Times of India, Ahmedabad, Saturday July 5, 2008
Some work, some play-ing harmonica! Sukrat Desai | TNN
Ahmedabad: His life is all about boring courtroom protocols and formidable piles of files. But, one additional sessions court judge takes a break from this monotony by playing old Hindi film numbers on a harmonica.
“My mouth organ has become a perfect means to fill the void in an insipid life and turn it into a symphony 24X7,” waxes the judge eloquently.
Ditto for orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Naresh Khandwala, who finds playing harmonica a convenient stress-buster. “The instrument is small, you can carry it in your pocket, and play it anywhere without battery cells or electricity. And, most importantly, it is good for health as it improves the respiratory system,” says the doc.
Welcome to Harmonica Club of Gujarat, a recentlyformed group of mouth organ enthusiasts from backgrounds as diverse as law, medicine, teaching and journalism, as also retired people who can devote plenty of time to music.
“This pocket-sized instrument once ruled the hearts of millions of youth during the 50s, 60s and even late 70s, with legendary Hindi film music directors such as SD Burman, RD Burman, OP Nayyar and Shankar Jaikishan making use of it to compose evergreen melodies,” says club coordinator, Tapan Bhatt.
It was his desire to perform at a college reunion, that drove the 44-year-old entrepreneur to attend classes in Ahmedabad and Vadodara. Bhatt learnt how to play harmonica in six months.
“It was through a discussion forum on a search engine and a social networking site that I came into contact with other harmonica players in Ahmedabad and we decided to meet,” he narrates.
The group first decided to meet every Sunday at Parimal Garden and then at Vastrapur lake. Shedding all inhibitions, about a dozen amateur harmonica players performed at both places, drawing a huge round of applause from onlookers.
The club, a not-for-profit organization that aims to promote use of the musical instrument, plans to have charity shows at hospitals and orphanages.