At times, my Pratham Tarang behaves like a sulking partner. If I show signs of obsessiveness while trying to play a near impossible gamak, it sulks and teases me. While playing the melodious song Mohe Panghat Pe, Kirit Bhatt – a music lover in the audience – wondered aloud how I was able to coax a meend from this obstinate instrument. My immediate response was: “Come and sit beside me and find out for yourself’”, and he waved the invitation aside, saying, “Some other time”.
That gave me a high and I started dreaming about playing difficult fast paced classical music taans and gamaks on this partner of mine.
While on a sabbatical for a year, I practiced like a man possessed to realize my dream. Still miles to go before that happens, but with a lot of cajoling and caressing, the partner now responds, teaching me in the process the value of patience and inspiring unending innovations in the playing technique.
Perhaps this is akin to a sculptor trying to coax a beautiful work of art out of a block of seemingly unyielding stone.