Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nilesh plays harmonica whenever he feels lonely

I met Nilesh Amin after 30 years. We used to play harmonica when in college. "Remember, you taught me how to play the song, 'Main Shayar to Nahi' from the film 'Bobby', which was a rage among the youth then?" he recalled during our brief meeting in Vadodara, his home town today.

I used to often spend days on end at Nilesh's place. He was studying for his engineering degree from the M S University of Baroda and I was a youth activist. Our common passion was harmonica and we used to spend long hours trying out the latest Hindi film songs.

Nilesh had come down to Vadodara to perform the last rites of his father Vishnubhai Amin, a freedom fighter and an alumni of the Gujarat Vidyapith founded by Mahatma Gandhi. Nilesh's mother, Kusumben Amin too was a student of Vidyapith and a freedom fighter.

Nilesh is the sole survivor of the Amin family today, having lost both his parents and his two younger siblings - a sister and a brother.

He had migrated to the USA in the late 1970s after his graduation. He lives in Sunny Vale, near San Jose, California. Both his sons were born there.

When I told him that I picked up harmonica after almost 30 years in 2006 when I was living alone in Bangalore, Nilesh told me, "Mouth Organ is the best companion to overcome loneliness." He said whenever he feels sad and lonely, he plays mouth organ.

Nilesh has promised to send me the video recordings of his mouth organ numbers after he returns to Sunny Vale.