At the outset, I wish to emphasise,  on a fact that my thoughts as they come forth would be expressed here and or no particular order followed with the events as they happened on this memorable day.

Names of rafi bhakts ( our esteemed guests )  may be a bit difficult to remember and mention, hence please excuse.

The time available with us was murderously to little to aquaint, interact and convert it into a great remembrance, however, rafi bhakts as we all were, gelled beautifully from the word go and by the dawn of the evening ( shockingly wound up at 1630 hours – due to the guests train schedule at 1820 hours ).

The time factor was so much playing upon my personal mind that, I for one could not interact with all the people gathered, so much so that after the initial greet of hi hello – there never was another moment we could exchange a word accepting a smile.

Rafi Bhakts are just Rafi Bhakts wherever you go ( simple at heart – lovers of music ) and our dear rafi sahab has taught us in his own way that we should play it simple and be truthful whenever we meet music lovers especially rafi bhakts.

With this short ( self styled ) introduction, I will now try to arrange my jumbled mind to put down some of my impressions of the lovely get together.

As if I was Emperor Ashok, I sprang to the microphone to utter “ A classic example of National Integration “ after the spell binding rendition of the famous song of Shankara Bharanam by none other than “ Ilyaasbhai “ ( rf-hyderabad ). I actually felt it was rafi sahab who has come down and sang this song for us ( being a muslim he gave us some of the best bhajans ) and the next thing that spontaneously came out from me – “ Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavantu “.

Ilyaasbhai made a lasting impression on all of us present and will never forget the way he sang and his sheer selection of the song. It speaks a lot in the present times and the lesser said – impact would be telling.

Iyaasbhai, was an instant hit in our minds just by his personality and mannerisms.

R.Padmanabhan, has a beautiful voice and can really sing very well. With every occasion, he is bound to improve and make people happy as he did on this day.

Mrs & Mr.Chander, make a very good singing couple and do present themselves in a duet as a composite package. Both have a very good voice quality and can sing really well. Their song selections were very good and in a way a good talent from rf-hyd.

Now coming to my dearest friend, NRP bhai, ( invest with padmanabhan ). Another interesting person who speaks chaste hindi with a north ascent and immaculate hold on the English language.

Nrpbhai, really impressed me in particular with his smooth voice, selecting some delectable songs of talat mahmood and hemant kumar Mukherjee. The last one he sang with the computer ( I think hemant song ) was so perfect and extremely well sung, he kept me spell bound.

Nrpbhai, is a huge “ Chupaa Rustom “. A man full of surprises – ( still waters run deep )
Nrpbhai – is there anything you cant do ? – I sincerely doubt it.

He is an asset to rf-hyd and any where he chooses to associate. A hallmark of a successful banker.

I can now safely repeat loudly : investwithpadmanabhan – bravo sahab – tussi great ho – merey liye. I am your fan from bengaluru.

Now coming to my next friend from rf-hyd none other than the Sutradhaar – a man behind the entire rafi holiday in its entirety starting from the embryo stage to its finish

None other than the erstwhile “ Murthygaru “ ( as we fondly address him ). His baritone voice and lithe personality brings him close to how the big b appeared in his early days.
Murthygaru’s voice tonal quality itself is a great plus when he sings and boy does he sing well – an understatement.

I will require to write a few pages to cover murthygaru, hence, at this juncture, I would stop myself to say, you were very much in control of the entire proceedings helping us in your own way for celebrating the day in a nice way. My special thanks to you for bringing rafi bhakts from various places.

Sreenivsan – a sauve – sleek – and a smooth singer – great voice quality – sings with all the emotions – the greatest high point is his “ song selection and his rendition “ makes one very happy contented and applaud sincerely. Rafi bhakts like sreenivassan are an asset considering their age and involvement in retro music – its quite heartening. I took an instant liking to his levels – class and style of singing. Gifted.

Sivaram – and family – really a great contribution by their sheer presence – what an interest even at this age. He is highly talented, has a great control over his voice, his kishore renditions were truly sincere and correct, enjoyable and inspirational. His daughter sang a very soothing song ( humko manki shaktee dena ) which brought me to tears.

Now, I, would be doing a great dis-service to the whole gathering and the event if I do mention the  name of a  gentleman called “ Jagat Tarkas “ who “ whistles “ his way through to steal our hearts with rafi songs. Try doing it – it will screw the winds out of you. It was a rare privilege to hear him in person. Otherwise normally such performances one has to pay and hear them professionally. An artist really worthy of what he has achieved and truly simple and most unassuming with a large smile.
Yet another great talent.

I may be missing out on many names as my memory may not help me and I am sure ravibhai, sumanbhai and anoopbhai will cover me up on that count.

