, celebrating the BIRTH OF RAFI HOLIDAY by cutting the cake, GREETING, DANCING – well almost everything that one can possibly do on a perfect holiday.
We missed out seeing the documentary of Rafi Sahab, as there simply was no more available time. We had to cut down on some of the songs of our singers too for this very reason. Nevertheless, the moment was celebrated also for the birth of the RAFI HOLIDAY on 14th November by cutting of a large cake, specially ordered, by Rafi Fans from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi. The evening was rung off by singing in rattling unison by everyone the BBR signature tune – BAAR BAAR DEKHO HAZAAR BAAR DEKHO YEH DEKHNE KI CHEEZ HAI HAMARA DILRUBA.
Our friend from New Delhi, Zareef Ahmed who flew in to Bangalore to cover the two day gala affair has uploaded some of the videos of this extraordinary get together of Rafi Bhakts – you can all see the different videos under this link :
NOVEMBER 15, 2009
Another day. Another group. But the same excitement. And that is exactly how it turned out to be. We are overwhelmed with the kind of support you afforded us. Let this Yatra continue. To bind us together, to negotiate together obstacles, if any and to make us more understanding towards fellow human beings. I know I am talking to an audience who gives weightage to such sentiments themselves. This realization itself is satisfying. No dearth of entertainment on the second day too. Singers had plenty to present by way of choicest of their songs, as today we did not play the Antakshri or the Quiz. Excellent and hi-tech arrangements were made by these ardent Rafi Bhakts too. Karaoke singing with newer tools (internet, audio CDs, Magic Sing Mike with built-in tunes, etc.). Sumptuous lunch too was arranged so that none had any reason to leave the venue even for a short time. Such was the impact of the get-together. An image is better than a thousand words, so here are some of the captivating photos of the second day too.
It is one thing to be captivated by an idea but quite another to implement that idea into a realizable dream. Bangalore, you have done that. You have opened newer vistas of possibilities. Each and every one of you has strived very hard to make this occasion so memorable. Thanking one and all appears grossly inadequate and a mere formality; we are overwhelmed and we are at complete loss to present our gratitude in words. Individuals do matter when you organize such events Yet, purposely I am not mentioning names because we feel that individuals will come and go but the “Yatra” would go on for ever.
The stupendous success of RAFI HOLIDAY leads us to believe that we can have such events year after year and at many more centres in the country. Rafi Fans in other cities who get to read these may be interested in organizing such events within their area, so why not start now ? In the coming years we will be visiting you and also inviting you to be with us all. The concept of RAFI HOLIDAY is simple. It will be a congress of all the Rafi Bhakts with the sole intention of enjoying their holiday sinking in the depth of the most melodious of songs of Rafi Sahab. No speeches, no official functions, no garlands. All the Rafi Bhakts are born equal and will remain so. That will be the founding principle on which such an exercise will be undertaken.
The world is a small place these days; it just became that much smaller. It is also said that you can not stop an idea from fructifying whose time has come. It is now for all of us to contribute to this fledgling concept to give it, its wings. We will give possibility a chance.
Shakespeare saahab, aap saraasar ghalat tthe….. Jab aapne a rose is a rose…..kahaa ttha tab Bangalore walon ke josh sey nawaakif tthe aap. Gulab khoobsoorat hota hai….. usme khushboo bhi hoti hai …….aur us khushboo mein poore maahaul ko sugandhit karne ki taakat bhi hoti hai. Agle janam mein Bangalore zaroor aayiyega !
EPILOGUE : The Rafi Holiday is now here to stay. Friends, each year we have vowed to tke the trip to RAFI HOLIDAY to other centres, to meet other Rafi Bhakts, to expand our horizon and to make lasting bondage. As this new concept unfolded, a staunch Rafi fan remarked that perhaps fans of no other legend would have come up with such a remarkable and unique concept. Well !! We Rafi Bhakts not only do different things, we also do them differently. Do join us therefore, year after year, in celebrating Rafi Sahab.