TRYST WITH FLUTE

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First!.”


Today’s prompt: Tell us about your first day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.


I joined carnatic flute classes last summer to keep me engaged during the vacation. This was the first time i took classes to learn a musical instrument. Why carnatic flute? I had learnt carnatic vocals for a few years and discontinued because of school and lack of practise. I thought i would have a better hold at it (since i knew the basics).

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On my first day i was asked not to bring anything. Along with me there was another student who had learnt hisdustani flute and wanted to try his hands on carnatic flute. So we were handed out flutes of different scales and shown a demo on postioning of flute and blowing technique. We were asked to practise in a different room while the teacher delt with other students. Mr.X (the student along wuth me, i do not remember his name) caught up easily as there isnt much difference between hisdustani flute and carnatic flute when it comes to beginning lessons. After a few minutes i was left catching my breath. I never realised plating flute would be so tiering! i was so tired that i had mentally decided to forgo these classes and try something else.

Mr.X sensed my inability and tried helping me by first showering some words of encouragement and then giving out detailed procedure on channelizing the blow of air into a single point, with uniform pressure. Thanks to him the flute gave out faint sounds to my strained attempts. After a while we had a casual chat. He mentioned that hisdustani flute has only six holes while carnatic flute has eight. He was a working IT professional. When i told him i am an engineering student, he gave an shocked look masked by a faint smile. He explained his reaction by saying he thought of me as a school kid and not a student pursuing a bachelors degree. People usually say that i look younger than my age. When people pass such comments i really don’t know if i should take that as a compliment.

More time was spent infront of our teacher just blowing the flute. Towards the end he laid out the basic notes in melakarta raga, showed us the different fingerings and asked us to practise. I returned home completely exhausted and devoid of energy. Till then i thought it just requires practise to learn an intstrument, that day i realised it also requires a lot of stamina and energy.

Mr.X attended just two more classes and never came back. I think he wanted to carry on with hisdustani music and not carnatic music. Hmph, i was the only one student at the beginner level. And that bored me. I didnt have anyone to challenge and compare my progress with. It went on for four months after which i gave it up. Flute is a musical instrument that belongs to a category which when played by a beginner gives out melodies that cannot even remotely be called pleasent. You see the flute for beginners gives put superlatives of unbareble sounds which annoyed my brothers quite often. Though my parents were supportive my brothers often barged into the room asking me to stop the dischage of torturing frequencies of sound. This coupled with lack of interest on my teachers part (he was preparing for an important concert -that is what i was told) led to me giving up the instrument. Every now and then i catch a glimpse of the flute wrapped up in a red vevlet cover in a cupboard.

My tryst with flute lasted only four months. I do not know when it will cross my path again in life. But if that happens again i am willing not to give it up.