I can die a happy and fulfilled man: I have a band named for me. No, I did nothing to earn or deserve it — merely owned a last name which, while probably quite banal and colorless in India, may strike some Westerners as odd or even exotic.
Shambu is a Buffalo quartet that was formed two years ago by a couple of students, college seniors both. Pete’s the leader; he writes most of the songs and plays an attractive Ovation acoustic. Mikey is one of the best tenor sax players in town and also an ace on the keys. And they both sing. Pete works for Ani DiFranco and her label Righteous Babe Records and Mikey’s now in med school. I started out as their prof, then became a friend.
Since I began teaching, my parents have dogged me with a peculiar request — write a book. They don’t care what it’s about: “Any damn book, so we can put it on our bookshelf at home in Chennai. It’s a form of immortality, you know.”
For the last couple of years, I haven’t heard a peep out of them about the book idea. I asked them recently: had they changed their mind? Their reply had me in stitches. No, they said. Since the formation of the band, the immortality thing was no longer an issue. I had simply gone as high as they could ever hope. Forget the book. I was way past that.