You brighten my day..

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sweet Music to my ears.........

My relationship with my violin began 22 years ago. While in Grade 7, I remember the announcement being made at school during the morning assembly. A violin tutor would be coming to school, interested students could join. That evening I told mommy that I wanted to learn to play the violin. There was one problem though. I was already learning the guitar, why violin?? Mommy then tells me I have to continue with the guitar classes. I still do not know why I wanted to leave the guitar. By the next day I was pleading with mommy dearest to fill the form and sign. Taking her time to think, she finally gave her approval. I was on my way to becoming a violinist.

                    Time now to meet my master. His name was Oliver Salisbury Neethi. Quite a quaint name. We called him Neethi Sir. The first time I saw him, I was taken aback. Here was quite an old man, wearing clean and well ironed trousers and shirt, both pure white. Quite soft spoken, he looked not to be stern. With six of us in a batch, our classes began full swing.

I slowly began to realise Neethi Sir was not what I envisioned to be. While he and his violin made sweet music together, he expected us, his pupils to to do the same. Slouching, slanting fingers, improper position of the bow was never tolerated. It was all about the posture and right method of holding the instrument. A piece of music would be played and replayed until we got it right. The moment he would be standing next to me during our lessons, playing vigourously, was a sign that I was playing off-key. If rectification was not done, it would tick him off immediately. Practise, Practise was his mantra, but I was too lazy. Many a reminder did he give me, I would practise a bit, to please him.

           Slowly, I was introduced to Mr Lobo's choir, orchestras, made a lot of friends(who I still remember), all playing some instrument or the other. I always looked forward to the Choir practises, which meant hard work and lots and lots of practise. The unison of voices and instruments together, for hymns like Hallelujah always gave me the goose bumps. Weddings, Christmas, Easter, Annual days, Orchestras, name it...we all got together and made sweet music.  Alas, our classes had to come to an abrupt end with the sudden demise of our beloved Sir. The choirs continued, but it never felt the same without him.

Post marriage, my violin took a back seat. The kids came along, responsibility grew, the violin was forgotten, lying inside my cupboard, nestled in its case. Vinay would ask me to play for him, but I always hesitated, saying I never played alone, always in a crowd. For 10 long years, my violin and I made no music.

           Having come to Germany, the land of great composers, where classical music is a legacy, my hunt for a tutor began. Having found one, Mr John Walkoviak( an American, who also is quite old and reminds me of Neethi Sir), I began my classes again. Mr John, asks me to play for him. I am nervous and ask him to play along with me. No, he replies. He chooses the simplest scale for me and with a beating heart, I begin. He is surprised with the movement of the bow and says "Gut"(Good). I remember Neethi Sir for all the times he held my hand and made me play in the right position. Another scale I am made to play, and now he says" You must have had an excellent teacher". I now see Neethi Sir smiling from above and pleased. His next question takes me by surprise "Would you be interested in joining an ensemble??". An ensemble is an orchestra. Old memories come rushing back, with a smile on my lips, I say "Yes, Mr John, I would love to". My violin and I would love to make sweet music again!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Nice May..even I remember Neethi master although I never took classes from him..never knew his full name though :) well written & I hope you are able to 'scale' greater heights with your violin again! Goodluck!

  2. Gee!! Thanks Shireen!! I am no longer the lazy student. Will practise hard and make him proud!!!

  3. wow that's so awesome! Bon Chance!

  4. Hey May ..thats a grt start after such a long break....must have felt good....i remember neeti sir as well ..always well dressed and soft spoken ...immaculate ....i knw You ,Veena shetty and Donna ..who were the other 3 students...
    anyway way to go may ..good luck

  5. Thanks Sheryl & Aparna. The other 3 students were Archana J. Rao, Sonia Sequeira and Nishal Pais.

  6. Beautiful blog, May! I see you are bitten by the blogging bug. 3 cheers!

  7. Can I get your autograph plz? before u get too famous with your orchestra? ;)


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