I was glued to Namita Devidayal‘s book “The Music Room” (Publisher: Random House India) last Sunday. Though not exactly a biography, the book gives us details about the life of three great singers of the Jaipur Gharana – Alladiya Khan, Kesarbai Kerkar and Dhondutai Kulkarni and about Nandita’s journey into the world of Hindustani Music.
I really loved the way it has been written and structured. Interactions and incidents that happened between the author and her guru would be followed by similar ones that took place in the past between another guru shishya pair in her gharana and thus the entire flow would keep moving back and forth in time, drawing parallels between the lives of musicians representing different generations of the gharana. Many things have been accurately captured, be it for instance the dynamics of the relationship between a guru and his/her shishya or the struggle and pain that is an integral part of the lives of most people who try to take up Indian Classical Music as a full time profession. The book also has some beautiful one liners that have a lot of significance and meaning.
An absorbing book that retained my interest throughout and one that a musician, whatever stage of his/her evolution he/she might be, would be easily able to relate to.