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The Forging Ear

Pushkar: A Visit from the god Saraswati

INDIA | Tuesday, 29 August 2006 | Views [2558] | Comments [4]

We are still alive but have been completely consumed with music the past week--nothing new for Brandon, but for me it's like a strange new drug and the Indian scale (sa re ga ma pa dha ni sa...) is the only language my brain understands these days. We have 2 hours of lessons every morning from 9:00, take a break for lunch, then go back to practice for another 2 hours in the afternoon. Our teacher is a tabla-bellied, curly-haried 26 year old man named Birju who says that "without music man is no better than a buffalo." He's an eccentric fellow whose passion is contagious. His specialties are tabla and singing--a perfect match for us. Needless to say,our schedule has left us hardly any time to explore the town. We're now a part of 2 Indian families. After our day at Birju's, we come home to the "Milkman Guesthouse" and Durga (the daughter) teaches us how to cook Indian dishes. The dog Raj now lets us scratch his head without growling at us. We have also won over Birju's 3 year daughter who is tentative to commit what with all of the foreigners coming and going. It pays to stay in one place for a while.

Pushkar is a holy town (not even eggs are served in the restaurant), a maze of snaking alleys clogged with snoozing cows and raucaus children demanding pens and buscuits. The main market street is a circus of shops selling silk saris and Indo-western threads, mirror work pillow cases and gaudy stickers of Hindu gods. At night the temples blare holy music from loudspeakers and we've resorted to wearing earplugs. The Ganesh festival was a couple of days ago and all the little boys on our street were excited to show us their henna-dyed hands and khol-lined eyes. (Usually it's only the women who have this done--but that particular day men have it done as well.) We have been invited by Gita (our Indian mother) to go with her to the temple that sits on top of a nearby mountain in a few days. It is a special pilgrimage (everyone here seems to be on some pilgrimage or other) and it will be interesting to go with someone who can explain everything to us. We'll see if we can wake up at 5am...

Back to the harmonium!


Tags: Culture



Hello Brandon and Naomi,

What a marvelous trip you've been having!
Thanks again for everything at Bilinga in Tokyo.
Leo is growing up fast and improving his English.
Take care,

Jim Mulcahy

  Jim Mulcahy Sep 4, 2006 1:11 PM


Music, singing, beautiful children, a cooking "mother" and holy pilgrimages: life in your little corner of India sounds lovely. Goodluck, Sweethearts, on the rest of your trip.

  Mom H. Sep 4, 2006 4:17 PM


I have been shown the error of my ways re: buffalo:


  James17930 Sep 6, 2006 3:31 AM


After the honor on my land Sri lanka Secondly My honors goes to big brother India. Main thing they are against killing innocent animals, second is the culture and rising on their own feet, third its where buddha born, and next is Classical music they have.

Every Raga has a soul, and every musical note is.. the sound of god!
The meaning of Indian classical music is...

THE FREEDOM ! within, Discipline.

Dilantha Perera.

  Dilantha Perera Dec 27, 2007 8:48 PM

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