Monday, February 13, 2012

A Guru-Shishya interaction

From Annapurna Devi - Lady Shrouded in mystery:
"Pradeep Kumar, a sarod exponent at the Films Division, and a student of Annapooma Devi relates his experience which throws some more light on her eccentric behaviour, if one may call it that. "ln 1974 I started learning the sarod from her. For five years I tutored under her and she became very fond of me. To such an extent that she even started teaching me Ustad Allaudin Khan's style of playing, the Dhrupad Ang. Around '79 my parents fixed my marriage and at a quiet ceremony I was engaged. I did not tell her this and one day suddenly I told her that my marriage had been fixed. She took it very calmly and told me that it was time I took a break and that she did not feel like teaching me! I was aghast! Why, I asked her. ' It was your duty to tell me about your engagement, wasn t it? A guru is not a simple word, it means more than you imagine it does,' she said sternly. I realised it was entirely my fault.

"After this I kept visiting her, pleading with her all the while to take me back but each time she would tell me that she was not in a mood to teach me, 'dil nahi karta hai' (I don't feel like it). >From '79 to '86, seven, yes, seven yes, I kept visiting her from time to time but to no avail. My parents also came to plead with her a couple of times but she wouldn't yield. She never once said she won't teach me, it was always 'I don't feel like.' Then one day, last year, I went to meet her once again and asked her to teach me. She gave me her usual reply. And that was it! I couldn't take it any more and burst out crying. oh, how I wept! I was sitting in the hall and she was in her room. She came out and scolded me, 'kya aurton ki tarah rote ho. Chooriyan pahen lo (why are you weeping like a woman? Go wear bangles). And then she relented 'I never said I'll never teach you, did l? I just kept postponing it. okay get up now. Come tomorrow with some flowers, garlands and a box of sweets we'll begin again. "That's how she is. The way she is with her disciples she will be the same with her son too, if it comes to that. To me she is the ultimate, a maun saadhika (silent saint). But a very hard taskmaster. In all the five years I was with her I learnt only two ragas, Bhairavi and Yaman. Her favourite phrase is: 'you people want everything in a short time.' "
It seems that Namita Devidayal(the author of The Music Room) had an easier time.
P.S. More about Annapurna Devi in Notes from behind a locked door)

1 comment:

sappy said...

Looks like eccentric,ancient Indian sages were always eecentric,for that matter!The shishya's perception of his teacher as a moun saadhika is laudable.And your collection of this piece too,is very praiseworthy.