July 30, 2015
WB CM’s accordion jam enthralls Hyde Park
For Polish resident Ewan, sitting under the shade of a 100-year-old oak tree at Hyde Park is a lonely trade. The 54-year-old from Bucharest came to London for a living. Hail or storm, he meticulously arrives every day at London’s iconic park at 10am to play his accordion.
Mesmerised walkers, runners and lovers strolling through the park drop in a few shillings that all add up to an amount that decides the fate of Ewan’s dinner at the end of the day . But Wednesday turned to become extra special for this immigrant from Poland.
Mamata Banerjee, who was on her customary morning walk wearing a simple white sari with a slate blue border and white slippers, followed by a bunch of officials, MPs, journalists and a couple of security guards, noticed Ewan playing away an East European number.
The Chief Minister stopped in her steps and made a sharp turn towards Ewan’s bench.
Ewan looked up as she asked: “Where are you from?” Ewan, not used to people stopping for a chat, was at first startled. A shy smile followed, indicating he wasn’t very well versed in English. He shot back with a quick question in broken English:”Are you from India?”
“Yes,” came the reply. A thrilled Ewan then decided to play her the famous Raj Kapoor score ‘Mera Joota Hai Japani’.
The gesture left Mamata Banerjee thrilled. Much to everyone’s amazement, she asked him: “Can I play your instrument while you hold it?”
What followed was an im promptu jam by the chief minister on an instrument that demands tremendous skill. Mamata, who knows how to play the keyboards, then went on to play ‘Saare Jahan Se Achha’. The performance amazed even the professional Ewan.
“It was like a cultural exchange between the two countries,” Mamata Banerjee said. “He played me a song, so I decided to play him one to show respect,” the Chief Minister added.
The article was first published in The Times of India on 30.07.2015