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This year Shankar experienced a loss with the passing of the man she knew as "Uncle George." George Harrison first became intrigued with the sitar after hearing it played by an Indian band in 1965, during a scene for the movie Help! Harrison traveled to Bombay the next year to learn the rudiments from Ravi, an experience that watered the early seeds of his lifelong dedication to Indian culture, music and Hinduism. In turn, the diminutive Ravi became a Zelig-like fixture on the British and American rock scenes, appearing on stage at the Monterey Pop Festival, the Band's Last Waltz and the Concert for Bangladesh, as well as in the famous films made about those events.
"We spent the whole day with [George] the day before he died. . . yeah, I got to say good-bye, which was very nice. He was very close to me," Shankar says, her voice drifting off. "He had an amazing sense of humor. I will remember him saying some pun or really corny joke. . . that makes me laugh a lot."
When not practicing, recording, writing (her biography of her father, Love of My Life, comes out this summer in India), or performing with Ravi or solo, Shankar has a passion more typical of 20-year-olds: clubbing. "I love trance music, drum 'n' bass and dancing!" she enthuses. Her favorite place is Goa, a hip beach town on India's west coast. "It's where trance music really started. Even now you'll hear things there that you won't hear anywhere else for two years."
She also enjoys going to Brazilian and Turkish bars. But if she plans a post-gig club-hopping night here in the States, she'll have a tough time not getting carded. "Hey!" she says in mock offense, "I amlegal in England!"