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9 December 2007

Footprints on the sands of time

This is the second of other long due post. And I had told myself I'd do this on a Sunday morning.

A tribute to Parag Trivedi.

Parag Trivedi who?

It is commonplace today. For investment bankers to leave dollar salaries and turn chefs, for corporate honchos to live the 'social entrepreneur' dream. For monks to give up their ferrari's and engineers to make movies.

But more than ten years ago, when alternative career and life choices were not so "in", Parag took the leap and with a few like- minded people started "Sabrang" to "Demystify the Arts"

Parag was quoted .... "When I was an articled clerk at a chartered accountancy firm, I uses to scream my head off while sleeping at night," recalls Parag Trivedi, 39, who now holds classical music appreciation workshops. This is in an Life Positive interview with Suma Verghese in June 1997.

I met Parag last at an occasional (for me that is) workshop. One of those- I'm in town, it's at the Alliance - chal jaate hain, lets go- decisions taken when one is with friends. In his trademark kurta & beard- it feels like yesterday- his smile, eyes and voice. A large hurly burly looking guy, typical bombayite-when I say this I mean two people who speak the same language- it is almost as if it is a 'caste' system. And one of those instances where the person you meet is exactly as he 'sounds' or 'writes'.

Why on a sunday morning?

I thought it'd be fitting. Because for every sunday, God know how many, my day would start by tuning in to Parag Trivedi's broadcast of Sunday Morning Classics on radio. Week after week.

As a result- on all other days of the week, it can be anything else, the venkatesh suprabhat, the hanuman chalisa, gayatri mantra, stotra sumanjali or even the radio. But, sunday morning it is CD3- Vivaldi's four seasons. As I am an early riser (gotta catch that sunrise) it is my "solitude time" and does not disturb anyone else who does not wish to share my solitude. Sometimes now it does not even matter if the music does not play, because like Pavlovs dog, I have been conditioned and listen to it whenever I get the time. It is not a ritual anymore.

Why tribute?

For many reasons. One for bringing such beauty of music and art into my life in a more meaningful manner. Two, for contribution to this mad city - in his efforts to venerate Saraswati in a city that worships and is ruled by Laxmi. In taking the classical arts to the lay person for almost eleven years.

And lastly, for a person who is no longer in our midst .

My life went into a bit of spin as it happens sometimes with more mundane priorities and by the time it came back on track, I found out that Parag had passed away in Oct 2003.

Leaving his footprints on the sands of time.

( Read the full poem by H.W. Longfellow here)

I am not good with words. Of the things I found online, is this excerpt from a Rishi Valley school newsletter which did a more detailed tribute than I have managed here. Read the whole piece if you find the time.

"India has produced many fine western classical musicians such as Zubin Mehta and Handel Manuel, but none of them took western classical music to the lay person the way Shri Parag Trivedi did. He often conducted workshops for corporate groups, in schools and in the various centers of the Max MullerBhavan’s in India. He gave his life to Sabrang, the organisation he founded to demystify the world of classical music for the layman.

In this, he had had no precursor."


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog Deepa. I just remembered him as I played an old recorded cassette of one of his Radio Mid-day shows - God, I miss him; ran a search on Google and chanced on your blog.

He was the greatest influence in my formative years. An affectionate friend - we spoke little, he was much older, almost a hero for me, and I didnt feel like harassing him with my untested and limited world-views, but an unspoken bond of warmth always permeated our numerous lunches. For me he was god-sent. I've shed many a silent tear for him ever since I got know know of the tragedy; never dared to find out until today the cause of his demise. May he be eternally blissful, wherever he is!

Deepa said...

Anon, though I called it a tribute, all I did was only to mark his grave with a stone here in cyberspace. With your few words, you gathered a posy of your memories and finest thoughts and placed the flowers at Parags memory in such a beautiful manner. The true tribute has been paid by you.

I was very young too. But more that that-I was foolish. You have the sunday morning classics recorded. How wise and wonderful is that. I can only request you to share it and any others and thoughts and memories with as many people as possible. Thank you for your visit and comment. I met a kindred soul- now there will always be one more person in the room with the music. One degree of separation. I can only imagine Parag is in music heaven in peace.

It is also one year of my blog, so your step into my world and comment is extra special. Thanks again. Let the music play!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words. But I too aint been very wise, there was a time when i had recorded more than fifty of his shows, I think the collection has now dwindled to less than ten. I'll try record them in an uploadable format - hopefully sooner than later.

I also hope Radio Mid-Day or AIR has archived his numerous shows, it would be really nice if they aired it gain - I am pretty sure they'd make lots of money out of it.

Deepa said...

Fifty! Poorey pacchas?...

