Author Archives: Shambhavi Das

Enjoy Musical Journey During Cold & Cough

Music Heals!

Recently, like three days back, I suffered with severe cold, thankfully not cough. Precisely, it was not an English ‘suffer’, but certainly it was aHindi wala safar i.e., journey, in fact an intense musical journey. I explored how it become musical pleasure for you. You must be wondering how can illness serious cold or nasal infection becomes pleasure? Imagine the headaches, blocked nose, sleepless nights, lil feverish… Hell? Well! Wasn’t this time.

I feel catching cough is a real hell but not cold and there are a few ways when you can avoid suffering with cold or enjoy cold-stacked singing instead. As long as the throat-cough is not interrupting and only nose issue is there, you should not suffer.

During severe cold, my voice actually reached the deeper root notes. Real Bass voice was reverberating throughout the body this feeling give me a push to practice more daily and make the voice go deeper and deeper. I practiced Raga Bhairava notes in the Mandra (Lowest) C chord.There was an ambrosial touch in my voice. I simply loved my voice and wanted to sing more. My classical tessitura (comfortable range) is normally G#, but I practiced in G during cold: a half way down. And I could go to the Mandra Sa i.e., an octave lower. I was fascinated by the lower notes and I all the more played around only from the lower to the Unison because my throat was allowing me that much only; that was perfectly fine. It was bliss! I could feel the centre of the body reverberating; a kind of resonance, conformity, tranquility was penetrating through the body. I could feel the healing within.

In addition, this was an appropriate voice texture for the Ghazal genre. The practice of the base-driven Ghazals like Koi Ye Kaise Bataaye by Jagjit Singhwas scintillating to vocalise in this condition. Now the voice took a little shape, got heated after Mandra Riyaz and this Ghazal so tried the Begum Akhtar types: Door Hai Manzil Raahein Mushkil, Aalam Hai Tanhaai Ka…. wow! I can dive deep in this Ghazal anytime. Another my favourite one and I think everyone’s favourite by Farida Khanum:

Mere humnafas mere Humnawaa mujhe Dost Ban ke Dagaa na de.

Also tried these in Baritone voice-G scale- and extreme nasal infection rushing to the sink to blow in between… much much fun!

Phir le Aaya dil …. Awaargi…. Chhupa lo yun dil me pyar mera so on….

I found myself transcending in immense ecstasy I realised that I could emote these Ghazal with the way they may be perceived as if all these ghazals are traversing from the mooladhara to sahasraar subtly, effortlessly, superfluous. I genuinely like the voice quality which has little base like Farida Khanum begum Akhtar so maybe it was all the more scintillating for me.

Not only this, I explored some science behind achieving this joy in cold, of course without acquiring cough.

Anyways, one should suffer one of these more often so that the toxins and dirt in our body is removed in the form of phlegm or cough. Often we catch cold in the change of weather or exposure in extreme low temperatures, when body produces heat to fight the winters. Artefacts of that heat is mucus from congestion which gets accumulated and the body wants to trash it in the form of cold and cough for that matter loose stools or motion. Therefore, catching cold or congestion in the chest is the process of cleansing which is essential.

There are few points by which we can heal ourselves and we can enjoy this process of toxins removal through music without much suffering.

  • Never take medicine: Medicines often compresses the cough down and results in the temporary healing. it’s like you sweep the floor and collect the garbage in the corner of your room, you have cleaned the room but the trash still exist. So you might wanna trash it permanently in which medicines fail.
  • Stay Hydrated: Keep sipping warm or hot water. As I stated earlier, throat infection and chest congestion makes life hell unlike nasal infection. We can prevent the throat-cough by staying hydrated. Water keeps the phlegm thin and watery and keeps your nose blowing and fluent constantly, through which it is not assimilated in the throat in the form of congestion or throat infection. When you drink water you have a naturally flowing nose or throat which might be irritating at times but actually it helps trashing or removing all your cough.
  • Never Inhale the Phlegm in, Always throw it: I know it embarrassing and agitating as well but you may keep a towel or a handkerchief for constantly blowing and flowing. It really works and heels within in 3 days. Logic behind this is in three-four days all your junk is out of the body. All you are left with is heavy, bass, nasal voice and a towel.
  • Sit with your eyes closed, relax: We normally suffer a lot of headaches during the nasal or throat infection. most of the headaches are towards the forehead, over the brow area which is our prefrontal cortex. we also experience the watery Eyes. Watering of the eyes during flu indicates lack of relaxation or sleep of our body. We have not blinked the eyes for longer period. We should sit with our closed eyes more often to relax which helps in curing headaches. For that matter, we should get more sleep to heal ourselves these are some of the steps with which we can avoid the sleepless nights.

