The starving artist is an abiding stereotype of the popular imagination but Amitava Das is as far from that image as it is possible to be. He is in fact a retired civil servant. A quiet, self-effacing man of medium height and build, he is not forthcoming unless patiently drawn out. Should you succeed, however, a conversation with him is rewarding.  He talks about all the things that have to coalesce before art can happen. Music, for him, is an abiding love; Hindustani, Carnatic, wester