Journeys start from desires that inspire. India was calling for us to return and we had a third companion travelling with us.
Colette had visiting a desert village in May, north of Jaisalmer, she travelled with a new found friend to visit a village remote in location, yet connected in community. Rich in spirit, limited in resources, she bought food and gifts for the children. A desire was rising in her heart and one her friends in the UK engaged with and were inspired to be involved with.
No just those who wished us well. Everyone who helped lift, carry and place the 24 kilo suitcase, from London Heathrow, via Delhi, Jodphur, Ahmedabad and Jaisalmer. Particularly the man in Ahmedabad.
After not just helping us identify the right platform, he personally sweated his way up flights of stairs, dragging and carrying the case. An angel who came to the rescue. The big purple case finally made it into the hands of a porter for the third change in platform, and after paying the fee he said, ‘my son is in Houston and receives help, it is my pleasure to help you’.
So, what is in the case....all will be revealed the day it finds its final destination.
Emotions, bundled together, in a swirling mass of excitement, the time had come to crystallise months of internet calls, emails and sharing Facebook posts, I was going to meet Nawab Khan.
When I was last in Jodphur I had visited the Mehrangarh Fort, the only remaining city in India with a living Maharajah. As he had been crowned Maharajah at the age of eight because his father died after a tragic accident, when India gained Independence he became the only living Maharajah.
Putting the Mehrangarh Fort under the protection of a trust has secured its future and its continuing success as a World heritage site, following traditions of patronage for arts and crafts.
One of these artistic traditions is the music of Rajasthan, sacred and soulful, healing and heartfelt, euphoric and mesmerising. And whilst walking through the fort I met Shahid and was invited to a short performance. My first memories of Indian classical music, as many before me, have been with Ravi Shankar, the ragas from early morning to evening.
Listening to the dulcet tones and feeling on a soul level the dramatic effects of the musical tones, I had felt a deep earning to visit the place of its origin ever since first hearing it. Over the years I’d treasured moments at rare live concerts by travelling musicians, topped up with listening to meditative sounds played in clinic whilst working with clients, and now here I was, listening to Shahid, 7th generation of court musicians, playing the Sarangi and then the tabla.
That was in March 2017 and now, after a summer of watching YouTube videos of Nawab, Shahid’ brother, following their European tour, I’m about to meet him to design and plan his UK Tour in 2018.
We arranged to meet at the step-well close to our lodgings and in the bright sunshine of the day Nawab’s yellow t shirt shone bright. We were invited to a home concert and to meet his family. And in meeting Nawab it felt like meeting family.