Thursday, November 13, 2008
It was the summer of 2004 when I met Anju Gill at an Old 97's show at the former Gypsy Tea Room. We hit it off instantly, which should be no surprise, as few people share the level of intense love of local music as either of us. We continued to see each other at shows, and I always welcomed her company. It was always a joy to see her, more so than with most people. With Anju, when she spoke to you, it was never out of polite duty. I always sensed that she was a very genuine person, interested not just in the usual chit-chat about music and such, but about the well-being of myself or whoever else she was talking to.
Fast forward almost to years later, to what seemed to be an average day of me surfing the web, specifically MySpace. I was looking at Jayme Nourallah's page and there was a banner that read "Anju we miss you". My first thought was that it was such a shame that she moved, but I wished her well. It had me curious, so I logged onto Anju's page. After reading the comments on her page, I came to the heartbreaking realization that Anju's departure was of a much more permanent nature. I never that she suffered from depression until it was too late; I learned this only after she committed suicide.
I wish I could say that Anju and I were genuinely close friends, but that wouldn't be true. So let me say something that is true: I always felt that if we had had more time, that we would have become friends. I deeply regret that I did not get to know her better. I regret even more that I didn't know what she was struggling with inside of herself. She was someone that in spite of the fact that we weren't that close, had I had an inkling of what she was going through, I would have been there for her in a heartbeat.
Since her death, the Anju Gill Foundation has been established. The purpose of this foundation is to provide support, recognition, and community for musicians in the form of sponsorship, generating awareness and by hosting and planning live events in which local artists can be recognized. This Saturday at Club Dada is Anju Gill Fall Megabill, with the $10 cover charge going towards the Anju Gill Foundation. Entertainment will be on both indoor and outdoor stages and the artist roster reads like a who's who of Dallas music. Salim Nourallah, I Love Math, the cut*off, The Slack, Tonite Tonite, and the cut*off are among the artists playing Saturday. On a sadly ironic note, indoor headliner I Love Math and outdoor headliner Salim Nourallah played a show together at Allgood Cafe about a month before Anju's death, and that was the last time I saw her. Perhaps if we're lucky, her spirit will be felt at Saturday's show.