In a marvellous serene setting in Chennai, Baha ud din Dagar gave a recital where he first played Yaman and then a rarely heard raag these days, Durga. The listeners were in a trance and only after a few minutes did the applause come. The concert lasted almost three hours and could have gone on longer.
Speaking at home with Baha ud din later, I told him that I was going to request a Darbari to which he immediately retorted that he would have refused. Why?, was my question, and his reply was that he was not ready for Darbari. He had visualised the raag and was still in the process of developing his playing to his vision and he had not quite reached there yet. Darbari being such a major raag needed to be respected and played as perfectly as one can with all the nuances and colours. Even though he was in the process, he was not entirely clear or happy with the picture he had painted. Some fine brush strokes were still lacking. He was finding it difficult to complete the painting to his satisfaction but was confident that, some day, it would be ready.
I was taken aback as Baha ud din is the finest Rudra Veena player and carries a rich tradition and heritage and one would have thought he would have played Darbari as well as any other raag. I could not but admire his dedication and sincerity to the music and the importance he laid on the structure of a raag. He made it clear he does not dwell on mediocrity.
We ended by my saying that whenever he was ready and wherever he would be playing Darbari, I would be there.