‘My husband adored Panditji more than he loved me’

Wife of late Bhaskar Chandavarkar recalls the couple's association with the sitar maestro

"The news of Panditji's death would have been unbearable for my husband. He adored him so much. I don't think he loved me that much," said Meena Chandavarkar, recalling her late husband's admiration for Pandit Ravi Shankar.Her husband Bhaskar Chandavarkar, who had passed away in in 2009, was only 16 when he became a disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar and started learning to play the sitar.

"My husband was a pakka chela of Panditji, who was like my father-in-law," says the 73-year-old Chandavarkar, a retired teacher.

Chandavarkar was also a composer whose name is associated with various Marathi, Hindi, Kannada and Malayalam films like Aakrit, Thoda Sa Romani Ho Jaye, Rao Saheb, Maati Maay. He also taught at FTII for many years.

"When my husband and I were dating, I had met Panditji a number of times. Incidentally, when our wedding took place, he was in the USA for a performance. When we met him the next time, he didn't know we were married and passed a comment, 'Aur kitne din ghumoge, ab shaadi kar dalo'," recalls Chandavarkar.

She said although her husband was a rational and intellectual person, he expressed his devotion to Panditji very freely. He even mentioned it in his book 'Vadyaved Bhartiya Sangitachi Multatvi'.

"He thinking pattern, his philosophy, mannerisms, everything was influenced by Panditji," she said.

Chandavarkar remembers that in the late 1990s, when the couple had visited Pandit Ravi Shankar in Delhi.

"Not many people knew how jovial he was. He kept cracking jokes throughout dinner. We all played dumb-charades, solved puzzles and had a nice evening," she said, adding that Panditji was very fond of having chaas (buttermilk) and she often made it for him.

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