Well, you leave me with no choice but only one thing to say.

Anon..'Will you marry me...?'

Just a joke of course :)

I just could not resist saying it. Today being the look before you 'leap' day too! While 'She married for money' is common- this would be a first - She married for music :))

wolf said...

oh god! If only I had realised then the value of the future fringe benefits arising form those lost cassettes. Mr.Trivedi, please come back, I quickly need to record 40 cassettes.

And staying with the music - "a song in the heart" is a nice way to go about life; "a song in the head", however, results in a headache.

Deepa said...

Anon wolf, Sorry but I did not understand the quote-I don't seem to have heard it earlier. Music and hence song is not of heart and of head. Music is of the soul. It is life.

Staying with quotes,“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”

Do read Naada Brahma:the world is sound. It is a book on music.

LOL...but..Fringe Benefits?!?

wolf said...

I think everthing - not just music - is "life", we take a tiny aspect of it and make it a part of our intellect (brain) and emotion (heart) depending on our current requirement to be emotionally or intellectully fullfilled, as the case may be.

"Life" has to be much wider, sacred and untouched than the convenient attritubutes we ascribe in the name of "soul" or "sound" or whatever.

The tradegy is that we do all sorts of things and justify it in the name of "life", "soul", "atma", "nature" self-actalisation and so on, whereas actually it is self-indulgence and self-fulfillment all the time.

Music (classical music for me) is an indicative representation and a reminder for me that there is an order and beauty much beoynd the cunning emotional and intellectual maniplulations of the human mind - and only rarely do I actually listen without these interferences.

God save us all form ourselves!

Deepa said...

Now I did not understand the whole comment and I have no idea whatsover what you are saying :(

But whatever rocks your boat :)

Thanks again. I missed this comment as for some reason it did not show up in mail. Apologies for that.

wolf said...

You dint miss the comment, I posted it only a few hours back.

And I think i just went overboard. So apologies! Dont ponder too much over it.

May the water flow under the bridge and may the boat rock.

Deepa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wolf said...

Convince or be convinced - is a risky motto, if I may suggest - coz to act on beliefs and convictions, whether one's own or of others - is to suspend one's intelligence in the present and to live in the past. besides, it sounds like a marketing slogan and the sales ppl can never be trusted!

If it sounds like gibberish, please feel free to ignore.

"wolf" is the short name for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. So i guess all the lambs can safely graze.

Deepa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wolf said...

Coming back to music- these movies are worth watching:

"Amadeus" - (on Mozart)
"The Competition - currently playing on Sony Pix
"Mr.Holland's Opus" - currently playing on Sony Pix

DO you knwo of any more?

Deepa said...

WAM- Can't say I do. Thanks for the re-visit.

wolf said...

A very good quote I chanced upon from the movie "Mr.Holland's Opus" - a lyric from a Beatles song played in the movie:

"Life is what is happening to you while you are busy making other plans!"

Deepa said...

The eternal debate of fate v/s determinism. Why are you anon? I normally do not like anon but in this case, any friend of Parag is a friend of mine :)

Anonymous said...

I attended one workshop of Parag Trivedi in Khar on WHAT IS CLASICAL?
I heared of his demise.
Today I was talking to my son about Parag Trivedi and his SABRANG activities.
So I was searching details and found this.

Deepa said...

@Anon Thank you for stopping by and the note.

wolf said...

Hi Deepa - Parag would have loved this piece - check out this youtube link.

Anjan said...

Parag was truly special. I worked with him all too briefly in Sabrang... I wish he had known how much love, respect and affection he earned in this lifetime through his passion and dedication to demystification of the classical arts. On his behalf, thank you, Deepa and all on this trail.

Deepa said...

@Anjan People who die live on in their work and hearts of the people they touched. I'm happy Parag is remembered by some. But it is sad that his work legacy is not available. Thank you for the visit and comment. Hope to see you again!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon this page.. as i was searching for news about Parag and sabrang..
does anyone know if Sabrang exists today? What's their website?

Going back.. this was in 93 at IIT Bombay - Parag had conducted a couple of workshops that just blew my mind.. kind of like a revelation of what I am seeking. I have been hooked on to classical music.

Surprisingly I didn't think much of Parag/Sabrang much.. but looking back I think what was done was commendable. Wish something like that is still on there's still activities going on that influence the young minds....

Please post any links to such organizations.. thanks.

Anonymous said...

