Personal stories and anecdotes from the life of Pandit Divyang Vakil including experiences with musicians, spiritual leaders, students, and more.

In Memory of Sri Ras Bihari Desai

In Memory of RasBhai

Today, I received unfortunate news about the death of my friend and colleague Sri Ras Bihari Desai, whom I called Rasbhai.

When I heard the news, my mind immediately went back to a morning long ago when I received a phone call at 5am.

It was Rasbhai on the other end.

“Divyangbhai, please listen to this.  I know I’ve woken you up, but you must listen to this.  We’ll talk after,” he said.  Before I could really say anything, I heard the sound of drumming on the line. The patterns were set in mishra jati.

Read more

State of Today's Indian Classical Music Concerts by Pandit Divyang Vakil

State of Today’s Indian Classical Music Concerts

A musician needs two types of people in the audience – those who really understand the depth of the music and those who may not understand its full depth, but offer financial support for the musician.

Read more

Vijay – one of my first US workshop attendees

In my initial years of working in America, my student Sejal and I used to conduct small workshops. At this point, I was a new name to American audiences, so it was usually a small audience (10 – 15). Even though there was small attendance, EVERY workshop I found someone who went onto become a devoted student who did many things for me over and spent great amounts of time with me. It was a sign of how my luck worked so well in America.

Read more

First Meeting with Abbaji by Pandit Divyang Vakil

First Meeting with Abbaji (Ustad Allarakha Khan)

It was 1975 or 1976. I came to know that Ustad Allarakha was to be in Ahmedabad to accompany Pandit Ravi Shankar. It was a program arranged by Sur Singar, an organization that I was a young youth volunteer for.
I received news of Ustadji’s arrival and that he had checked into a hotel across from Town Hall (I can’t recall the name). I reached to the hotel at 8:30am with a small bouquet of flowers. I knocked on his door. I distinctly remember how he looked when he opened the door. He looked royal and you see his immensive personality. I gave him the bouquet, took his blessings and introduced myself.

Read more

Girishbhai – A tribute to his unwavering support and love

To become a great musician requires a lot from the person who wants to become the musician. Patience, dedication, focus are requirements. Success follows if one undertakes intense sadhna. The path becomes easier if you have people who support you, encourage you and challenge you to work even harder or go that extra mile.
They are many such people in my life. People that I am indebted to for their friendship, unwavering support. They truly helped me to reach where I am today. One of these people is (the late) Girishbhai.

Read more

Nakkara Maestro Ustad Dilawar Khan by Pandit Divyang Vakil

Great Nakkara Player – Ustad Dilawar Khan

Some of my friends from Jaipur had called me up. A nakkara player, Ustad Dilawar Khan was coming to Ahmedabad.(At the time, I did not know it, but he is one of the greatest nakkara players I have heard, I highly recommend that you listen to him.)

Read more

Playing with Pandit Rasiklal Andharia

Playing with Pandit Rasiklal Andharia

It was 1979 or 1980. I was working as the youngest tabla teacher of the city at the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal, one of the oldest music institutes in Ahmedabad. Our principal, Mr. Ravjibhai Patel, called me and said, “We are doing a national conference of Mahavidyalaya Mandal at Valsad for three days. I am very […]

Pandit Sudhir Kumar Saxena by Pandit Divyang Vakil

My First Meeting with Pandit Saxenaji

On first death anniversary of my first Tabla Guru, Pandit Sudhirkumar Saxena, I wanted to take the time to reflect on the person who had great knowledge of tabla and great love for me and I too for him.

Read more