In terms of enjoying musical session with the nasal infection applying these tricks we can refrain from any bigger congestion problem and explore the nasal bass, baritone voices in ourselves.

Believe me! The nasal voices do have certain feel and emotions like the voices of Udit Narayan or that of Mukesh Kumar. Similarly do not get agitated with the cold instead find pleasure in thinking that you are a ghazal Maestro. More importantly, as a musician do not miss the opportunity to vocalise the root chords as they will help you in prolonged and enhanced singing when you recover.

Hope this articles helps. Stay musical!

Our Recent Performances in Apollo Foundation

Breezy Sunday evening it was, when we reached a pleasant, cute little area amphitheatre in Apollo Hospital. Cute because it was a compact one having the occupancy (stairs) of may be just 100 people. The venue did not disturb any other architectural aroma of the well-built hospital. I reached to see my students already seated grabbing the staircases. It was highly embarressing. Anyways, I greeted, wished everyone: met and encouraged my students and of course praised them as they all were in Sarees (girls) and Kurta-pajama (Males); wished Vani ji-the main person behind all this (Founder of Bharatiya kala Samskruti) Met and selfied with Snehal Ji my co-performer. The tabla person, Shobha Ji-another volunteer of BKS and my friend, I met Vinaya Mam whom I invited for lighting lamp. I think thats when the program started by we (Dignitaries, me and Snehal) on stage, presenting and receiving fruits and lighting lamp.

Program started with a beautiful Saraswati Vandana by  two talented girls -Srijitha, and Srijanya, followed by an interesting Sanskrit play by the kids of BKS which had a great significance. I loved the interest and accuracy of pronunciation with which the students were performing. After Vande Mataram by everyone, Snehal and I started the Jugalbandi recital by Raga Multani followed by raga Maru Bihag.

Raga Multani

Raga Maru Bihag

I am highly overwhelmed to perform not only because I thought sane very well but more because I was enjoying while singing without even a speck of thoughts shifts on audience, lights, incorrect stuffs by me etc. however, the tabla pitch did not seem matching but I continued as it was of no use. Table person thought he is CORRECT 🙁   Anyways, the point is I had a great time overall and in addition, I got a lot of applauses later which is temporary I know (So that’s not an elating factor).

Segment-2 was the students or group performances by our students. After Snehal’s students performed, my females students group started off with raga Bihag which went absolutely superb and beyond my expectation. It was again an ecstatic moment for me because the students are not at all the kids who are good at grasp or who are always in touch with their practices or controlled by parents. They are the IT-professional who spent most of the time, even late nights, in their offices. The only aspect which got them their was their immense interest and guts to learn music after prolonged hectic schedules. Moreover, they are adults of course, so its anyways harder to grasp the classical music stuffs. STILL THEY REALLY WORKED HARD AND PERFORMED….SO HUGE ROUND OF APPLAUSE TO THE GIRLS!!!! BTW, it was their first time on stage!!

Raga Bihag

 

Another recital was by the boys, who presented raga Bhimpalasi. It went very well but lacked in practice. Shubhrajyoti, (the black kurta) performed really great and I was overjoyed by the fact that he will really flourish in music.

Raga Bhimpalasi

Last but not the least was the performance of my two favourite tiny lil students, combination of utter mischief, intelligence, innocence, cuteness, musical-ness, GEETHA & ARJUN. I do have many kids-students but not so serious and dedicated like them. I liked the way they  first introduced what they had to sing and started off. There was not even a pinch of nervousness on their faces. They recited Raga Bhupali and raga Yaman. GOD BLESS 🙂 Here is the performance:

Raga Bhupali and Yaman by Kids:

 

Great Performances!!!! KUDOS!! HATS OFF!! APPLAUSE!!  CLAPS!! TO ME 😉

Therapeutic Effects of Indian Music in Acquired Brain Injuries

Music Therapy is the prescribed use of music and music related techniques to assist and motivate a person towards specific, nonmusical goals. Music therapists use their training to effect changes in the cognitive, physical, communication, social, and emotional skills”. Music Therapy is basically sound energy therapy.

