Today was the day I reunited with my dearest Devendra, my violin which I had left in Khajuraho while I was in Europe. 2 1/2 months. It had been kept underneath the bed in the downstairs bedroom. Its case was very dusty, which upset me somewhat. I really have to get a new case-cover made for him, as this one is falling into pieces. I also washed Devendra's scarves, its mini-towel and that small red felt case in which I keep my rosin, as I had never washed it in well over 7 years. The cloths were all terribly stinky and I threw them straight into a bucket for a wash.
And then I took Devendra. It was still sort of tuned, relatively, but as expected its pegs were totally unmovable, as the wood of its neck had swollen during hot season. As expected - although I feel I should have known better and loosened the strings before leaving! I hope I will never have to leave my violin in India in May-June ever again! Now I either have to find an AC room to keep it in a cooler environment for a while to let the wood shrink, which isn't available for now, or... What? We tried to hammer the pegs out of the neck to loosen them but it didn't work. We unsuccessfully tried to unscrew the pegs with pliers. If we try too hard we will damage my violin, which would be horrible. The only thing to do now is to play it as low as it will go, i.e. tuned in E, and wait for next month to get some help from Guruji...
In the meantime, when I practise in the music school here I shall use the viola - it goes up do D although that's the highest it will go. And as was the plan when I decided to bring it over from France, I shall accompany the singing girls in A.
And so I practised a little today; the viola to start with, but I really wanted to try Devendra again despite its poor state, to see how it felt after playing that big fat viola for three months. When I realised I could still play it in E I took it and played it. Its high sound feels very thin somehow, but it is a lot easier to play because it is small and its strings are extremely thin and soft! I think if I keep practising on the viola, the violin will feel very easy!!
After my practice I realised I was tired, so I went to lie down. I fell asleep and woke up after a whole hour; I had slept so tightly that I thought it was morning. I took a few seconds to gather myself back. Why does sleep feel so comfortable in this country? When I don't know what to do, when I feel empty and confused, there's always that comforting slumber friend - and letting go into a world of nothingness...
When I woke up it was time to go to the music teacher's house. I resumed teaching his son today followed by the music school with him. Of course I went with the viola. I did tune it in D and it worked fine, but its strings were so tight that they kept loosening by themselves and I had to tune it back often... It was nice to teach Animesh again, as I hadn't been able to teach him after so long. He hasn't really lost any of his skills, and I think he plays faster now. He behaves so much like a "model boy"; he is quite funny... After my class I handled the viola to him so he could try it out. It was a bit difficult for him to play, but the instrument looked like it would be the right size for his long body. After my chai before I left I tuned the viola back into A.
I walked to the music school. I was really excited to try out the viola in A in tune with the girls. And wow what a difference it feels to be in the same tuning; Their SA is no longer a PA for me but a SA, which makes my accompanying a lot easier! It's also lovely to try out new raags and actually be able to follow them. I stayed 2 hours in the school. I could be accompanying the girls for hours on end. Time stops when I'm in that school; just focusing on the notes and playing, without worrying about rhythm...
The teacher told me that we will be playing on 15 August for Independence Day. I will have to go to school everyday around 12:00 noon for practice with the children, and I guess following that I'll be going to his house for class with Animesh.
A note on my three blogs
A note on my blogs
(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...
(2) vio; sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!
(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.