The Love at First Sight: 

It was the year 2007. One of the seniors at my hostel, a warm and pleasing Mr Pritesh Patni, who apparently was a SPICMACAY volunteer, invited me to a SPICMACAY concert. I had practically no exposure to classical music back then and so was a bit apprehensive to go. He convinced me or rather coaxed me into it. And I’m glad he did.

It was a small room. Pandit Ronu Majumdar, who I was absolutely oblivious about, performed for crowd of 35-40 students with utmost modesty and unprecedented sincerity and devotion. It was difficult to believe my mother telling me how popular and renowned Ronuji is, because he had no air of vanity in his manner or in his speech.

I was touched to the soul through his music. Classical music was to become an indispensable part of my life. I was just not able to comprehend the fact that such a great experience came at no cost whatsoever. And it was not just the concert but I had also got a chance to accompany the artists for dinner, thanks to Mr Patni. It was like ‘sone pe suhaaga’.

I thought, ‘it isn’t a bad proposition, becoming a SPICMACAY volunteer. You get to meet these artists, get to interact with them, get to witness their performances… what more can you ask for.’ But, unfortunately, as the lazy bum I was, I neither became a volunteer nor did I attend any concerts for the next two years. (“Dumb only I was.”)

My Tryst with SPICMACAY:

December, 2009, after avoiding and ignoring my elder brother for many a weekends, I finally budged to his incessant demand that I should go for the Saturday SPICMACAY meetings.

SPICMACAY Pune was gearing up for Heritage 2010, one of its biggest events. The meetings were a buzz. I was only beginning to understand what SPICMACAY is, when I was trusted with tasks and responsibilities. Before I could know, I became a volunteer of this great movement. No filling of forms, no payment of membership fees, nothing! Give us your time Tanmay, is what Gargi Paigude said while entrusting me with a list of institutes to visit. Never before had anybody put so much faith in me. I decided to honour it.

In the time to come, I got acquainted with the philosophy of SPICMACAY. I witnessed various art-forms, experienced the magical charm and the inherent mysticism therein. I experienced the pure bliss, the pristine peace that these art-forms provide. I was (and am) indebted to SPICMACAY for being the medium for this experience. It is only then that I started understanding the philosophy of SPICMACAY. It is only then that I realised why each and every soul needs to be exposed to our classical arts. I started working towards that cause.

Through SPICMACAY I experienced the joy of giving. To see the spellbound students after a concert, to know that their life is positively affected, is a joy as no other. SPICMACAY made me realize the meaning of nishkaam seva.

SPICMACAY Volunteer for Life:

Until May 2012, I was a part of SPICMACAY. But after I attended my first national convention, SPICMACAY became a part of me. Let me commit some self-plagiarism and share with you the same text that I had written after the national convention.

“The immediate feedback to SPICMACAY NatCon, 2012, held at Surathkal, was rather generic; ‘awesome’, ‘memorable’, ‘enthralling’, ‘enchanting’, ‘wonderful’, etc. But as the days passed, the effects completely soaked in, and the resultant value addition was evident.

The NatCon was not just an event, neither was it just an experience. It was, as I witnessed, a landmark in my life whereby my life can be divided as pre-natcon and post-natcon. Every event, every activity of the NatCon reinvented me as a person and as a soul. Never before did I know I had so many layers to me underneath which my soul was trapped, drenched in the fears, the pressures, the judgements, the dos and the don’ts.

The NatCon was a deep spiritual experience. Not a Godly experience but a soulful experience. Rather, a soul-cleansing experience. It did not give me a high with an adrenalin rush. Instead it gave me a high with stability, serenity, peace and calm.”

The NatCon taught me the importance of yog, the humility of shramadaan, it introduced me to various artforms, so culturally rich, so varied, and I wondered why I didn’t experience these before. The NatCon allowed meet to meet volunteers, senior volunteers and the man himself, Dr Kiran Seth, helping me understand SPICMACAY philosophy even better. They all inspired me. The Vision 2020 - to reach out to each and every single student of this country, to ensure he experiences everything that our immensely rich culture has to offer – motivated me.

I have already received so much from SPICMACAY, which I can only begin to give back by serving the movement and striving for its cause for as long as the soul occupies the body. I am a SPICMACAY volunteer for life.

- Tanmay Mehta