"But for Another Sunny Saturday"

One sunny Saturday morning, after Guru Jee had just splashed the pages with spells of Gujarati for a student from his homeland, our magical master pointed his red gat wand at my book and, writing right to left, spelled out the next incantation for his Greek-Irish-Germanadopted Native-but not Gujarat apprentice. "That's gorgeous!" I praised. "But you'll have to give me another lesson first: How to read Gujarati!"

In trying to keep this as little about me as possible, I advise my fellow students, my masters, and other readers to translate not only American irony but also the nuances of intimate personal history which Patric touched with Sa, Re, Da, Ra, and sympathetic vibrations. Many of us learned the same raags, and those melodies resonate the same truths about the lives we perform although the facts and biographies vary as do our gats, taans, layas, and tihais.

One of my personal antaras has been that I have faced depression every day since second grade. Somehow the happy spring raags made me sad and the khomal Res, Todis, and Lalits cheered me up. I could traipse off into the why of either illness or the antidote, but you'd get a better grasp of both if you put on Bismallah Khan's Bhoopal Todi in Jhaptaal. This will entail the morning after a dark night of the soul; if it's the abyss you wish to spelunk, listen to Vilayat Khan's Lalit. But for now I will transpose a few of the taans from the Summer of My Bageshree.

Patric had led me deep into a drut ektaal the July and August of 2004 when I first moved to Boystown, Chicago to finally be happy, find love, and sit and practice sitar with my cat on a sunny, leafy back porch where we cast raga spells at Lakeview birds and aficionados of MadOlma. As Leo curled up and settled down to sleep away the end of my summer, a series of taans entailed a series of failed crushes and flings. Patric and I discussed the sense of loss in Bageshree but never bothered to elaborate it in words since we both understood better through sitar. But one lesson after the crash of a high hope and the death of a best friend, I could barely speak, let alone learn.

Patric stated what has become a gat: "You take it easy. It isn't worth it, whatever it is."

I have played this gat-or is it a set of bols-in uncountable performances for my future audiences. This murchana has revealed its foundation in the way I face every bad spell of depression or the threat of its onset. As I swish and flick the spell taught in red ink, the opinions of my world's interminable critics shatter and scatter beneath a simple truth: that this sorcerer's apprentice learned to value the judgment of a select head mastery in which Patric was the Albus Dumbledore, Margaret the Minerva McGonagall, and my mother the Molly Weasley. JK Rowling's Dumbledore said something to the tune of, "To the well organized mind, death is but the beginning of the next great adventure." And just as Harry Potter was left to his last novel without his guru, I find that mine, too, is still with me in different ways than when we sat together in the sunshine on Saturday mornings.

What it means to be truly alone is that I'm still here, and I sit on the sidewalk, busking, playing for an audience that may opt to walk on past, scrutinize, or stop and partake, no matter whether they have any idea about the name of the instrument, the raag, taala, or laya. They have their own names for such things, and these are the people who are worth it, whoever they are.