Serendipity and the Polish Concert Pianist

Serendipity and the Polish Concert Pianist
One morning we woke to wonderful tinkling sound of a piano being played and we thought to ourselves, how real today’s music systems can make the sound of an instrument. But as the days progressed we noticed that the pianist did some finger exercises, before he began and he would repeat certain segments of a piece over and over again, till he perfected it!

Wow! That’s a concert pianist I thought to myself and wallowed in his heavenly music every single day when I returned from college and began the writing part of my day. Serving myself lunch, I would linger in the kitchen to enjoy a Mazurka by Liszt or a Waltz by Chopin, wafting through the windows. The pianist was so talented, sometimes I was stunned at his skills.

One day I decided to applaud him from my son’s room which also faced his building. There was no response and then for a whole day after that there was silence. I wondered if he thought I was telling him to shut up and had stopped. That would have been a disaster, so I put it up on my FB page and so many of my friends said -- just walk over and introduce yourself.

The next day when he began to play again, I did gather up courage and walk across. Immediately the security guard at the gate stopped me and said, “ No you can’t go up unless you tell me who you are going to meet.” I don’t blame them with the number of day - light robberies happening across the city of late. So I said could I speak to the owner. Oh yes he said and rang the owner which I was so glad he deigned to do. But, my jaw dropped open when I heard him tell the owner that I had come to complain. Thankfully I understood what he was saying and quickly intercepted the conversation and assured the owner I had come to happily meet the pianist, as I had grown up with a classical pianoforte music background.

The owner was an affable and genteel young woman, who laughed at my excitement and told me to go and meet Michal, she said. “ Don’t be surprised, he is only 22, but is really gifted. I will call him and tell him to take you up.”

In minutes a slim young man, all of 22, came down and very graciously welcomed me up to their flat, to hear him play. “ I am from Poland, a concert pianist,” he said, “and I have come here at the invitation of John and Asmi for three months.”

“I am ready to play a concert for anyone who likes my kind of music.” I nodded ecstatically and said I would try to connect him to the local music schools here and he could go and play for them. The trouble is one needs a piano of concert calibre for him to play anywhere he goes and that is very difficult in India.

Then a day later I get a call from the neighbour saying, “do come over for drinks and dinner. Michal is going to give us an hours concert.” Not one who enjoys parties, this was one party I was definitely going for. So the three of us dressed and went over to the Kerala Varma compound where the flat is, behind our building. To think when we were kids that was where the servants of the royals lived in a long line of buildings.

Now the whole area had been built up into posh apartments with a beautiful garden surrounding it. We took the lovely little lift up which had one glass side looking out onto the garden to the third floor where they lived.

John and Asmi were a young couple with very young kids, lawyers and obviously very wealthy. We learned that John had flown Michal out as his guest for three months to teach his little son who was six years old. “ I dont mind if the lil guy does not learn,” said John, “ but the idea is for him to see that whatever he does there is a benchmark to reach, and not just settle for mediocre.”

Amazing I thought to myself that the father had dreams of his son achieving greatness in his life. And would move mountains to help him achieve it. Meanwhile Michal is the lucky one, living his dream, coming to India and playing for the Polish Consul General and a famous Film Director who were also invited along with us. Everyone working overtime to ensure his talent was showcased effectively.

Speaking to Michal I find he comes from a family of musicians. His Dad is a clarinet player, his mother a pianist and his sister a pianist and an uncle a saxophonist. And he practices at least 8 hours in a day. As the saying goes, nothing comes without sweat. .

Am sure the three months will fly by, but until then, I wake and sleep to the most wonderful and glorious talent flowing out of the window of the flat, just behind us. Serendipity that we live here? Most definitely, especially since I grew up on a diet of classical piano music.

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