If I remember right, the start of my third year in the band marked the return of MF to Prashanthi Nilayam. He had not visited Parthi for sometime. The thirty of us were playing Cherry Pink (and the apple blossoms white) for the first time. Hearing us MF took out his trumpet and improvised on top of us. Man! We never heard such wonderful music and the guys in the hostel said that they could hear MF more clearly than all of us!
I do not know how many of us remember that we used to give him black coffee every night after practice. One night after the first few sips Maynard looked confused and wondered why the coffee tasted so different! On investigating we discovered that instead of sugar they had put alum (by mistake – as both look so similar) in the coffee! I guess Mrs. Ferguson got so concerned after this incident that she used to pack his coffee at home!
I was also fortunate to jam with him on my tabla. I think Fido recorded it but I never got to hear the recording. That does not matter as it is still fresh in my heart.
Maynard was so down to earth and concerned about us. I remember him telling us that if anyone of us wanted to come and study music in the US, he would be more than happy to write out a recommendation to some of the best music colleges.
A bunch of us – Ramanan, Fido and myself - were mentioned in his fan club newsletter and he lovingly sent us a copy. I still treasure that copy.
I used to enjoy those walks back to the ashram after practice. Chatting with him on various things. He was always filled with such hilarious stories!