The board members listened to me very seriously, as if I were a murderer and they were sitting like judges, to hang me. I said to them, “Don’t be so serious, relax. Just tell me what is wrong if I write with my left hand?”
They looked at each other. I then said, “That won’t help. You have to answer me, and I am not easy to deal with. You will have to give it in writing because I don’t trust you. The way you are looking at each other appears so cunning and political that it is better to have your answer in writing. Write what is wrong in writing a right answer with the left hand.”
They sat there almost like statues. Nobody even tried to say anything to me. Nobody was ready to write either, they simply said, “We will have to consider it.”
I said, “Consider. I am standing here. Who is preventing you from considering in front of me? Is it something private like a love affair? And you are all respected citizens: at least six people should not be in a love affair – that would be like group sex.”
They shouted at me, “Shut up! Don’t use such words!”
I said, “I have to use such words just to provoke you, otherwise you would just sit there like statues. At least now you have moved and said something. Now, consider, and I will help you, and not hinder you at all.”
They said, “Please go out. We cannot consider it in front of you; you are bound to interfere. We know about you, and so does everybody else in the town. If you don’t leave then we will leave.”
I said, “You can leave first, that is gentlemanly.”
They had to leave their own committee room before me. The decision came the next day. The decision was simply that “The teachers were right, and everybody should write with their right hand.”
This phoniness is dominant everywhere. I cannot even comprehend what kind of stupidity it is. And these are the people who are in power! The rightists! They are powerful, the male chauvinists are powerful. The poets are not powerful, nor the musicians….
Now look at this man Hari Prasad Chaurasia – such a beautiful bamboo flute player, but he lived his whole life in utter poverty. He could not remember Pagal Baba, who had introduced him to me – or is it better to say, ‘me to him’ – because I was only a child, and Hari Prasad was a world recognized authority as far as the bamboo flute is concerned.
There were other flutists also introduced to me by Pagal Baba, particularly Pannalal Ghosh. But I had heard his playing and he was nothing compared to Hari Prasad. Why did Pagal Baba introduce me to these people? He himself was the greatest flutist, but he would not play before the crowd. Yes, he played before me, a child, or before Hari Prasad, or before Pannalal Ghosh, but he made it a point that we should not mention it to anyone. He kept his flute hidden in his bag.