Driving on the shoulder was never this fearless. There was a huge traffic jam, my friend advised to take the upcoming exit. The easy way out was to drive on the shoulder. I could have got into trouble but that was the last thing on my mind. The clock was ticking. It was 3:15pm and we were supposed to be at the venue for panditji’s concert that was to begin at 6:00pm, after all we were the organizers of this concert.
Since it was a tight race to the finish line, all of us decided to meet at the venue by 3:15pm so we have enough buffer. By 4:30pm, we were supposed to finish the stage, the booth and the ticketing setup’s. Worst case, by 5:00pm, we expected everything to be done. The artists would arrive at 5:00pm and do their sound testing. By 6:00pm, the concert would begin. All my friends who agreed to volunteer that day were on time. Everything was set. The only problem was, the volunteers who had all the materials , including myself, could only get to the venue by 4:00pm and some even got at 5:30pm :-(. Thanks to the traffic jam.
I parked the car right in front of the doors. The car was emptied in the next 3 minutes. Immediately 4 teams were formed. The stage team, the ticketing team, booth setup team and the multimedia team. All the teams were explained their tasks and the teams dispersed. It was 4:10pm.
- Ticketing team set up their tables, cash boxes, signs, registrations etc
- Booth team set up all the tables for food, sponsors and for AID (our organization)
- Multimedia got going and first words that were spoken “Abey motte kaam kar” :). Heard something right back confirming the sound testing.
- Stage team had lot of challenges, for they had to prepare a stage using the risers. The make shift stage was to be arranged in a U shape leaving enough gap so panditji can sit comfortably on a chair instead of cris crossing his legs. But the girls in our team made it look very easy and it was very well supported by the rest of the team. Within 45 minutes the stage was setup. Completely professional !
It was 4:30pm
Our first set of audience walked in. Mind you we still hadn’t received any of AID material to display on the booths so there was nothing for the audience at that point. We had to let them in.
4:45pm: receive a call about the artists who were on their way to the venue so they could do the sound testing before the concert. This was at least 30 minutes behind as per or schedule. 30 minutes later, while I was standing at the door, I saw Panditji and the rest of the artists arrive.
I admit I am lucky to see him in person twice and on both occasions organizing the concert. I immediately touched his feet out of respect I had for his simplicity and humbleness more than anything else.
After some discussion over the sound check with shyamalaji’s, panditji’s manager, it was agreed that sound testing can be in less than 10 minutes and that the concert could start at 6:30 instead of 6:00pm.
Thanks to the aid Boston team I got access to their awesome quiz questionnaire. Although it was used completely different in AID Boston’s concert, I had to use on the stage as we were 30 minutes behind and the auditorium was closed to 60% full. The audience reaction was very encouraging so the quiz lasted for a good 15 minutes. I personally liked the question on who was the Indian Soccer player who scored in Olympics.
The pledge drive was to raise funds for the JSS solar lamp project. During the recess, we had made arrangements with the technicians to turn off the lights after the break for about 10 seconds, as a build up to our pledge drive. It was 12 seconds and yet the lights didn’t come up.
I had to start of by saying, Imagine there is no power in your lives and after our little 2 minute pitch that was concluded with the “bring light during this Diwali “, we opened the pledge drive. The pledge drive lasted about 5 minutes and we raised pledges to support almost 490 solar lamps at about $12 a lamp. It was just incredible. The volunteers were swift enough to cover the whole auditorium and make sure all the donors received the pledge forms. We also received a lot of anonymous pledges ! Thank you for being such a great audience.
Panditji and his magic: A midst all the running around, it was not possible for us to see him play for the entire time, but the little glimpses we caught were good enough for us to cherish for the rest of our lives 🙂 it was pure magic. I wish i could elaborate more on the raaga’s Panditji had performed but i’m a complete ignorant. Then came the jugal bandhi, Panditji and Shubankar da. The crowd was really enjoying every moment of this.
What was even more astonishing was that Panditji at that age sat in an upright position without any back support and with this hands trembling ( saw him when he was signing the CD’s ) he performed for a good 2 and a half hours, leaving the audience in complete amazement.
We worked hard for this concert but it was panditji’s simplicity, his humbleness, his humor, his completely down to earth personality and above all for his immense dedication, discipline and talent. It was truly and most definitely “An Evening to Remember”
I’m an AID Volunteer and I’m proud of it.