I don’t think I’m the best: Zakir Hussain

The first time Hariharan and Zakir Hussain collaborated was two decades ago

Hyderabad: A commotion follows when his car arrives, everyone huddles to catch a glimpse of him. After all, you don't get to see a maestro every day in the city. But, despite reaching great heights, Ustad Zakir Hussain is humble. As he passes by you, he politely smiles and waves.

In the city for the launch tour of his album Hazir 2, with Hariharan, Zakir Hussain says while laughing, “People need to invite me more, if they want me to perform often.” But he suddenly gets serious, “I perform less because when your performances are limited, people want to see more of you,” he says.

Young Zakir:
For Zakir music was always a way of life, he says. “I would go to play cricket, come back home and practise, I would go to school, come back home and practise, so that way I really wasn’t away from music. By the time I could understand what I wanted to do in life, I had already been practising it for a long time. So music felt like a very natural thing to take up,” he says.

A day in Zakir’s life:
During “concert season” the maestro’s day starts at “five am at the airport”, otherwise, he insists that he is “just a regular father and a husband” back at home. “When I don’t have my concerts, I’m very relaxed and I spend time with family.”

Zakir says. “Sometimes on my family’s demand, I prepare kheema, or some chicken, I love cooking and gardening.” What many don’t know is that he also loves hiking. “I love to go hiking with my family. We go near the hills to watch the sun go down. It’s calming to be with family,” he adds.

Working with Hari bhai:
The first time Hariharan and Zakir Hussain collaborated was two decades ago. “When I first collaborated with Hari bhai, we were at a different stage in life. After the album, we got busy and couldn’t get together. Until one final day. I asked him whether we should collaborate and he told me that he was going to ask me the same and that’s how we finally got together,” he says. “Hari bhai is spontaneous and full of life, it’s a joy to work with him,” he adds

Unforgettable moment:
The Ustad, in between peals of laughter, shares one of the unforgettable moments of his life. “Pandit Shivkumar, the famous Santoor player, and I are good friends. One day, we were at the airport, when a fan came running towards us. He looked at Pandit Shivkumar and spoke to him for a long time without letting either of us interrupt.

He said, ‘I loved you in that Taj tea ad, your composition was so good! I love the way you move your head’ and so on. And what did Pandit Shivkumar do? He played along and said, ‘Well, you know me. I try to do my best, I work hard on my composition...’ Not once did the fan realise who he was talking to, I laughed so much after that incident,” he says.

‘I’m still learning’
Surprisingly, the maestro, isn’t too fond of being a role model. “I don’t want to be a role model; I only want people to be inspired by me. I don’t think I’m the best, for me each day is new and I’m still learning every day,” he says.

When his tea is brought in, he thanks the waiter in impeccable Hindi and turns to say, “I’m sorry, I need to rush for my performance now,” and it’s then that you realise, Padma Shri Zakir Hussain might be 63 years old, but there is very little that has changed, not his humbleness and definitely not his signature hairstyle.

( Source : dc )
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