‘He called me the computer of notation’

Ronu Majumdar, flautist, Malad
For flautist Ranendranath Majumdar — popularly known as Ronu — Ravi Shankar had been both a guru as well as a grand-guru. While Majumdar’s teacher, Vijay Raghav Rao, was a direct disciple of Shankar, Majumdar had an opportunity to train under the maestro in the 1980s.

In 1982, Shankar had composed the welcome song for Asiad Games to be held in Delhi, and an 18-year-old Majumdar was one of the musicians who played in the orchestra during its recording in Mumbai.

“That was the first time I played the flute for him. Over time, he started calling me the ‘computer of notation’ because I was very fast at writing notations for the orchestra,” says Majumdar, 49, who soon became Shankar’s disciple, taking lessons whenever the guru visited Mumbai or when Majumdar travelled.

During the recording for the Asiad song, Majumdar remembers being struck by the kindness with which Shankar taught and guided the other musicians. “Shankarji always said that one mustn’t try to show sincerity — one must simply be sincere, and people will be able to read it. This is the biggest lesson I learnt from him,” says Majumdar, a Malad resident who performs around the world.

For the past 10 years, Majumdar has been running the Sadhana School of Indian Music that he founded in Chicago. “I have five serious disciples and I am trying to build the same guru-shishya rapport that Panditji had with his students.”


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