In October, I returned back to Canada to welcome the Rhythm Riders family to my birthplace. The leaves had started to change colours in preparation for their arrival, ready to display the beauty of autumn and the wind had picked up to give them a cold Canadian welcome I suppose.
It was a busy, super successful and fun-filled trip. I got to show everyone the place I called home for so many years. Most members of Tabla Ecstasy were in Toronto for the first time. In the months before the trip, I, along with those who had been to Toronto, had been preparing a list of things that we had to do. We crammed in as much as possible in the limited time between rehearsals and shows. The reactions were exactly as anticipated. It was a joy to share so much in those few days. Watching them take everything in made me appreciate the common sights and sounds I often take for granted.
On the music side, the trip was a HUGE success. All the audiences were left spellbound and appreciated the artists with standing ovations. We had a great mix in the audiences we performed for – from true listeners of Indian classical music/dance to completely untrained ears, who had come to show out of intrigue – and the response was overwhelming. New connections were forged and the concert organizers all offered their support for future tours. On the personal front, people from my community got an even better idea of what I am aiming for as they heard Tabla Ecstasy and began to understand the level of tabla playing that I am striving for in order to turn professional (and of course through Guruji they see what is possible even beyond that). Jindidi impressed as always with her wonderful Kathak performances.
The tour had been planned for months, but it went by in a flash. There were many lessons, great fun, tons of memories and of course, lots of pictures. I got a new DSLR right before the tour and managed to get some great shots of the concerts. The tour would not have been possible without the support of a lot of people and I especially have to give a huge thank you to my family and family friends for going out of their way to make this trip special for everyone. When seeing everyone in action, particularly my parents, I am reminded time and time again that my own drive to help others was instilled in me through their example.