When the news of Pandit Ravi Shankar’s death reached Ghulam Nabi Butt, owner of the houseboat Clermont on Dal Lake, he scrambled to find a guestbook put away half-a-century ago.
It took a while to pull out the dust-covered volume from a corner shelf of the boat. Leafing through it, he traced the faded writing dated 11.10.66.
“Mr Butt, with thanks, a very peaceful stay at Clermont. Special thanks to Rahman- served us exceptionally well!” It was signed George Harrison — of the Beatles fame. Next to it was Ravi Shankar’s small message, wishing Butt good luck.
Built around 1941 and anchored near massive Chinar trees on shores of the Dal, the Clermont is a fleet of four houseboats. Initially staying in Bombay, Harrison had moved to Dal Lake to avoid the fans. “I remember Panditji teaching sitar to Harrison,” Butt recalled.