Passion From Stone..!

Many, many moons ago I sat all of twelve years of age on a mat in a hall open mouthed as I heard four young men render music I'd never heard before. They were three doctors and an engineer and called themselves the Gatt Quartet. Today my love for choral music is much because of the passion they expressed through words, music and perfect harmony that evening and many times after.

Yesterday I felt the same passion!

Kavita Subrahmanyam came home; daughter of Kalyan Subrahmanyam the leader of that same quartet I'd heard years ago. She had her father's passion and more. She spoke of the World Heritage Project she was involved in that had brought her all the way to India from Canada where she had settled down in. I listened wide-eyed and was again twelve years old listening to a different kind of music.

"I asked her, her name," said Kavita, "and she replied Kavita!"

"She had your name?" I asked incredulously.

"Yes," whispered Kavita, "the little girl who wanted just a bar of ice cream outside that hotel in Mahabalipuram; that little girl with hungry eyes had my name. I held that girl tight and that day vowed I would do something for the little children of India! And that's why I'm involved with the World Heritage Project uncle," she whispered, "Because they'll plough back the profits they earn from their books into the same country whose heritage sites they've photographed!"

I've loved heritage structures but have never been impressed by pictures of the same forts, buildings and monuments. Somehow no artist has been able to capture the awesomeness and magnitude of these sites and reproduce them on paper. But as I listened to Kavita, as I saw her following renowned photographer Mary Ellen Mark focusing her camera on the essence of India; its people, and bringing heritage structures pulsating with that same vibrancy the people have, I saw a miracle happening:

Passion was being shaped from stone!

She continued, "The World Heritage sites represent the most significant places on our planet uncle, these sites are as unique and diverse as the Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the city of Venice, the megaliths of Stonehenge and the Central Amazon. They are truly our greatest treasure and the shared inheritance of the human race!"

"And in the book you'll feel the mist of the Victoria Falls, you'll swim alongside the coral of the Great Barrier Reef, you'll touch the marble of the Taj Mahal or witness the majesty of the Grand Canyon!"

Ah Kavita I believe you. I know what you're involved in is truly remarkable. I close my eyes and hear your fathers voice along with the others of the Gatt and feel same passion in this room, all around..!

If we all had such passion and enthusiasm in whatever we did what masterpieces we would create everyday..!

This issue of Bob's Banter appeared in the Khaleej Times, Dubai, Pakistan Observer, Islamabad, The Independent, Bangladesh, Free Press Journal, Mumbai,  India Today, Delhi, Kashmir Times, Kashmir, Himachal Times, Day View, Nasik, Trinity Mirror, Chennai, Nagapost, Frontier Mail, The Sentinel, Assam on the 19th and 20th of January 2007.