Just got back from another stint in Calcutta and one thing which I found myself pondering on this time is the concept of pranam in the Indian classical music scene. When in the presence of a senior musician this unspoken rule implies either touching their feet or, if feeling especially keen, doing a fully blown bow to the floor both to show respect and receive blessings. I can’t help but find it amusing when congregating in large groups of musicians to see the students queuing up to touch the feet of the gurus present and I can’t help but feel a little silly joining such queues especially when the guru has been hijacked for such formalities on his/her way somewhere. When the guru is in conversation the student patiently hovers for the opportune moment; when the guru is seated cross legged the student must make do with a knee and a foot perhaps; when the guru is impatient to get somewhere then touching the floor as they pass must make do. And what is the response of the guru; a blessing in the form of a hand on the students head, an acknowledgement by touching their heart or in some rare cases an attempt to stop the student from the act out of humility. Anyway it all makes for good entertainment seeing students eyeing up all the feet they have to touch in the room and then strategically navigating around and pouncing on their targets one by one. Perhaps more perplexing is the degree to which I do or don’t partake in this game of formalities…

 

Anyway here’s me versus a puddle in a Rajasthani village.

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And finally the emperor’s new clothes.

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