Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Book tag: Page 123

I've been tagged by Surya, and the rules are:

Get the book closest to you. Open the book to page 123.Count to line five. Write the next three lines. Tag five people and acknowledge the person who tagged you.

I have done a similar tag before, but here it is anyway:

She was hanging her clothes dry on a nylon rope strung across the length of her flat. I had flown in from New York a day earlier, and was meeting her after a gap of almost two years.

Wow, taken completely out of context, this stuff sounds corny! It's from Namita Devidayal's The Music Room ["This is the story of three great musicians. Two became India's most legendary singers. One remained unknown"]. And it's not from page 123 which is empty, but from the next text-ful page, 125.

I haven't read the book yet, but I know Guru has some great things to say about it.

Here's the author intro:

Namita Devidayal was born in 1968. She graduated from Princeton University and is a journalist with The Times of India. She lives in Mumbai.

And here's the book's blurb:

When Namita is ten, her mother takes her to Kennedy Bridge, a seamy neighbourhood in Mumbai, home to hookers and dance girls. Ther in a cramped one room flat lives Dhonduttai with her bedridden mother and their widowed landlady.

Little does Namita know that despite her squalid surroundings, Dhonduttai has inherited riches of a different sort. For she is the only remaining student of the finest singers of the Jaipur Gharana: of the legendary Alladiya Khan and of the great songbird, Kesarbhai Kerkar. Dhonduttai is the keeper of all the gharana's secrets and of their rarest and most unusual compositions. And yet for all her devotion to music, and a lifetime of training with the best teachers, she herself never achieved fame.

Namita begins to learn singing from Dhonduttai, at first reluctantly and then, as the years pass, with growing passion. Dhonduttai sees in her a second Kesar, but does Namita have the dedication to give herself up completely to the discipline like her teacher? Or will there always be too many late nights and cigarettes?

The Music Room is the story of Namita and her teacher, of the charismatic Alladiya Khan who was unable to pass all of his knowledge to his sons, and of the foul mouthed, capricious and bewitching Kesarbhai. At its heart is Dhonduttai, a character half tragic, half victorious: shy, diffident yet full of single-minded determination. Beautifully written, full of anecdotes, gossip and legend, The Music Room is a stunning book.

And no, I'm not tagging anyone. I know I'm violating one of the rules, but the tag stops here ...


  1. Anonymous said...

    Nice pick as usual.