NMT or neurological music therapy is defined as “the therapeutic application of music to cognitive, sensory, and motor dysfunctions due to neurologic disease of the human nervous system.” In the field of neuroscience today, music is considered as a powerful tool to understand brain functions and music–brain–behaviour interactions. Findings from the field of neuroscience have provided an edifice leading to the development of a science-based approach to music therapy practice and research.

Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS)- Music therapists use techniques that stimulate brain functions – a common one being rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS). This relies on the connections between rhythm and movement, wherein, the patient is stimulated to relax or move through the use of music of a particular rhythm.

 

 

Why Raga Music is more Therapeutic than other Music-Cultures?

raga impact on brain

raga impact on brain

Music in India has great potential in this study because Indian music is melodic and has somewhat different pitch perception mechanisms. Western classical music which is based on harmonic relation between notes versus the melodic mode (raaga) structures in the Indian Classical Music System (ICM) within the rhythmic cycle music may demand qualitatively different cognitive engagement. The analysis of EEG data to determine the relation between the brain state condition in the presence of ICM and its absence would therefore be an interesting study. How rhythm, pitch, loudness etc. interrelate to influence our appreciation of the emotional content of music might be another important area of study. This might decipher a technique to monitor the course of activation in the time domain in a three-dimensional state space, revealing patterns of global dynamical states of the brain. It might also be interesting to see whether the arousal activities remain after removal of music stimuli.

There are a few unique aspects of raga music which may be considered more therapeutic and recommended for healing. However, there is a scarcity of rational researches in the field, whereas, west music has been researched and has gained pretty much authenticity. But there are various unique elements in raga music or Indian music which can be considered as the medium of more explorations and analysis and further for healing.

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Folk Music: Concept and Connection

Folk Music:  Man has gazed with awe and wonder at sea, earth, thunder, cloud, and rain. Standing before the endless ocean he has felt small; he has bowed. He could not embrace the clouds but has sung malhar. He could not climb vast mountains, but has played their haunts- Pahari dhun has echoed the mountain’s call.

“Folk music is an important and integral medium of culture, being a genuine document of rustic ways of life. It is a spontaneous depiction of the local culture and is a living art. It is true that folk music is non-academic and less disciplined in forms but then its perpetual expressions of joy, sorrow, traditions and beliefs, without losing its continuity, is a very edifying experience.”[i]

Folklore was the casual or light songs created by the common people to perform normal household and day-to-day tradition. Folk songs and dances, as the name ‘folk’ (masses) denotes, are the origin of music because it was created and sung whole heartedly by common men. Every culture, region, and country have their own folk music in their own comfortable language, accent, dialect, rhythm, meter, and pitch. Folk music, since created by the people, for the people, portrays the lifestyle, thought-processes, temperaments, rituals, caste creed, and even dress-code of that region. It does not have any rules-regulations of music, therefore, it’s extremely intimate, fluent, casual for the general masses. There are folk songs for all occasions or without any occasion, such as wedding, rituals, child-birth, baby-shower, agriculture-folks, festival-driven, seasonal-folk, folklore for celebrating youth or adolescence, and so on. In fact, classical music was created after folk music to standardise and organise the contents in the same.

Folk is the condition of music untouched by the grammar, untouched by musical sciences; it is a music which burst out of a people. The bursting out is an act of its own- out of the unknown haunts of emotions conditioned by samskaras. Where these find their origins and where they flow is equally known. What is known, however, is that wherever and whenever hearts beat, there is music.

Folk is the very air in which man breathes, with soul drenches in music as the pure sounds flow. The rawness with which it bursts out is its beauty and the freedom with which it does so, an essential element of the expression itself.

Reference: [i] Raj Kumar, “Essays on Indian Music”: Lesson-14, Pg.: 138

When Death is Ahead- Kishori ji’s Last Performance

Recently I met my Ma’am (Guru ma Dr. Soma Singh) in Delhi, and we both enveloped ourselves in the huge, never-ending musical discussion. She is the ocean of musical knowledge and incidences. And her way of expressing how to practice or what to exactly listen to while listening classical is too sovereign and pure. There is no foreignness in her attitude while giving things.

A very unusual incidence about Kishori ji Ma’am shared with me which I really want to cherish in my blogs.

Kishori ji’s last concert was in Delhi at Kamani auditorium, for which Ma’am was asked to attend by her Guru Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar.

“Guruji especially called us to inform about the concert and insist me to attend. He said you should go and take your kids too as this music, this personality, her Gayaki won’t be re-arriving in this new era. one should value that.” she explained her Guru’s words. Thus, there wasn’t any question of not attending as Guru’s command was more than anything else.

