Archives for category: Music Lesson

One who has eyes like the lotus, who walks like the swan in the pure waters of the lake, you have a thin waist like that of a lion.

You have a moon-like face coloured red like the Kouvai fruit.

You have put on the sweet smelling Thilak, mixed with sandal and kumkum.

You lie down on the bed made of Jaadi flowers. You are beautiful everywhere.

Jaadi flowers

 ~ Above Geetham on Goddess Saraswati is composed in Sanskrit by Saint Poet Purandara Dasa (1484-1564). Transliteration by Sangeetha Vidwan A.S. Panchapakesan for ‘Gaanaamrutha Bodhini’.

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This morning’s music lesson concluded with Raaga Bihag. This Raaga broke me open. Streams of unshed tears flowed. Stepping out into our garden, my heart was heavy, and tender, with motherly longing. When suddenly, something, someone timorous, tugged at my saree. It was our tiny rose bush. I observed how it’s frail buds, had blossomed, a little more than the previous morning. Instantaneously, my heart rejoiced, and I returned to the exquisiteness of the present moment!

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As a young child, I had the great honour to study Hindustani Classical music, with legendary vocalist, Smt. Saraswatibai Rane, from the Kirana Gharana. I can still recall the beautiful, ornate, wooden tanpuras (तंबोरा) with delicate, ivory, inlay work, standing tall in her music room. She would patiently tune, both our tanpuras, to the perfect pitch. Then she would hand over my instrument to me, as if, it were a frail newborn baby, that needed to be loved and cared for. Sitting tall, we would lean it, against our ears, and strum it gently for sometime. Then she would lead, and I would follow. Sometimes, she would gently ask me, “Which Raaga would you like to sing today?”, and my whole being would light up in delight!

Today, I return to my studies of the Indian Classical music with Shri V.S. Balamurali, a gifted Carnatic vocalist, and music teacher. My lessons with him have renewed my love for music, multiple fold! I’m unable to dance the Padams, the Jatiswarams, the Varnams, until I can sing them well. At times, it is frightening to be so out of control. But, today, there is more madness, and gaiety, in drowning in the Sruti! There is a need within to internalise the lyrical quality of music, before dancing to it. The journey appears to be long, but I recognise a slow inner blossoming, around my throat, and voice. And sometimes, most unexpectedly, when one petal opens inside, my entire being reverberates in ecstasy!

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