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24

 

FIRST PRIZE    "Baba Story"

 

 

My Coming to Baba

 

by Pund Madhusudan

 

Baba dubbed Pund Madhusudan His "poet-laureate," and Madhusudan's arti and bhajans are sung everywhere in India now among Baba lovers. Baba Himself married Madhusudan to Subhaddra, who had been Madhusudan's rival in singing­to-please-Baba. They now live in a small flat in Poona with their two children, named by Baba, Meher-Nad and Mira. Madhusudan first met Baba in 1949.

— Scott Makeig

 

At that time my condition was not good — mental, physical, or economical. I was just like a mad, a crazy man. I was sick, bedridden, but I was a lover of music. I used to listen to good types of music, and all the members of my family were worried about my health and my condition, so my brother-in-law was in search of some persons who would attract me to leave this state I was in. I was sixteen or seventeen years old.

 

So he found one gentleman who had come from Hyderabad recently on transfer — he was a very good singer — and he requested the gentleman to come to our house and, I don't know, he may have given background about me, that I was a lover of music. This gentleman was in need of friends — he was a stranger in Poona. Of course in Poona now, Hindi is very popular, but in those days very few people used to know Hindi, because this area knows Marathi very well.

 

This gentleman came to my house, a tall, black man — and he set out his harmonium and started singing, ah! with a melodious voice, all Hindi tunes. I hesitated to hear bhajans (devotional songs) because I used to hate these sadhus, and bhajans; I didn't like any of it.

 

So I said,

 

"Bhajans? I don't want to listen."

 

"Just listen," he said, "and if you like it then we'll continue."

 

"All right," I said, "OK, carry on,"

 

So he started singing — it was a melodious tune.

 

I said,

 

"It doesn't matter that it is a bhajan. I like the tune, and your way of singing. "

 

So I made friendship with him. He was coming to me, I was going to him. Once he asked me,

 

"Since you have shown so much interest in the singing, listening to the music, you must know singing yourself. "

 

I said,

 

"I don't know."

 

He said, "Let's sing." — and I sang, of course, and he was attracted, and he said, "Let us visit some singing conferences in Poona, wherever there are any," and I said, "All right."

 

Now in the Camp side of Poona all people know Hindi, and they give bhajans and kirtan (devotional songs) in Hindi. So once he took me where

 

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