Saturday, January 23, 2010


Control. It is a the essential to success it seems. In any field or path, control is needed to achieve great heights. Discipline in one's actions, control over one's body and mind.

Our monkey mind jumps from here and there, the struggle is to bring it in our control, not be controlled by it. In dance, a good dancer distinguishes herself from the mediocre by having control over her body. Each movement, each limb follows her command. In tabla, I have the cursed blessing of speed. It doesn't take long for me to play something fast, but to play with precision requires control and even that speed should be of my doing not its own (think of the fast skater in Mighty Ducks). Its common to hear in the beginner class, "My finger (or arm) does that on its own," to which the response is always, "It's it your finger, control it."

One big struggle is for that control. The mind and body to work on your command.
Our mind revolts. Of course it does, it wants no master. Providing excuses and excuses, reasons for our defeat. But to gain that control means to first understand the monkeyiness of the body and mind. To recognize, its innate desire to move according to its own will not yours. With focus and determination, constant perseverance, its about making it your own, for one moment, then two, then three and five.

With that control, comes freedom. To execute one's vision and creativity to the fullest. The ability to move and play as one desires. Coupled with understanding, creativity finds its outlet, unhindered and expansive.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Glimpse into Tabla Class

Many have wondered what tabla "class" is like for me and how Guruji teachs. Well, here is a little video that gives you a glimpse into a teaching session. I'm lucky because I get to sit in on these sessions a lot and as you'll see they are a lot of fun to be apart. Guruji is teaching some gurubhais different compositions from two gharanas that he has been formally trained in, namely Ajrada and Delhi. For those new to tabla, you'll hear the language of tabla (the fact that each stroke has its own name, along with its grammar, etc).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Aal Izz Well

I saw 3 Idiots last week, basically after the entire town had already seen it. I was further motivated to write a post I’ve been thinking of writing for a long time that touches upon stuff in 3 Idiots. I generally don’t write about movies or books, but came to feel that the movie deserves a post of its own and the other post I’ll get around to.

After a serious drought of commercially successful Bollywood movies, 2009 really ended with a bang with Paa and 3 Idiots. All around whether it be in class or via facebook friends from around the world, everyone was talking about 3 Idiots. Even though, I don’t watch many Indians movies, even fewer in theatres (though movie watching and eating out are the top two recreational activities in Ahmedabad), I was determined to see this one in a theatre.

First I must acknowledge the awesome theatre. I saw it in the club class of Wide Angle, where they have fully reclining leather chairs. Very comfortable and if its a boring movie, you could easily sleep.

BUT 3 Idiots is not a movie to sleep through. Some said it was another Lago Raho Munnabhai, but I beg to differ. Yes it has its comedy, but not to the extent of Lago Raho. The second half of 3 Idiots actually has much less comedy than the first half and tear-jerking scenes (yes I am one of those people that cries in movies…)

I love the “message” of the movie. I am really glad to see a mainstream movie really talking about following one’s passion and not doing getavruti (acting like a donkey – aka doing whatever the mass does). I sincerely hope that Indian parents especially take this message to heart and are more open to allowing their children to do what they want, not what the parents think they should do. The film of course hit home with me as I’ve had to personally face the music about doing something very different, but that and more in another post.

Aamir Khan really has done it again. His films offer great variety and he is really doing a great job in creating entertaining and educational movies. Commercial Bollywood films can be a phenomenal outreach medium as they reach thousands around the world and he is using it as a social education tool.

Besides the film itself, you have to also give him kudos for the very unique marketing techniques used to promote the film. But the butt chairs in theatres, morning shows with free breakfast, “Where is Aamir Khan” game across India – he put fun into film promotion. The 3 Idiots quiz (CIT) on the Idiots Academy website reminded me of Brain Teasers I used to do as a kid. Want to see if you think outside the box? take the quiz =)

If you haven’t seen it, go see it.

If you need a push to go follow your dreams, go see it.

If you need help convincing your parents to support you as you follow your dreams, go see it with them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weeklong Indian Music Workshop in India!

Its a common thing to hear that people are interested in Indian music, want to understand it a but better, but don’t have the time to dedicate themselves to a full study of it. Here’s a great program for those interested in learning about Indian music. If you are already practice Indian music, its a way to deepen your understanding, learn from Guruji (Pandit Divyang Vakil), work with the world fusion group Taan and Rushi and jam with musicians from around the world for a week!
Intrigued by Indian Music?
Want to learn how use Indian rhythm and melodies?
Explore the vast world of Indian music in India
Rhythm Riders invites you to
1 Week Indian Music Workshop in India
Aug 1 – 9, 2010 in Mount Abu, Rajasthan
*Experience India through its music amidst nature
*Explore Indian music, from its classical and folk to its contemporary forms
*Nightly jam sessions and concerts
*Learn to adapt Indian Music to your own music and instrument
*Special workshops on Indian percussion
*Special lectures with Tabla Guru Pandit Divyang Vakil
Final Concert Performance with World Fusion Group Taan
Open to musicians from around the world
instrumentalists and vocalists of all music genres welcome
Fees cover teaching, accomodations, local transportation, food and events.
**Airfare not included**
Register by April 30th, 2010.
Contact Rhythm Riders at
or call (201) 467 4431
For information on Rhythm Riders, visit