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Determination in reverse

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by BeeAmma, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. BeeAmma

    BeeAmma Silver IL'ite

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    This is a story of a girls determination to never cow down to parental pressure. Usually we hear of heroic individuals who surmount great odds to achieve greatness. They persevere single-mindedly against financial and social pressures to achieve their dreams. This narrative is about a person who did exactly the opposite.

    It was my fathers dream that I become a violinist. He loved the sound of the instrument and had wanted to learn it growing up. Due to financial constraints and other family responsibilities, he was unable to do so. So he bequeathed the dream to me-- only I did not want it. I thought bharatnatyam with its beautiful clothes and jewelery was cooler than sitting around pulling a bow over 4-strings. Additionally, at the time, I did not really enjoy or appreciate classical music.

    Given that we were in an place where carnatic violin teachers were non-existant, appa started me off on Hindustani track with Mr R.S. Mr R.S was a skinny, kurtha-clad, partially bald Marathi gentleman in his 50s who was employed at the local All India Radio station. He would patiently teach me the basics and that is where we got stuck. We stayed at the basics for years. With no interest I would not practise outside classes and consequently Mr R.S did not see it fit to teach me advanced lessons-- much to appas frustration. Luckily for me, Mr R.S. decided to accept an job offer in the US and that marked the end of our mutually frustrating efforts-- to teach on his part, and not to learn (on my part.)

    After a blissful but brief lull, teacher #2 was presented. Mr G was a professor at the local music college and wanted to revisit the basics--again. So we spent a whole year before he (thankfully) became busy preparing for the festival of India in which he was participating. How serendipitous.

    Unfortunately, by this time, appa had managed to locate not just one but two experts in carnatic compositions. He wanted to ensure against any further discontinuities in instruction...so he hired them both! Teacher #3 was an idli and filter coffee loving bachelor working at a local bank. He had a fascinating unibrow, and his moustache was half the length of his unibrow and equally lush. All-in-all, a hairy pudgy bachelor. Amma would give him coffee and snacks after each lesson. He was more interested in having an audience (me) to display his musical talents than in actually imparting knowledge. Teacher #4 on the other hand was a old retired gentleman who cycled miles from outside the city to instruct me.

    As if these irritating classes were not enough, whenever "dignitaries" (mostly relatives) visited our home, Appa would casually but proudly (without consulting me) volunteer me to play for their entertainment. Kind of like in those Jane Austen BBC productions where one of the daughters is randomly asked to perform at the piano while everybody sits around...

    When I revisit those days now, it confounds me to realize that I made so limited progress beyond the geethams inspite of extraordinary efforts on part of my father and well-intentioned instructions from so many teachers.

    What finally bailed me out were my SSC and HSC exams. Both these provided perfectly valid excuses to discontinue any further attempts to perfect the violin. Amma intervened "avalluku tution ka apparam time e kadakyaruthu illai" (she does not get time at all after the tutions). Whew!

    Lest I appear ungrateful, I am very thankful now for all the efforts from parents and teachers. Despite remaining a novice with the violin, those classes were not a waste. I can understand and appreciate all kinds of music today in no small measure because of those years. Whether it is U. Srinivas, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Rachmaninoff, or even Harris Jeyaraj, I can enjoy...
     
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  2. ganges

    ganges Gold IL'ite

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    dear

    Very beautiful writing. This is a cycle. What all we disagreed with our parents and GPs , now being in the same position, we can understand why they did that to us. But we cannot rewind our life. Hats off to your father for he injected( without your willing ) the sence of music in you.


    ganges
     
  3. aruna_077

    aruna_077 Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Bee,

    That was a profound thought. Its so true that whatever we learn(with/without interest) does not go waste.

    At some point in our life, we will realize its importance.

    Am a music lover too..

    Keep enjoying!
     
  4. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    dear BA

    enjoyed reading your experience with teachers 1 to 4.:)

    yes at that age you were not interested but now it has at least taught you to appreciate music.my music lessons were also almost the same.i enjoyed it because we went as a group of 4- 5 girls.but i never liked the teacher.so when they dropped out i too said i will not continue.:).it is only because of my mother that i can sing and enjoy carnatic music now.

    but nowadays things have changed,isnt it.we never force any of our interests on our children :)
     
  5. BeeAmma

    BeeAmma Silver IL'ite

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    Ganges:
    Thanks for the feedback. Good observation :). Now that I am a parent I realize this.

    Aruna:
    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, knowledge does not go waste. In fact I am amazed by the varieties of music that I am able to enjoy.

    Mindian:
    Thanks for the feedback. A good teacher will inspire. I think the first step should have been to inculcate a love for music as opposed to mechanically going through the exercises. Yep, I am subjecting lil Bee to different types of music :).
     
  6. Tubelight

    Tubelight Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi BeeAmma
    That was a delightful article !
    I could empathise with your experience of "mutually frustrating efforts" (LOL) and 'making limited progress inspite of extraordinary efforts by your teachers', for I have been there and done that . But thankfully, after my first teacher fled, there was no procession of more teachers as in your case.

    Loved the portrait of the unibrowed, filter coffee loving Teacher #3 .

    So we spent a whole year before he (thankfully) became busy preparing for the festival of India in which he was participating. How serendipitous.:)


    Totally agree with you that there can be nothing more irritating for kids than being forced to be performing bears for visitor's entertainment.

    :thumbsup
     
  7. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Nice to see the music lover in you BeeAmma.
    Thanks to your father for that love.
    Me too was in the same position in those days, where my parents tried hard to teach me Veena. I came to Pancharatna keerthis too..but I did not practice well...that's what I feel now..

    sriniketan
     
  8. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Bee Amma,

    So u learnt Voilin, great. You could charm yr husband anytime, if he is in a bad mood, u could sing a lovely song to him " Tu kahe agar jeevan bhar, main geet sunati jaoon, man meet bajati jaooon.:biglaugh

    Nice one.REgards

    kamal
     
  9. Meenupanicker

    Meenupanicker Senior IL'ite

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    Dear BA
    That was another wonderful post from you.

    Your father must be a man of patience.Otherwisw he couldn't have

    managed 1 to 4 teachers inspite of you not showing interest.

    Thanks for sharing
     
  10. BeeAmma

    BeeAmma Silver IL'ite

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    Tubelight:
    Thanks for the feedback. Yep, quite a few of us were subjected to music lessons:). Performing for relatives was a torture for everyone. The guests had to listen to my badly played compositions.

    Sriniketan:
    Thanks for the feedback. Wonder how we will be with our kids.

    Kamalji:
    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I do subject my husband to my singing when I get angry at him. That is my revenge when he misses a chore around the house:).

    Meenu:
    Thanks for the feedback. Appa and I were equally stubborn on this :).
     

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