How to learn a musical instrument…

Learning instrumental music in India is an accident. Either you have to be born in a musical family or have a natural liking for instruments, which combined with a stubborn nature translates into a wish to learn the instrument. Next you place the proposal before the jury, i.e, your family, which, in most cases, would unanimously convict you of conspiring to waste their hard earned money and your precious time. Occasionally a righteous jury member thinks you might be of use to society by learning instrumental music. You need to convince him that others in the family also need to understand the lofty ideals behind your love for instrumental music.

Next comes the cost involved in learning. Having spent their fortune on you, the jury first asks you to learn without a teacher. You are shocked at the prospect of an instrument being ill-handled by you. All the toys you’ve handled are testimony to this fact. Having explained the grave consequences of leaving you alone with the instrument, you make a remarkable presentation to convince your family that spending money on the teacher is like a security guard for an ATM. Finding a good trainer is directly proportional to the size of your instrument.

Somehow a teacher is found. He is happy to find you have the same energy level as he does. The restlessness and the hands that break things are a sure indicator of the musical genius lying dormant deep inside you. He is a genius enough to identify that.

Thus begins a journey of joint learning and joint breaking. To ensure that you learn well — or more truly in order that you two don’t communicate with the world outside — your family bolts you up in the penthouse and installs a couple of men outside to protect the house when the musical frenzy reaches the zenith. Thus learning an instrument requires the co-operation of the whole family.