Notes on musical integrity | Culture | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • On a different track
    May 18, 2013
    Jeet Ganguly was adamant that he wouldn't do a Nadeem-Shravan.
  • 'A saturation point had been reached'
    May 18, 2013
    TOI-Crest tries to find out what makes this giggly and chatty 22-year-old special.
  • Unabashedly raw
    May 18, 2013
    The new female playback voice is vastly different from the high pitch of the earlier decades - today, it is unapologetically low, bold and husky.
More in this Section
Profiles
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
Guru-shishya tradition

Notes on musical integrity

|


GURU GYAAN: Dhondutai Kulkarni's devotion to music was other worldly

When I first went to Dhondutai Kulkarni, some 30 years ago, she was merely my 'singing teacher' - someone who patiently coaxed notes out of a ten-year-old girl and gradually transformed her from being a reluctant student into one smitten by the magic of Hindustani classical music. She used to teach just one raga for months, deliberately, pushing for great depth, despite my every attempt to thwart her efforts. Most other teachers move from one raga to another so that their students can expand their repertoire and delude themselves into believing they are mini-ustads. But that was not the way Dhondutai taught - and as a result of setting such a strong foundation, so many taans and aalaaps I learned as a child have stayed with me and I am able to reproduce them without thought, like swimming and cycling. The voice culture training that I received from her was impeccable. No one can take that away from me.

The learning and teaching took place as if it was the most natural thing on earth - like breastfeeding. I remember how, many years later, someone asked me whether I knew the Jaipur gharana's secret two-note taan. I was taken aback. I immediately, and presumptuously, challenged Dhondutai. Why hadn't she taught this to me? She just laughed and said, "But it's one of the first things you learned. Think about it. " She then left the music room to make tea, leaving me strumming the tanpura, baffled. I scrolled through the entire musical database in my head to try and retrieve the two-note taan. Finally, she came back and said, "Come on, sing it!" I couldn't. Then she revealed it and I realised that I had been singing it all my life, but without the hubris of knowing.

It was much more than music that kept drawing me back to her, even after my formal training had stopped. I think it was that unconditional love and devotion to art and to spirituality that made me want to be in her presence. She just didn't care about fame or fortune if it came in the way of her musical integrity - which was such a refreshing quality given the world we live in, driven by instant coffee fame. So, I drew from it, and allowed it to influence my thought process and my overall approach to life.

There is an other-worldly quality about her. She is deeply spiritual. She believes in, and sees, things that most others do not see. She thus introduced me to that dimension of life and living which is invisible to the naked eye but in fact plays such a big role in our lives - like those unseen notes, the ones in between two notes, the ones that can never be notated or written. They are the things that only a guru can teach his or her student, person to person. They are invisible, like blessings and moondust. That is why the guru-shishya tradition can never really be replaced, or modernised, or sentenced to the efficiency of technology. It is what brings us back to humanity.

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com

Networking

itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Hotklix
Services
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service