Friday, January 01, 2010

Guru-ji's house

My primary tabla temple in India is the home of my guru-ji Late Pt Ashutosh Bhattacharya, on Ahilyabai Ghat near the centre of Varanasi. I've been having lessons there since 1994, and before that the room has been host to a multitude of shining lights of Indian Classical Music including Ravi Shankar, Nikhil Banerjee and Kanthe Maharaj. I've spent so many hours there, having lessons and listening to Guru-ji's stories. This year I found myself in the position of teacher as my Brisbane student Rob came along, and Jay Bhattacharya (son of my first teacher Debu) was there to learn tabla for the first time too. I never would have predicted that when I turned up on Guru-ji's doorstep, a wild-eyed 22 year old in India for the first time 15 years ago. On weekends Guru-ji's youngest son Dr Debabrata Bhattacharya is available and he has been showing me some very high energy laggis, certainly something previously lacking in my armoury.

Guru-ji's house is the yellow one in the middle.

My lessons with Rob and Jay - thanks to Shawn Mativetsky for the photo

Guru-ji's son, Dr Debabrata Bhattacharya (aka Bappa-da) gives tabla lessons there every weekend, and on occasion (as here) my guru-bhai Manishankar also swings by to play some tabla together. Also pictured here, Bappa-da's student Kanchan, my student Rob and our tabla maker Anwar.

"Tabla is very big subject!"

Students of Pt Sharda Sahai, Shawn Mativetsky (Canada) and Anjan Saha (UK) also dropped by for a visit one day.

You can read Shawn's blog about his visit to Guru-ji's house in his blog post Benares Chronicles, Part 2.

Shawn admiring the view from Guru-ji's roof

Rob and Shen on Guru-ji's roof

The view from Guru-ji's roof

Some of the ladies of the house

Class of Dec 2009: Jay Bhattacharya, Rob Wallis, Dr Debabrata Bhattacharya, Shen Flindell

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