Oh! To Know! To Share! To Enjoy! The Connoisseurs Creed


At the Connoisseurs Club quarterly meeting held in Katy, the members (two who brought along their parents) got together to learn about Indian Classical music.

By Jawahar Malhotra

KATY:One of the most un-club like clubs among the pantheon of organizations that make up the pan-South Asian diaspora’s support structure in the Bayou City, the Connoisseurs Club – named after the French word meaning “a person who knows a lot about something” – held its quarterly meeting in the house of one of its members, Surender Talwar, this past weekend to share, this time the meaning of subtleties in classical Indian music.

Held actually at Talwar’s son Sameer’s house, the musical interlude and education was imparted by sitar maestro Srinivas Koumounduri, who has played since he was a child in India, learning at the feet of his father; accompanied on the table by a relative newcomer to the instrument, Justin Lasiewicz, who has learnt from his guru, David Courtney. The two played a raga for 30 minutes before showing what certain chords and movements meant.

The Connoisseurs creed is to share the wealth of information that each member has with others – whether in travel, watches, fountain pens, musical instruments or other entertainment and recreational pursuits – on a rotational basis, with no formal requirements of dues, organizing events or the like. It originally started in 2012 (see IAN dated August 17, 2012) as the Whisky Enthusiasts Club with the intention to share exceptional bottles of Scotch from across the world, but has morphed into the CC to herald the finer things in life. Members can be invited in, and over the past 18 months the list has grown, besides the founding members.

The meeting this past weekend did indeed include samples from some of the fine whiskies and spirits that each member couple brought to sip from and a catered meal from Signature restaurant, courtesy of the host, another of the few requirement of the Club. They all participated in good wishes to all the members who had a birthday, near or far in time, with a “Happy Birthday, Everyone” sung in full throttle!

One of the few organizational items that was suggested was a Gala in December, by the man who came up with the Clubs moniker, Atul Vir, and wholeheartedly seconded by the 20 people who were there, “but not a fundraiser !” he added. Vir played the sitar during dinner, well enough to the surprise of all, and was later presented with the sitar he played on by Srinivas, to replace the one Vir had lost in a flood in his house this summer.