I haven't gone through all the comments here post-blog... but it seems to me from a brief skimming that many of those who've posted here, including the bloggers have been some way or other touched by the magnificence of Parag! I couldn't agree more with the Rishi Valley note that quite neatly brings to light his role... "outsiders" to the music of a different world couldn't have benefited by its acquaintance & habituation but for a "messaiah" like Parag... he was a friend & inspirational figure... a hero... like somone else also here has said. I'd harboured ideas of joining him in his venture some time... somehow... it got dashed with his passing... but as I am to find out soon, such things don't die as mortals like us do... I am on the verge of staring humbly in my own way, a version of what Parag used to do... and ahead of that, I casually browsed the net for Parag to just "see" what kind of "net" presence he has. It's nice to find this... as well as a bit of a strain on heart where memories affect... I can't forget that late October day 6 years ago when I got the news... well, time flies! I'm sure Parag's blessings are with me... of course there'll be liberal doses of his booming voice carrying wit, criticism... & what not... I know I can never quite match up... but... let's see, Parag's still out there somewhere to guide me.

Deepa said...

@anon 1 and @anon2 Sorry not sure how/why I missed replying to the above two comments - email notification failure probably -been neglecting the blog too. Unfortunately I do not have links to any orgns but wonder if spic macay may have some further info. IMG at xavier also used to be active in Indian classical. But nothing or no one close to what prag was doing. It was a special gift he had maybe.

@anon2 All the very best wishes with your venture. Look forward to hearing more about it.

Aditya said...

19th October,2010.

Hello Deepa Madam,

I,by chance happen to see your blog on "Deeply Deeps" today i.e.on 19th October,2010, 7th death anniversary of Mr.Parag Trivedi, about your comments on workshops of Western Classical Music" Mr.Parag Trivedi used to conduct at Alliance Francoise, Marine Lines and Max Muller Bhavan along with Dr.Anjan Ray.

I would like to intoroduce myself first.

I, Aditya Purohit, an enthusiast of Western Classical Music since last 20 years, while studying in Max Muller in 1990s,happened to see the advertisement of Parag's lecture workshop on Western Classical Music on one of the Saturdays on Beethoven's Music.

I was really "Shocked". I was under the impression that Western Classical Music is a defacto area of Parsis and a Gujarathi Person is actually unfolding the divine music of an european composer.

I decided to attend the lecture and for next 2-3 hours, i was in heaven. I happened to understand the complexities in a simpler ways in Beethoven's compositions on that day through Parag's audio workshop.

After the lecture was over, i met him and introduced myself and told him that like him, i am solely devoted to western classical music.
He was also happy and asked me if i can assist him in sharing my personal recordings of symphonies, concertos (on Cassettes)during his programs.

Our friendship grew. Though not on a regular basis, but yes many a times i happenened to assist him during free lecture sessions at Alliance Francois and also offering lectures on Composers and their works. This went on till the year 2000-2001.

He gave me an opportunity at English Language department at Kalina University to conduct the lecture on " English Music during the Victorian Era" which i gave for 2 hours with the help of recordings on CDs and Cassettes.

I was not the part of his "Subrang" team but i used to share any thing new in CDs,Books which i have purchased.

I am really thankful to him for an opportunity given by him and his collegue Dr.Anjan Ray to bring out my likeness of Western Classical Music.

My sincere thanks to him.

He is still with me.


Aditya Purohit.

Arijit Dakshi said...

As I share the joy of listening to western classical music and discussing the finer points with my students at Punjab Univ., Chandigarh, I remember Parag Trivedi with gratitude, reverence and sadness. I attended three of his workshops in the '90s at MMB, Delhi and JNU which shaped my approach to WCM. I'm saddened at his passing away. But I seek his guidance as I refer to the notes and jottings from his lectures 18 years back. I remember Parag Trivedi with my students. - Arijit Dakshi, Dept. of German, PU, Chd.

Deepa said...


Thats lovely!! It is indeed also a joy that after having deactivated this blog for past few years, the comment first one is on this post!

Wishing you all the very best in all you do. I am sure your students are enriched. For the benefit of other readers and me, do post any link to your notes if available online and shareable.

Anonymous said...

Parag Trivedi's programme was the beginning of my interest in Western Classical. I had no idea he was no more. I have always thought of meeting him, and thanking him for the gift he gave me, of introducing me to this wonderful world of Classical western music. I thought of calling him up but I am too shy for such things.I still remember him talking about the significance of the three short notes of Beethoven's fifth and the mesmerising operas of Wagner. Thanks for sharing this, you brought back wonderful memories.

Anonymous said...

Deeply saddened to know about the passing on of Parag. It is a privilege to have attended two of his workshops in Delhi, they form the basis of my little understanding of WCM. Now I feel grateful that I attended the w/shops and did not postpone it for a later time.He lives on in the notes that one took of the Workshop. If possible, pl provide the link of the Rishi Valley newsletter.
Sonita kataria

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