Characters

Smita: A 16-year-old girl and Anant’s elder sibling.

Pandit Ravishankar: A famous musician also known as Panditji.

Anant: A 15-year-old boy suffering from cancer.

Aunt Sushila: Smita and Anant’s aunt.

Ustad Allah Rakha: Another famous musician also known as Ustad Sahib.

Introduction

“The concert” is a lesson written by Shanta Rameshwar Rao. The story is about a young boy of just 15 years old, whose name is Anant living in a village named Gaganpur with his sister Smita and parents. He was quite a popular boy of his school and was very active in sports and was known to be the best table- tennis player of his school and also a good athlete as well. He had started learning sitar with his sister Smita and played very well.

He got diagnosed with cancer and thus they had come to Bombay for his treatment in the city. One day, his sister read in the newspaper that Pandit Ravi Shankar will have a concert at the Shanmukhananda auditorium. Anant and Smita became very excited seeing the news as it was their desire to go to the concert, however only Smita could attend and she felt guilty about it.

After the concert, she dared to go to the backstage and met Pandit Ravishankar and Ustad Allah Rakha, told them about her brother and they decided come to their home the very next day. They went in, sat down on the divan by the window and played for the boy, surrounding him with a great and beautiful happiness as life went out of him very gently.

Summary

Smita comes to know about Pandit Ravishankar’s concert 

Here the writer narrates an incident, which is very much touching. Smita was a sixteen years old girl who was reading the newspaper, and said excitedly that Pandit Ravishankar’s Concert will be held at Shanmukhananda Auditorium the next day. Smita, her mother and her brother Anant who was suffering from cancer came to Bombay for treatment.

They stayed in Bombay for treatment at Aunt Sushila’s Apartment. When she told the mother loudly, her mother asked her to not to shout as her brother might wake up. But the boy was not sleeping, he was fond of music and wanted to learn sitar, both the brother and sister joined the sitar class. When he heard the name Pandit Ravi Shankar, he was eager to know the details so he tried to raise himself upon his elbows, but he couldn’t and he fell back. His eyes though she pretended that all would be well and their family members were only four.

Her brother Anant was fifteen years old, the best table-tennis player in the school and the fastest runner. He was learning to play the sitar and better than his sister Smita as in many other things.

Cancer took away Anant’s capabilities

He was quite intelligent and skilful. He was already able to compose his own tunes. Then cancer struck and they came to Bombay with great hopes. They had belief and told themselves that Anant would be cured and he would again walk and run and take part in the forthcoming table- tennis tournament.

He would play sitar and perhaps would be a great sitarist. But their bad luck his condition grew worse day by day and the doctor said. “Take him home, give him what he likes, satisfy him, because his end is not so far”. As a parent, they hide the truth. They laughed and smiled and talked Anant with whatever made him happy. 

They fulfilled his every need and gave whatever he asked for. Now he was asking to go to the concert. For him it was shining, he said that he must not miss the chance. He was very eager to hear him and see him. Mother asked Anant to lie down, she felt helpless seeing her son’s condition and became very sad and uttered prayers. Anant eagerly wanted to attend the concert as it was a chance of a lifetime.

Immediately he began to cough and catch a breath with open mouth and had to be given oxygen from the cylinder. But his large eyes were fixed on his sister. Smita felt very guilty when she read the news, she had been so excited that she completely forgot the condition of her brother. She had known the frightening truth that he was going to die. He was suffering from cancer and doctors gave no hope. 

Anant eagerly wanted to attend the concert

Mother consoled his son and said, “this is not the last time they are going to play, when you are better then we will go”. Smita stood at the window, her eyes filled with tears. Seeing this, the mother whispered to Smita that she can go with her’ father. Smita went to Aunt Sushila and expressed her sorrow and how she can go without her brother. The aunt suggested her to walk in the park some time. Smita was grateful to her suggestion. While walking in the park a daring thought came to her mind and she hurried home. She decided that there is no harm in trying it. The plan was ready in her mind.

She asked her mother and her father agreed to get the tickets. When the next day Smita and her father left the home Anant smiled and wished them to enjoy the concert. Smita listened to the concert, she was so much excited and felt that was all in a dream. She listened to the unfolding ragas but all the while she remembered her plan. She heard the “chance of a lifetime” in Anant’s voice in every beat of the tabla. The concert came to an end and a man-made a long boring speech and people began to move towards the exit. 

Smita manages to fulfil his brother’s wish

Now was the time, Smita went towards the stage. Pandit Ravishankar and Ustad Allah Rakha were standing. Smita’s heart was beating loudly, her knees felt weak, her tongue became dry, but she went up and standing before them with her hands folded. She called ‘Oh, sir’. Both of them saw Smita and asked “yes?” She narrated the condition of her brother and he is longing to wish to see them. At that moment the man who made long boring speech came and said to Smita that Panditji is a busy man, you must not trouble him with these requests.

Blearing this Pandit Ravishankar smiled and mentioned him to be quiet. He asked Ustad Sahib and without any thought, Ustad said that tomorrow morning they will perform for the boy to which Paditji also agreed. It was very exciting for Smita. Smita went back home and told everybody especially Anant. The next morning both Pandit Ravishankar and Ustad Allah Rakha came to their home. They performed in front of Anant who was lying on the bed. Anant was listening to music with immense happiness as life went out of him very gently.

Conclusion

Smita’s determination to fulfil the desire of her sick brother is an example to show that where there is a will, there is a way. On knowing her brother’s desire to attend Pandit Ravi Shankar’s recital, Smita decided to do something that others wouldn’t even have dreamt of. She decided to convince Pandit Ravi Shankar to play exclusively for the dying boy.

She managed to approach Pandit Ravi Shankar and like a true gentleman he agreed to do what was requested of him and brought immense peace and happiness to the dying boy. Thus, we see that the power of conviction, the power of persuasion and the power of love cane make the possible. Despite the story is a sad one, the close bond among the family members and the concern of the musicians for the boy stand as a testimony to the beauty of human relationships.

We see aunt Sushila being so warm towards the family and always welcoming them into her house. Finally, we see the musicians doing so much for the little boy who is a total stranger to them without expecting anything in return. All these instances show the beauty of human relationships.