Playing Brass

Weekend Stories by Trishikh

Strolling down the Mahatma Gandhi Road from the College Street end towards Howrah Tram Depot in the vibrance of the Kolkata metropolis, one can spot a unique world of orchestral cacophony. Little shops from the colonial days of the British showcase a wide array of musical instruments and jazzy uniforms of starking colours with gilded studs and Zari strips. Lining the bustling pavements on both sides of the busy street, they stand testament to a vanishing era of classical music. While snoozing old owners and staff doze on rickety wooden stools, impoverished young Indian musicians of a gasping profession practice on various musical instruments honing their skills.

At one corner of this hustling sea of tussling humanity and chocking traffic stands a hundred-and-twenty-one-year-old orchestral shop featuring a crumbling hoarding with bevelled wooden alphabets spelling out “Manna Band Party.” Forty-one-year-old Muslim bandmaster Arman Ali stood inside the eight by ten feet…

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