Ragas at twilight…

And now Ravi Shankar! another great who was at it right up to the end…

“The beauty of our music is the ability to improvise endlessly,” he once said, “and that is my forte – I never know what I am going to do in the next two seconds, and that is still a great thrill.”

This is life, isn’t it? No matter how you plan, there is always an unexpected twist or turn… keeps it interesting I think… I find it impossible to plan in any case and cannot bear routine… chasing the thrill of the new has become a way of life… itchy feet… despite the challenges to this that parenthood brings.

The trick is to seek the future and still be fully in the present. You know, to be ready to respond to what’s coming, ride the waves, and yet enjoy and embrace the moment you find yourself in.

People often ask me, of all the places I’ve lived, which did I love the most. Such a difficult question really. Each place exists for you in a unique time and space… plays it’s own special raga for you in that moment for the person you are in that moment. There is beauty and wonder everywhere if you allow yourself to listen to the melody. Sometimes I’ve gone back but with the return, the melody will have changed. Nothing stands still.

The most important thing for me wherever I am is light. Paris, for me, is a city of light. I returned a few months ago after a long absence and took a twilight walk along the Seine, through the Tuileries garden… the light was stunning… the beauty of it overwhelming.

The last home I had, in North Africa, had a bathroom with the most amazing light. There was something in the angle that the sunlight entered through the window that brought this incredible hue… warmed the blue and white tiles, brought out the highlights in my hair, made my skin look soft, younger.  I always felt beautiful in that room. The bathroom at the other end of the house, sadly, didn’t have the same effect.

The mediterranean in general has a light which fills the soul somehow with a beautiful melodious glow. My daughter was born there. I remember looking up as she entered the world, out of the window, over the sea to see a golden sun as it broke over the horizon. Magic.

Once driving along a winding road, flanked by tall grasses in midsummer fields… it had been a long day, working on a little sailboat called Matra… odd but somehow fitting for this post I’ve just discovered that Matra is Sanskrit for the smallest rhythmic unit of tala… she was from France and we’d been sanding and revarnishing her teak deck under a hot Roman sun… a labour of love… we’d been at it for months… playing olive to his popeye… on this day we were exhausted by the heat, by our labours, hungry but happy… the drive was quite long and it was getting late.. and then, for a section of the drive, the light changed and slowly cast a dreamlike quality over the landscape… we travelled through it in a peaceful, quiet complicity, relaxing into the hypnotic, diffused and almost erotic haze of the light, letting it permeate the space around and between us… time almost suspended… so in love, such sweetness between us… he, an actor and filmmaker, turned to me and smiled… my love, it’s the ‘magic hour’ he said…

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