From Margao to Mumbai with music

Who will play this weekend is the question, after Konkan Railways station band initiative for Mumbai-bound train get thumbs up

Konkan Railway (KR)’s initiative to have live music by a band on the platform at the Margao railway station in Goa, turned out to be a big hit, with many calls coming in to perform over this weekend. The KR in-house band called Aarohi performed for 45 minutes on March 12 (Saturday) and March 13 (Sunday from 5 pm to 5.45 pm, stopping 15 minutes before the Konkan Kanya train left Margao for Mumbai at 6 pm. Aarohi comprises band members, which are employees of KR and are posted at different railway stations like Margao, Ratnagiri, Karwar, etc, and come together occasionally to play in the band purely out of a love for music.

The band performing at Margao station over the weekend as people waiting for the Konkan Kanya watch. PIC/ Baban Ghatge
The band performing at Margao station over the weekend as people waiting for the Konkan Kanya watch. PIC/ Baban Ghatge

“Those at the station stopped to listen to us. Passengers were enjoying themselves and started clapping and taking pictures with their mobiles,” says a delighted David M, who played congas (percussion drums) with the five-piece band. “It was a great feeling to see the people cheering and then after we stopped they came and shook our hands, saying they liked it very much.”

Buoyed with the success and feedback from passengers and others, the KR has now invited musicians to come and perform at Margao station. The only hitch is the bands or musicians will have to play for free. “We will provide all the required equipment, sound system, the stage, etc, but we cannot pay the musicians,” says Baban Ghatge, the deputy general manager, Public Relations of KR. “There have been numerous inquiries from musicians from places like Hubbali, Honavar as well as within Goa, asking for details. We are hoping some corporates approach us to sponsor and pay the musicians. We can put their banners at the station,” he says.

Margao station was the venue for the bands. Pic/Joseph Zuzarte
Margao station was the venue for the bands. Pic/Joseph Zuzarte

The idea of having the band play for passengers waiting for the Konkan Kanya, he says, came from their (Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Sanjay Gupta. “We started this as a trial and looking at the great response, we will continue with the performances. We chose Margao because it is the main station in Goa on the Konkan Railway route and the Konkan Kanya, our main service, starts from here in the evening,” says Ghatge.

The music played was instrumental, including Bollywood and Hollywood tunes, Goan Konkani and patriotic songs. “The band stopped playing 15 minutes before the train’s departure, because, otherwise passengers might have got so engrossed in listening to them that they might have missed the train!” says Ghatge. “We only had two shows because band members have regular duties,” says Ghatge.

The Konkan Railway’s Facebook and Twitter accounts glowed with praise. “It’s really an excellent initiative by Railways, thanks,” posted one Ravi Kumar Jha. Vaibhav Patel posted “Nice move”. Rajesh Singh posted “Well done, keep up the spirit of innovation. Thanks for unique idea to entertain the passengers and encourage talent.” Bhavita Trivedi posted “Sign of sabka sath, sabka vikas.” By Wednesday morning, there were 170 tweets (or retweets) and 470 likes.

David M, who hails from Hubbali, Karnataka, is posted as an electrical section engineer at Margao; another member is a station master at Honnavar, and so on. Their regular rehearsals are at Ratnagiri where their instruments are stored. With calls coming in from other musicians inquiring about the modalities of performing there, there will be more shows soon, says Ghatge. “It is a good opportunity for music bands or troupes to showcase their skills.”

Besides the evening slot, he says bands can also perform at other times of the day as well. “We are open to bands coming and playing at other times, too, when the Rajdhani, Jan Shatabdi and other trains make a halt at the station for passengers. “We started with the Konkan Kanya because it gets the most number of passengers as the train starts here. They have to only inform us one day in advance,” ends Ghatge.

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