Music, me and Kohima

By Bombay Jayashri
Chennai: 25-02-2020 9:41PM
Last Updated: 25-02-2020 9:41PM

Chennai to Kolkata. Kolkata to Dimapur. Each flight was two hours. The first was a big plane. The second one was a 20-seater bumpy ride to the North-East of India.

Every time I told someone that I was going to sing in Kohima, people looked at me with a huge surprise. Where is it? Is it in Japan? Are you going to sing Carnatic music there? These caustic comments only heightened my desire to visit Kohima. In fact, I and my fellow musicians - Embar Kannan and Poongulum Subramanian - were equally thrilled about the whole concert. And, we were awaiting Kohima to happen.

The event was Spic Macay's annual convention. It was held at this exotic destination for its volunteers and supporters. There were 1,300 students.

And, the week-long convention, which also featured workshops on various arts, culminated in an all-night concert, which included my concert, too.

From Dimapur, which is the only flat district of Nagaland's seven districts, we started our journey up the mountains. Hills, gorges, waterfalls, a winding river to escort us, rain mist and what not - all in one good winding stomach-churning ride up the hills. Nature in its bounty!

Kohima looks like a picture postcard, which one may never expect to see in real life. Pretty houses dot the small lanes of Kohima - the abode of the Nagas, who speak Nagamese. It is almost like an alien land. Most of the natives speak English other than their mother tongue. The fluttering of birds and the sound of crickets rent the land, which is covered in thick foliage.

The concerts began at 8 p.m. in a lovely tent constructed specially for the event. Students ran around, arranging and co-ordinating. Our turn came at 1 a.m. , and I sang until 3 a.m. And, everybody got soaked into the music, which continued through the night and lasted till 6 a.m. the next morning.

I thank God that music took me to the wonderful land of Kohima.
(This article was first published in 2008)