I was readying a blog today morning when my friend Lakshmi called up asking whether I saw her Whatsapp message. When I replied in negative, she broke the news “Abel uncle nahi rahe..”
I first met Abel Verghese during one of the rehearsals for a large-scale show Zansam was doing. He kept to his own through the rehearsals. I didn’t quite take an immediate liking towards him. Though he was a handsome looking 60-ish gentleman, he didn’t seem approachable.
But as time went by that day we got to talk a lot and share a few laughs. Abel (he used to insist we call him that!) was a charming man with an everlasting smile adorning his face. He used to keep a brush-like moustache back then. And when he played his Harmonica, he used to steal hearts. Oh yes, he could be called ‘Pied Piper’ if a Harmonica could be considered as a Pipe. I still remember how my mom went all gaga about his handsomeness and his charm after watching his videos on YouTube. And from what I know, all those ladies out there went gaga too!
Although Zansam and Abel didn’t always perform together, he was our beloved. The eldest in the family and one among the youngest at heart. Abel used to keep some time for us to jam together. He used to ask us if we had plans of jamming whenever he was in Bangalore.
And we did jam once at Aniket’s place. That was a memorable session. He showed his travelling collection of Harmonicas and played a few tunes for everyone in the room. He also told us how he is still learning to pick up new songs.
Abel contacted me a few times in the last four years. These were post-Zansam days and I was in a personal hell. I used to assure him each time that we (Zansam) would meet up at least for him, but that never happened again! We get so busy with our lives that we hardly give time to the others in our lives. What we don’t realize is – Sometimes, you just don’t get another chance!
When I heard the news this morning, the first thought that came to my mind was how we will never get to jam with the great musician again!
I’m sure you’ll Rest In Peace, Smiling as you Always did.