Now coming to the local talent, madame shailaja, sings like a “pro” and she regaled us with her songs. I personally feel, she should attend all functions, snatch the mike and sing many songs, as permitted. I may sound a bit different, but, I felt we definitely would have wanted to hear more of her – had we had, time on our side.  Keep it up madame, you have it in you and will make a great singer for all occassions.

Mahaveer Nahaar and family – a simple, sauve and serene family but a bundle of talent in the father and son duo. Gifted with a natural voice suitable for singing and sing really well.

Mahaveer’s great sense of timing and mere mention of a song made him momentarily loose his “ suddh buddh “ and got into impromptu ( leaving all of us in awe and open mouthed ) – the great song from Chengiz khan was responsible for this.

Mahaveer sahab you were a picture of perfection considering your preparedness and tonal quality. I am given to understand that you sing in all forums and are quite popular – keep it up sir. You can really impress an audience with your presentation style.

Nikhra Deshpati ( sahab I feel – you have some very close connection with rafi sahab )
A one time pro ( as per his own admission – used to sing in his own orchestra – long long back ) – I truly admire his choice of songs. Being a pro long time back is one thing – but – to retain the old charm even now and keep us spell bound is yet another gift of the god.
Nikhra sahab – you are an asset to any musical evening – what with your small but meaningful speeches with anecdotes – advises on singing etc.

It would be apt to say here that many of our guests too required to share the mike for many more songs with their kind talent. Time was the spoil sport on 15th. If  we could conclude say by 2000 hours we could do full justice to the entire gathering.

Ravibhai, ( I am his fan ) I know has a good voice, but his song of invocation had me close my eyes an concentrate as it was truly divine. What a nice gesture on his part to select such a lovely song and fitting welcome to all the guests. Ravibhai is a Pandora;s box, probably he himself does not know his capabilities. Ravibhai, please get into some serious singing in every get to gethers – as atleast, I would like to hear you sing, just because of the simplicity of your presentation.

Sumanbhai was very graceful and sang a song for all of us. A doctor by profession but never makes anyone feel his weight in terms magnanimity. Thanks a lot sumanbhai for the momentos you personally arranged for our guests from other cities. Sumanbhai is always found to be quiet, a man of few words ( like nrpbhai-rf hyd ) but a highly resourceful doctor with a zeal to serve the underprivileged. CCK says a lot.

Now coming to our own charming, flamboyant, silky voiced, software engineer ( the chief host, moderator and a singer par excellence ) ANOOP KULKARNI.

Since the venue was his own dwelling and the entire arrangements with regard to seating arrangements, food and beverages and the entire works were his bastion – anoopbhai was weighed down heavily by these works and responsibilities. It was quite visible and unknowingly our guests too would have noticed that he never sat down even for a while, like the way we all did – in a relaxed manner and enjoyed ourselves.

Anoopbhai ( sorry – I could not be of much help to you that day – as you always asked me to relax and enjoy – now nice of you and it shows your good nature ) was all responsible and composed diligently carrying out all required works periodically.

The times he took up the mike and sang – it was sheer magic – and it left me saying – ramesh maangey more. Our guests ( like murtygsru/nrpbhai ) may have heard anoopbhai via midomi or through egroup you-tube etc. but we in bengaluru have the privilege of hearing him in person, whenever we wish to.

Anoopbhai – great show – great turn out – keep it up – play host all the time – especially the choice of venue according to me was the icing on the cake – ask me why – we all sat close to each other hosts and guests freely mixing all the time – and the event – marked off very well – etched in our memories – never to be forgotten – as happy experiences – meeting some fantastic rafi bhakts – highly talented.

We also had the proud company of our own encyclopedia “Gurujee”. A wizard in technical knowledge with regard to music, anecdotes, trivia and a many faceted man, simple and a star attraction in all our musical meets. A must for all musical gatherings as he has the capabilities in making such events a great success. Gurujee too chipped in and helped in transportation of our esteemed guests.

We also had the presence of Mr.Shreeshaa ( a hotel management consultant and a friend of murtygaru since 1977 ) amidst us and was a great help in looking after our guests and their transportation.

A special mention has to be made of  Zareef  Bhai, ( administrator of www.rafi.co.in ) from delhi, who used his personal equipment of handycam and captured the entire event, with a promise to send us all a copy after other formalities of editing etc. He is a bundle of   “ quips “,  chutkulas, slap stick comedy, one liners and generally regales the gathering with his sheroshayaris.

I felt the events as they unfolded would have been much better, had I not been pushed to the mike and making an a…e, jacking the proceedings. If I have succeeded in making people laugh by being the joke of the day, I am happy.
My wife Padmaja and yours truly were honored to have spent some quality time with truly sincere, simple and serene rafi bhakts on this day the 15th of November 2009.

May we have more such events frequently in all cities of India and even Overseas in time to come. Let this movement become a raging success and our get-together as the premier one.

Wishing all rafi bhakts, all the best, and closing with melodious regards,

Padmaja and Ramesh Kurpad.