Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An expensive case of mistaken identity

Just when the Beatles are on our minds here comes the very sad news that Ravi Shankar has died at age 92. He came into the popular music scene in the '60s,  bridging the East/West musical cultural gap in what was an exciting new way back then in the days before "world  music". He'd lived in Paris as a child and had a brother who danced with Anna Pavlova.  Later he worked with an impressive, diverse array of musicians including John Coltrane and Yehudi Menhuin as well as famously teaching George Harrison to play the sitar. Ravi Shankar was there at Monterey, Woodstock and the Concert for Bangladesh. He was very present as we grew up, as is his daughter, Norah Jones, today.

We were excited to have the chance to see him in Washington DC as part of a Kennedy Center concert series in 2011 which celebrated Indian music and culture, but unfortunately he had to cancel because of ill health. All was not lost though..... I noticed his name a few months later as part of the I Meditate NY series at the Lincoln Center and gleefully bought tickets for David and I, daughter Chloe and her boyfriend Dan. I suppose I was too excited to question the "meditate"aspect or look carefully at his name, I just wanted to get good seats asap as it felt as if this might be the last opportunity to see him.

At the concert we were noticeably very definitely in the minority as non-Indians, we were sitting in a sea of beautiful saris. I was surprised but took it in stride. However, when he arrived on stage with no sitar and led us in a guided meditation session it finally dawned on me that this was the wrong Ravi Shankar. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a guru with quite a large following. Ooooops!

Glancing covertly around I think I saw one other couple similarly mortified. We enjoyed the evening anyway of course, couldn't have been more peaceful except for the muffled irreverent giggling from Chloe at my initial aghast expression.

Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, very nice man but a whole different scene!


  1. A great story Jill. I'm sure you enjoyed the evening, and certainly will have amused friends with the telling of it. Jx

    1. Thank you...... we live and learn! Hope everything's going ok, good to see you again.