The other day she attended the concert and was left speechless.

Normally, Kishori’s Gayaki was a pure Kishori-Gayaki and not any typical Jaipur-Atrauli exponent-type (the school which she belonged to). Her Gayaki was a congenial combination of three things: aesthetics, pathos and malleableness. She did not really cared about the proper grammar and chalan of a raga. On account of emotions in fact deep emotions, she would take all kind of liberties in a raga even when the raga doesn’t allow. But she was never questioned because she was always popular for making the audience traverse on the other level of the world. Audience are said to exit the hall with high altitude of undeniable melancholy and sometimes ecstasies.

This time KishoriJi rendered Kausi-Kanhara for two hours and it was certainly not the usual one. She cared about the grammar of the raga yet with gregarious empathy towards the raga. The balance she exhibited between kauns-ang and Kanhara-ang moved even the music-knowledgeable audience. People were dumbstruck by her 2/3 minutes long, decorative, endless taanas at one go. There was no limits of her dumsaaz (breath-control). All in all, she went into her causal world of transcendence accompanying everybody else.

At the end of the concert, Sir (Mam’s husband) went to have a praising word with KishoriJi in green room, where he found the tabla guy (percussion accompanist in the concert) was standing on the door, extremely red, gasping immensely. Sir could make out the reason of his exhaustion with which he remarked with that gasped tone, “Never have heard this before….a normal person cannot bear such emotions and flawlessness.”

The audience out there witnessed the real and distinct world of classical music through her extremely poignant Gayaki with utter spontaneity. It was so that it wasn’t handled by the listeners because you need to be resilient, and mentally equipped to bear such extreme upliftment state of being. Thus, goosebumps are one thing, people were truly on the verge of blissed state but their body could not digest that elevated level of the Gayaki so their faces were in deep redness.

Ma’am said, “That concert is not the normal one. It reverberated from within for another 3/4 weeks and makes you feel the atma-parmatma Milan.”

The next day, Kishori Ji called up Guruji (as Ulhas Ji told my Guru) and accepted, “Ulhasji, I am really feeling so good after the Delhi concert. For the first time, I thought I rendered everything very nice. There was no errors and found that now I am complete.”

I was simply blown away to hear the tale.

My Ma’am was glued up pondering into one aspect which she shared and it was truly a great lesson to learn. She said, “Look Shambhavi, these people are highly intellectuals. She had been knowing throughout her musical journey that she is NOT following the proper grammar of ragas. These stalwarts are fully alive of what they are doing. We, as a listener, are mistaken thinking that they are going in their flow, thus, going beyond the circumference of a raga is a natural process. We confuse with their subtle vocalism. But actually they don’t cross lines unknowingly…they are on their heights of attentiveness. That’s why when she sang Kaunsi-Kanhara within the raga structure, she knew that fully thus felt good. This, you know, is a real mindfulness which the spiritual Gurus talk about.”

Very true indeed she said. I was also perceiving her sentences from the depth. Apart with that, I was also wandering why that happened only when she happened to be gone after four five days.

What a treasure-some, divine moments she provided the world before departing. This is one story. I have heard a few more when the Gunijans give the highest treasures and pleasures, some with conduct, some with petty experienced incidences.

Is that some telepathy within the departing soul from someone up there instructing ‘Time to offer divinity’. Or some flash of light from the para-world yields all its infinite energy to the body.

Or something called perfection shows up in a manner of subtle conscious which drives the person to go with the flow.

Or may be the departing soul penetrates all its power and beauty (creativity) for once before leaving the body.

Instincts, impulses, telepathy, premonitions are the terms, which really are so deep and may be beyond any bookish expressions or communication. One can only feel, perceive, realise and treasure the saudade of such gems, their knowledge, their sur, their bhaav, their Gayaki by memoriter.

 

Kishori Tai Amonkar: When the Tunes Reverberates the Soul

“I feel I have just begun. I have not learnt anything because I still don’t have command over the sur . Because sur is air, and I am made of concrete. When the perfect sur comes out of my throat, this body will disappear. I will die instantly. I pray to God that I die that way. There is nothing else to see except the beauty of nature, the eternity of one note.”                                                                                                                                                                                    – Kishori Tai Amonkar

Kishori Amonkar

Kishori Amonkar

And the soul interspersed in the air a day before, but that conviction-driven voice, flowing renditions with utter steadiness, spontaneous modulations followed sudden heavy take-offs towards shadja, elongated and soberly intricately curved note phrases, scintillating syncopation, effortless ups and downs still reverberates in the air.

