Biswajit Roy Chowdhry
Music from a "little village"
Photograph by Preeti Verma Lal
Renowned sarod player Biswajit Roy Chowdhry calls Deoghar "a little
village" with a beautiful river, stunning hillocks, and unmatched serenity.
"Of course, it is primarily a religious town, but it is worth being there
even just for the sunset behind the Trikut hill," he adds. Not to forget
"the incredible water of Deogarh that cures all stomach ailments".
might not be his first memories of Deogarh, but it is too alluring to remain engulfed
in whispers. The year 1956. While the young, second generation bahu was squirming
in pain to bring her son into the world, a bunch of thieves were pilfering the
other wing of the huge 35-room house that the Roy Chowdhrys lived in. The next
day's newspapers did not herald the birth of Biswajit Roy Chowdhry, but the thieves
and the grand larceny did hog the local headlines.
night, Destiny stayed naive that several years later the unheralded Roy Chowdhry
would dictate enough limelight as a sarod player across the world.
Deogarh and Roy Choudhry spins a varied tale - of his zamindar grandfather who
left a war-ravaged Calcutta in the mid-1940s seeking tranquility, of his father
who taught chemistry and played the sarod, of his mother who often jaunted off
in the middle of the night offering succour to anyone who needed one, and of the
hyenas and the wolves that romped in the vicinity. Deogarh was still pristine
and the senior Roy Chowdhry refused to go back to the clutter of Calcutta.
Roy Chowdhry calls Deogarh "a little village" with a beautiful river,
stunning hillocks, and unmatched serenity. "Of course, it is primarily a
religious town, but it is worth being there even just for the sunset behind the
Trikut hill," he adds. Not to forget "the incredible water of Deogarh
that cures all stomach ailments".
As a young boy,
Roy Chowdhry was huddled to the famous Ram Krishna Mission residential school,
where he studied and picked up the first lessons in sarod from his father, an
amateur sarod player. "There were four other sarod players in Deogarh and
a very good music school called, Sangeetalaya", says Roy Chowdhry with great
From Deogarh, he moved to Calcutta and to richer
climes in Delhi, but Roy Chowdhry who "misses the quietness of Deogarh"
still visits his birthplace every year - to relive the serenity of his childhood,
to raise funds for a library named in his father's honour, and to be with his
80-year old mother who still jaunts off in the middle of the night to offer succour
to anyone who needs it. The worried son thinks that, though alone, his mother
is safe in Deogarh, for he knows that the place and the people around would take
care of her.
There could be no better testimonial to Deogarh,
a city whose people are excitedly waiting - no, not for celestial intervention
- but for traffic lights.
in Swagat, Indian Airlines in-flight magazine, July 2004.