Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Music Room by Namita Devidayal - A beautiful experience

I always return from India with a small box of books –  personal choices of wife, son and myself. While son picks up the children's books, we try to thrust on him ‘better’ books on self-development, spirituality et al.

During our visit to friends @ Cairo, we had an interesting discussion. The hosts were reading books from the two opposite ends of the spectrum – lady of the house was reading ‘Shantharam’, he was reading a book on ‘halo’. He felt reading all such books/novels was sheer waste of time. The other two couples, including ourselves, had their own views. Interesting discussion, that was…!

Personally, I have been reading less of fiction-types, but more of other serious types. ( Though Shantaram is being planned, put off due to the sheer size of the book!)

Now, why all these…? I just finished reading a beautiful book – The Music Room, by Namita Devidayal. After finishing the book, I am unable to start another book. It had such a profound impact on me…

As a child, I wanted to become a singer, more like Yesudas. I started my classical music training at the age of 9, but could not continue as we shifted out of our village. I re-started with another master when I was 13. Again, we moved. Somewhere, I lost whatever little singing capability I had. I don’t know was it due to the serious typhoid or hitting adolescence. 

I had this fear, if I will be re-born just to fulfil the dream to become a singer! 

As my life took a fantastic twist and became Spiritual, bhajans stuck a chord. When I sang as part of a group, my cacophony would not stand out. My singing improved.Singing became one of the nine spiritual steps, ‘Keerthanam’. Thanks to repeated singing, cacophony became more ‘bearable’ ! From a follower, I became an occasional ‘lead-singer’. I was fulfilling a dream… to sing…’keerthanam’. 

May be, I don’t need to be re-born to become a singer, but to take care of other effects of Karma J

Against this background, I saw a book on music, in India. I saw the comments. On the cover, ‘Fantastic! A must for every musician and music lover – Pt Ravi Shankar’ and similar reviews on the back-cover. I picked up the book… The Music Room

Somewhere, my priority in life shifted to education, career, etc. Music was not a priority! Unlike the author, "Part of me is a mom and part of me is a singer and part of me is a writer and part of me is a party animal”.

So many of my friends are music-lovers. From film songs ( hindi/tamil/etc), classical (Hindustani/Carnatic), western, instrumental, devotional-singing, etc… But, for many of us, music is an integral part of our lives. For some of us, it is meditation/sadhana/spirituality…

"To play a raga, you must see it standing in front of you." – is the most inspiring thought in the book. 
The Prologue, Bhairavi, on the Vision is just Divine.

A big thanks to the author for sharing this wonderful musical-story… God Bless…

"….this kind of music is the closest one comes to spirituality. It's so meditative. It makes you forget the outside world. It's almost like going into a musical wonderland. "
"...The book is also about how someone from a contemporary, modern world interacts with someone from such a traditional world"…

PS : A must read for all music lovers, who are from India, want to know about India, and want to understand what music means to Indians & beyond…

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