Indeed, Kishori Amonkar: the name in itself holds an entire paradigm of a musician’s penance, abhyaasa, struggles, hardships, perseverance, and patience (to tolerate low society), and what not. Saraswati selected Kishori Tai to be manifested in the human form. The music of these legendary people is not just a music which we listen and enjoy, nod our heads on the Sam (beat).

These Gayakis are beyond levels. Knowledge and ability to understand the classical music is one thing but to dive into the purity, to meet the solitude through every single note and its treatment, to travel in the causal world, transcend to the raga horizon, one has to be wise and virtuous. A normal music listener perceives renditions, lyrics, modulations, and different elements of classicality but a wise will surely delve deep into her notes and become thoughtless. After arriving from trance, he becomes speechless and tries to reminisce those moments. One has to leave the body consciousness and ego for the time being and unleash himself to fly higher beyond limits. Because these Gayakis definitely have that power to take one in that mode. Kishori Ji’s Gayaki is one of these.

Kishori Tai had a flawless, technically correct voice with which she progressed. Earlier, while listening to her young vocals, the voice was piercing and hypnotic, in fact highly intoxicating, which gradually changed through maturity and thehraav. Her singing was mellifluous and contained a kind of stillness. Her bhajans such as ‘Milta ja Guru Gyani‘ demonstrated the combination of stability, and ‘go with the flow’ demeanour of her Gayaki. There was simplicity, divinity, softness yet power of voice and words as if traversing from the depth of her.

Kishori Ji’s khyal vocalism delineated romanticism because of which she could spread intimacy with the audience. However, she was just herself on the stage, singing with her own melancholy, too engrossed to interact, may be that’s why she was all the more connected and conversing.

One of the most significant features of her musical journey was, she was the entire lady landscape of musical material. Mongubai, being the mother and trained by various stalwarts of almost all the gharanas like Anwar Hussain Khan (Agra), Kesarbai, Anjanibai, Sharatchandra Arolkar etc., she was fulfilled with fastidious collection of the rare ragas and cheezein. She was one of the rare vocalist who sometimes sang Sthayee, antara, sanchari, abhog with utter competence. Her pronunciation of the words expressed nobility and momism. The application of sur indicated her in-depth contemplation on the subject. She performed complex ragas like Basanti-Kedar, Khat, Adana-Kedar, Khem etc. She would inveterate every raga even sampoorna malkauns, from her own spiritual perception and chintan. Not to specify, Bhoop and Hansdhwani raga vocalism is highly associated with the name Kishori-A. Rains in Maharashtra is considered to be welcomed by her recitals of Malhar kinds.

 

Sometimes, It makes me ponder upon how can a singing possess every single asset. Kishori Ji’s vocalism was comprised of a stability, a solitude yet connection , evocative expressions yet cut to cut logic, spirituality yet romanticism, full purity of a raga yet scintillating, in fact some shringarik ragas she sang give the thumri feel. The curiosity made me read about her. I got the crux. Out of a mishap in her 20s, her voice fully disappeared, literally no medicine and therapies worked. Then a saint named, Sardeshmukh Maharaj took the project of popping up her voice. He not only restored the voice but because of his saintly vibration may be, she was blessed with a more mature, tranquillising, and empyrean form of music. Her soul-searching vocals makes one realise that one has to amalgamate wisdom and chastity with his stream to be on earth and in connection with being.

Kishori Amonkar

Kishori Amonkar

Talent is like water which flows and has to flow crossing constant ups and downs. Kishori Ji’s, being exceptionally talented in every aspect, did not stop growing. She found path to lead as one of the leading vocalists however, facing real life hurdles and mishaps.

Yet another deep quote by her: “I am a purist, and will always try to remain one, in the sense that I will remain faithful to the feel of a raga. The generalised rules are of great help to beginners and also for the meticulous performer-musicologists.”

You will be MISSED… Mharo Pranaam

Rahul Ajay, winner of Kids Golf World Championship

When the desires penetrate the line of passion,

When the plethora of hobbies are sidelined by a special one,

When the sentence, “I want….” turns into “I won…”

When emotions of wishes voyages to actualization

Three cheers to Rahul’s triumph and consummation.

Rahul Ajay

Rahul Ajay

Rahul Ajay, winner of Kids Golf World Championship 2016,deserves these words above.  This 16-years old Hyderabadi kid has created in history recently in the mid of December in Malaysia by winning over a Malaysian guy by one stroke. Rahul defeated 50 outstanding international Golfers in three days and made his parents’ overwhelming with pride. Earlier, He had been playing Golf winning numerous prices in Singapore, Thailand etc.. But this was the real victory.

