Saturday, January 24, 2009

Some Luck

Ben and I found a drum teacher. Our rental agent, Krumal, a great guy and funny, gave us the name of a vocal lecturer in the University's school of Music. We tried to call him but got screaming kids and someone we couldn't understand, so we rode a rickshaw to the school. It sits on a lake with a 265 foot sculpture of Shiva. Yikes. It's much scarier than the Lincoln Memorial. The first person we asked to help us was the chair of the dance department. She said no, no, you need to talk to Bharat Gangani. She went to find him and within ten minutes we were set up for daily, two hour lessons on hand drums. Mr. Bharat comes from a family of drummers. He's also a classical Indian dancer.

Today Bharat took us to his favorite music shop and we bought a two headed drum played horizonally with hands or sticks. It looks like a baby cocktail drum. When anyone started playing, the shop guys joined in. The shop is about the size of a one stall garage. One of the craftsmen fine tuned the drum and we took it home. We start lessons tomorrow.

Ben and I took an interesting walk through the bazaar yesterday. We ended up at the Shiva lake again later in the afternoon. The huge stone gate to the bazaar stands at one end of the lake. From inside the bazaar you can see Shiva framed in the arch. Wendy and Lee took a rickshaw home, while Ben and I went in. This isn't a tourist town. Everybody else looked local except for the naked, ash covered guy with chains on his genitals and couple of barefoot guys in Orange turbans from Rajastan.

We walked in a straight line through clothing, cookware, plumbing and hardware. The shops started to thin out and we found ourselves in an open block with two narrow entrances. We felt like we had intruded in a private quarter. The buildings were disheveled to the degree that it looked like it had been designed for the movies. One stoop was loaded with people, all women in Saris who smiled and laughed at us. A laughing vegetable seller gestured with his arms for us to go in there. And we got it. A whorehouse. We declined. We will go back, though, to photograph that neighborhood.


  1. Naked ash-covered guy? I said last week in ethic class that McCarthy's The Road isn't about a future cataclysm. Didn't know how right I was.

    It would be great to hear a little sample of drum practice.

    Speaking of Lincoln Memorial, I've got an interview today with Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals author, Abe Lincoln historian). Next task: what to ask her?

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