Father and Son Revisit 9/11 Twenty Years Later in “Shanti Revisited” Song

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BOSTON–On September 11th, 2001, Malay Kundu was a student at Harvard Business School. Like everyone who was alive back then, that day is etched in his memory.  Now, twenty years later, he revisits that day with his son in an updated rendition of a song that he was inspired to write shortly after that tragic day.

In the days following 9/11, stricken by constant thoughts of the grief associated with losing a loved one, Malay began to ponder what such a loss would mean.

“I had just celebrated my first anniversary only a few months earlier, and the thought of losing my wife was just unimaginable. It occurred to me how the fact that I was having this thought at all was really indicative of the loss of peace that had enveloped me and most other people in the country,” Malay said.

Waking up to a world that had previously taken peace for granted, Malay composed much of the song in short order, a manifestation of his passion for the message.

Now 20 years later, along with his 18-year-old son Rithik “Ricky” Kundu, a high school senior and talented musician with eight original songs in his own right, the father-son duo revisits the story.

“I wasn’t born. I was born two years after it happened,” Ricky said. “We learned about it from school, we learned about it on the news. Even though I wasn’t there, just knowing that it happened is scary enough. Something like that could happen again. What if that takes one of us? I think I really understand loss better from working on this song.”

The father proceeds to recount the story of Shanti (Peace) leaving that morning with merely a kiss goodbye. The balance of the song, singing shared between both father and son, details the loved one’s longing for Shanti’s return as the day turns from morning to afternoon to evening.  In the powerful culmination of the song, both father and son together sing, “No matter what will happen, our love for you still grows” as they defiantly resolve to carry on.

As Ricky himself reflects on what the song means for him today, “With the pandemic, with climate change, it feels like the world could end at any moment, and it’s important to preserve the peace and keep those who are close to us close to us.”

Malay Kundu is a serial tech entrepreneur, and his son Ricky is a singer-songwriter focusing on electronic music production and involved in acapella and choral music at high school and rap in his spare time. “I know my dad as the business person of the family, he’s not usually the singer person,” Ricky said.  “It was cool to see the breadth and depth which he thought about the lyrics and how to sing them — I felt like we could really connect over it, and I feel like we did. Even though the song is about such a devastating loss, it was such a nice experience to work on it together. I was really glad I got to work with my dad on this song which emphasizes the need for peace.”

You can see a video and listen to the song by clicking on the image below, or at www.shantisong.org

Here are the lyrics of the song:

Father, oh Father, please tell me how it goes
Before the world was masked,
Before the forests burned,
Tell me of that day that she left us
Many years ago….

Shanti, oh Shanti, oh Shanti where’d you go?
Stole away this morning, so quiet I didn’t know
Small consolation, that kiss before you’d go
Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Shanti Om, Peace and Hope
Shanti, Shanti please come home

Shanti, oh Shanti, oh Shanti where’d you go?
Can’t believe this afternoon, how bad this day would go
Need you here right next to me, my hand for you to hold
Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Shanti Om, Peace and Hope
Shanti, Shanti please come home

Smoke fills the skies
As tears fill my eyes
Cruel coin that Fate has tossed

Life was a dream
With you next to me
Now I’m awake and lost

Shanti Om, Peace and Hope
Shanti Om, Peace and Hope
Shanti, Shanti please come home
Shanti, Shanti please come home

Shanti, oh Shanti, oh Shanti where’d you go?
I pray to God this evening in daylight you will show
No matter what will happen, my love for you still grows

Shanti Om, Peace and Hope
Shanti, Shanti please come home

No matter what will happen, our love for you still grows

Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
Shanti Shanti Shanti Om.

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