Popular with classical music aficionados

UNIQUE STORE

Adarsh Stores, at first glance will seem no different from the other shops that populate the busy Janpath market. 

But take a few moments off your busy shopping schedule, spend five minutes and listen to the lilting music that floats out from the shop and you can clearly get an idea that this shop is definitely distinct from others. “What you can hear are the Hindi songs inspired from English track. First you hear the Hindi song and then the original English track. Isn’t it amazing,” exclaims Dhruv Shankar, the owner of the
music store.

With songs like O Carol, Kya kehna and Na bole tum na maine kuch kaha being played in the background, Dhruv begins to narrate the story of how his store came into existence in 1950.  Initially started by his parents Ravi Shankar and Tara Devi, who were freedom fighters, “the store did not use to sell music. Instead we were known for confectionery items and cosmetic products,” says Dhruv. “We expanded our shop and began selling music in the 1970s,” says the 61-year-old Dhruv.

Dhruv, a graduate in Physics (Hons) from Hindu College, took over the charge of the shop in the same year, when he was just 16 years. But he still remembers how the store was very popular with the Gandhi family who frequented it often. “Since my father and mother were freedom fighter and active at the national level politics, they were in close contact with Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. So after independence, my father used to send a variety of biscuits, jellies, chocolates and other
confectionary items for Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi. Even Nehruji loved sweets which my father used to send,” says Dhruv,  nostalgia and excitement lending a brightness to his mien.

The political connection continued when Dhruv started selling music at the store. “We are no more in contact with the Gandhi family, but when I started handling the shop, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee became our customer,” says Dhruv. He remembers sending around 15,000 CDs to the Pakistani officials when PM Vajpayee extended his hand of friendship to Pakistan with the historic Lahore bus yatra.

Even known singers like Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan, Shruti Shadolikar and many more artistes of international repute have visited his shop. “Popular classical musicians like Shubha Mudgal , Ghulam Ali and Pandit Jasraj are really close to us. They have been visiting our shop for years. The most surprising moment was when Shubha (Mudgal) came along with Kumar Gandharv. Even Amjad Ali Khan has visited our shop,” says the 61-year-old Dhruv.

Interestingly, the story behind all these musicians visiting his store is related to his father, who himself was a classical singer and was the disciple of Pandit Vinayak Rao Patwardhan of Gwalior gharana. “My father was a singer. And he had also assisted filmmaker V Shantaram. At that time popular lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi and Jaidev were closely associated with him,” recalls Dhruv.

It’s been 44 years now and the store which started with delectable sweetmeats before graduating to selling gramophones, cassettes of old Bollywood songs and classical music, now sells CDs and DVDs. Since Dhruv is the only person handling the shop, he hopes to continue with this as long as his health permits.

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