Life is all about mind and mind produce thoughts. When thoughts are directed towards perseverance, endurance, seeking skills, setting goals, then one is not leading a normal, easy life. That abnormality transcends him to the world of achievements; be it inner or society. Really doesn’t matter.

Story Reloaded

RahulajaySince the age of eight, Rahul started his voyage of Golf when his Dad introduced the game. Selecting Golf  In this land, India, where all the other sports other than cricket, are ignored, he not only selected this forte but grabbed a big place. Most importantly, his coach Mr. Indrajit Bhalotia played a vital role in exploring his capabilities and nurturing him accordingly.

Why Golf when asked, “Golf is a gentlemen’s game. You play by yourself unlike other sports which need teams.” says Rahul, who is an amazing example of clarity and self-opinionated mindsets. He is bestowed with all the attributes which is actually needed in a sportsperson.

Tremendous Discipline

IMG_20170114_131604435We simply generalize the ready product by praising the achievers and criticizing the failures. But here comes process of this winner. Vehemence is the only word which comes to my mind when I heard his practice detailing. Rahul had been practicing full day since three months before this tournament. “I wake up at five, jog for 4-5 kms, do yoga, and zen meditation….Come from school at 3:30, go to Golf practices till 6:30, do the evening meditation…” He says. The 11th standard guy is ready to salute all the minute gamut which he seems beneficial in enhancing his stream. Fitness, strength training are some of the important elements in Golf, he believes. Rahul possess a deep crux and mechanics of Golf which makes him perceive his game, “I seem to understand the mechanics and technicality of golf well. This has helped me to gel well with my coaches in the last many years.” He says.

In this delicate age, when the boys want to distract with all ins and outs, Rahul Ajay never watches TV or play video games. “These days I have stopped reading books to focus on my play, but I do read positive books so that I imbibe that.” says Rahul. This is a significant aspect to deliver among the kids and parents today who think distraction is natural.

Rahul still aspire much more as this is just the beginning. To be in the students mode is always good for becoming a successful. Rahul looks forward to improves on the stuffs he thinks he is not up to the mark. He speaks his mind, “As a player, I should be more positive, driven and disciplined.” To enhance his play and for in-depth understanding, Rahul usually follows the game of his favorite Golfers: Tiger Woods and Anirban Lahiri.

2017-01-12-PHOTO-00000100According to the champ, being a Hyderabad dweller is another blessing for a sportsperson in terms of resources, weather, and of course in getting inspired by the great sports personality. “In other cities the Golf membership is expensive except Hyderabad, where my Dad had a membership since long.” shares Rahul.

Attitude Matters

Competitiveness, envy, commitment, are some of the common qualities in any sportsperson but Rahul owns an unusual tranquility and peace in his mind. He is an extremely cool guy outwardly with  a bundle of dreams and ambitions within. He would definitely be the next Mr. Cool Golfer after Dhoni, once he is one of the top Golfers, and the countdown has begun.

To make India a better place for sports, Rahul has strong opinions regarding sports should be supported and sponsored properly in India. “We get less price money comparatively in India…” 

I will conclude my rounds of applause by the kid winner’s quote on success, “Its something really good to reach your aim and the society looks at the topmost in the world. For me, I just started my journey.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re-introducing Dhrupad

Pursuing the music therapy course these days, is making me listening to every music according to that perspective. My mind subtly enters into the questioning zone while listening to any music, whether this piece is healing or not.

The other evening, I was listening to Pt. Uday Bhawalkar’s raga Bhimpalasi Dhrupada piece, and I felt I was captivated physically. While listening to his fast-paced rhythmic, versatile, superfluous, rendition of the Bhimpalasi notes, I was as if witnessing my brain knots unleashing my breath mollifying. I wanted to move from my place, but was totally mindful and entangled. I could feel my hormones and senses getting balanced. I stayed in that state for 20 minutes till when it got over. After which I stared at the things surrounding me; I went to the balcony and greeted all the sounds of nature. I could concentrate in the chirping and tweaking of birds clearly, (what we don’t do usually). I was absolutely in the present. I gazed at the setting sun, produced a thought, ‘Allz well’, and stepped inside. This was the time I was normalized. But I was reminiscing what it was; What was the factor that made me feel good, albeit I am aware of the power of music.

Defining Dhrupad

Dhrupad too is a vocal style like khyala-gayaki, which is also exhibited and unfolded in a particular raga, although in different style, structure and tonality. It is a highly structured, classicalized way of chanting vedic mantra and hymns. Lets first have a quick introduction of Dhrupad.

During vedic period, when there was nothing dhrupad existed in the name of Prabandh. Then even after many modification and bringing down to simplicity, Dhrupad is still journeying today. Dhrupad is an oldest genre of Hindustani classical vocal music, which exists even today. Apart from the Khyala singing which is also called Ragadari sangeet,

Here are some definitions of Dhrupad given by the maestros.

Dhrupad was originally sung in temples and later thrived under the patronage of the Mughal rulers who were acclaimed Dhrupadias. Almost every gharana or the Music tradition, be it gwalior, or Agra, were initially the Dhrupad Gharana and eventually formed the Khyala school of music. Today, a few number of Dhrupad tradition schools are in the trend such as Vishnupur Gharana, Dagarvani, Darbhanga, Betia, Talwandi, etc..

Dhrupad exponents

Since last 10 decades, the synonymous of Dhrupad Gayaki is Dagarwani or the lineage of Dagar Bandhu (brothers). Eminent figures like Nasir Moinuddin, Nasir Aminuddin Dagar, Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar and Ustad Hussain Sayeedudddin Dagar have taken forward on its zenith by their competence and by transferring the pedagogy to the comtempories. All the Dhrupad Singers today like Gundecha brothers, Pt. Ritwik Saniyal, Pt. Uday Bhawalkar are the disciples and torchbearers of Dagar and Dhrupad tradition as well.

Connection with the Cosmos

Considered as the sound of meditation and worship, its mantric recitation comprises of an organised, elaborated and complex grammar and aesthetics. One needs to have a proper pedagogy of voice culture and engineering, as it deals with the cosmic sounds and intonations. Fundamental to Dhrupad singing is the practice of Nāda Yoga, in which, through various yogic practices, the singer develops the inner resonance of the body, and can make the sound resonate and flow freely through the entire region from navel to head. Even the Dhrupad maestros experience very transcending connections through the pedagogy of Dhrupad. 

Dhrupad Gayaki consists of an elaborated, consistence, flawless, rhythmic nom-tom Alap in a raga, followed by a Dhrupad bandish, Layakaris (Bandish rendered with magical rhythm and incredible meter of the same tala and tempo which is going on), Bol baant, Gamak, and finally the fast-paced overly extended, highly skilled nom-tom rhythmic cycles.

How It Heals

Chanting of mantras and hymns, as in Dhrupad, can be thought of as tools that liberate the mind. Mantra is a Sanskrit word which means ‘mental liberation’. It awakens the life forces that exists in the human souls and directs the mind towards the transcended state. Constant listening and rendering of these cosmic sounds delivers the mind from its worldly conditioning and brain limitations.

Aum sound is unnecessarily associated with Hinduism albeit it has been taken up in the Sanskrit shlokas and mantras Hinduism being the oldest culture. But Om is just a sound which exists in the cosmos. Sun makes a sound that never reaches earth. NASA laboratory in space captured sound and recorded. Most astonishing that the sound resembles “Om”. Scientists are still trying to correlate why ancient Hindu mantra and sun’s sound are same. I might not want to enter into this segment as this is another wide area, but Dhrupad incorporates all these cosmic sounds and its oscillations, which gradually enhances the cognition by its ultimate ability of developing mindfulness. In fact, Dhrupad rendition is more systematic and calculative procedure of these mantras intermingled with the Raga aesthetics and classical improvisation.

In the journey of self improvement, wellness, and moving inward, it is good to be in confusion rather than fixing a conclusion, because everything has to be self-realized rather than read or preached. Therefore, in this abstract concepts, let’s try this another experiment of internal healing by listening to the mantras in the form of Dhrupad. May be you are very far from exploring a new ray of bliss and intellect.

How Miraculous Music Affects

 

“Hello Madam, I cannot trace you … Are  you standing near Inorbit Mall ? … Madam please come at the other end … Madam, please stand by the corner of the ……. blah, blah, blah.”

One creepy evening, an Uber driver took around one hour to track me. Consequently, he reacted ferociously due to the time he wasted trying to coordinate with me. I tried to retort in the middle of his barbaric tone but I stopped,  thinking it’s of no use. After he was done with all the frustrated words, he switched on the FM radio. Some typical song turned up, which exhibited some absurd, annoying erotic sounds. He was obviously not listening to it as he was still busy vociferating on someone else on his phone. I could feel the heaviness in my head. I  was almost red-faced after being shouted at by an unknown.

I rudely commanded, “Would be good if you switch this song off.” He agreed.

Few moments later,  I played Raga Jaijaiwanti on the sitar, which I came  across while browsing at the whats app messages/videos. I listened to it with great focus in order to get rid of the hangover gifted by him.  To my astonishment, he started interacting with me starting with, “Very soothing tune, which instrument ?” I was still a bit vexed but I answered disinterest-fully. He continued, “You know madam, my wife sings very well …” and so on.

This unexpected, unpredictable behavior by an uncultured man left me in a huge dilemma about what was his state of mind. The journey was like fifteen minutes long. I normally do not expect even a well-educated, sophisticated person to change back to normal after such brusque attitude just in few minutes.  I was in a reckoning mode  when he confessed, “Excuse me Madam; Sorry, I behaved badly!!”

Music actually plays a vital role in uplifting the mood. Brain waves experience quite significant variations, which makes one switch from a lowly, stressful mood to high and positive vibes. The term ‘resonance’ is an essential element for conceptualizing musical tunes as a mood-changer. Scientifically, as Mr. M. Farouk Radwan explains, ‘resonance’ refers to the increase in amplitude of oscillation of a mechanical system when it gets exposed to a periodic force that had frequency equal to the natural frequency. In other words, resonance is a charismatic shine in a voice or any instrument’s sound, which produces happy hormone called  ‘serotonin’. It reverberates our brain waves, balances our hormones,  thus  mollifies us when we are anxiously driven.

Not only humans but the creatures, objects too can channelize themselves into positivism through music. In the recent researches in China, a therapist was working on water, when he kept two tumblers full of water in the different rooms. He switched on a noisy, hullabaloo sounds in one room and a soothing, pleasant tune in the other. Then he examined the water crystals and proved the authentic power of music. Water in the noisy room had developed haphazard, unorganized crystals, whereas, water listening to the musical tunes had symmetrical and awesomely ornamented crystals.

Now the question is – is it some peculiarly miraculous music? Every tune is musical and is capable of treating our stress quotient. Well, there is a definite time and emotions for every piece. All musical pieces can be innovative for a particular listener, but might not be effective.  Sometimes we enjoy the same piece every time we listen with same overwhelming emotions and bliss. Sometimes, the piece is monotonous or too difficult and might not  mollify our ears quite often.

There are many aspects which can result in categorizing music as ‘miraculous’.

Monotonous pieces: Sometimes we want to listen to your favorite list repeatedly and you enjoy every phrase of it at every moment. But this might be applicable in a normal mood or when we are already relaxed. When we feel low, the same lovable  piece might not even penetrate our minds because of the flowing thoughts. In this case, need of miraculous Indian music like ragas, Om Chant are far more effective to heal us or to subside our negative self-talk.

Excessive emotional content: We tend to listen to the depressing and sentimental songs when we are already exhausted or in a dull mode. In bollywood tracks nowadays, they are perpetually composing the over sensuous or erotic songs which are soothing but drain energy and vitality through their haunting music and lyrics. People, especially males tend to get lost and are able to find path because of the long lived belief that male chauvinism demands seriousness and serenity. Ultimately, that emotional carriage is pushing them towards outer non-acceptance and gossip. Thus, males generally connect sad songs with drinks.

Noisy & Fast track: You may love the fast and noisy pieces like rock, pop, but they are not recommended for the stress treatment. For instance, Jerry gets back home after disheartening words of his boss and is fully drowned into negativity and anxiety.  He turns up  his favorite Britney and all fast noisy stuff on full volume and broods over the same topic. According to the researchers and therapists, that’s also music, but  won’t really help and might push him even deep down the low. It will increase the heart beats, which are already high paced. Super fast drum beats and octopad measures might activate his negative hormone like adrenaline.  On the contrary, the best medicine for low-feeling or depression is inner contemplation, which might be evolved through soothing, peaceful, or slow music. Here comes the need of Indian music  or raga dive and Indian instruments. Violin do help but the heavenly tunes of sitar & sarod massages your brain neurons gently and makes you attain relaxation. Soft and slow rhythms balance the heart beats and cognitive neurons.

There is a lot research on how music works as a medicine but what kind of music works as miracle or instant healer to a disturbed mind, this is essentially an introspective topic.