I am.. Poem about being a tabla player

•September 26, 2009 • 3 Comments

I AM, a hard worker and dedicated tabla player.
I WONDER, what other people think of me.
I HEAR, a fast tabla composition played effortlessly, but also with clarity in each note.
I SEE, an audience watching me in amazement.
I WANT, to beat everyone in my tabla class.
I AM, a hard worker and dedicated tabla player.

I PRETEND, to play tabla by banging my quick fingers on tables when I hear a beat.
I FEEL, that playing tabla is something that gives me pride and confidence.
I TOUCH, these strong and beautiful Indian drums.
I WORRY, that I won’t be able to stay fully dedicated to playing tabla.
I CRY, when I can’t practice.
I AM, a hard worker and dedicated tabla player.

I UNDERSTAND, that I will make mistakes when I play.
I SAY, practice makes perfect.
I DREAM, of being the greatest tabla player in the world.
I TRY, to practice every day.
I HOPE, to inspire other girls to play this special instrument.
I AM, a hard worker and dedicated tabla player.

Deepa Paulus (age 12)
Student at Taalim School of Indian Music – Long Island

Female Tabla Student Deepa Paulus

Female Tabla Student Deepa Paulus


Another Teaching Session to Remember: 10 Variations of Delhi Kayda

•August 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Everytime Guruji teachs, you walk away inspired (and at times overwelmed) at vastness of the world of tabla.  There is so much to learn, so much to enjoy, so much to experience.  When people hear about the amount of compositions Guruji has made (tens of thousands), I have heard the reaction – why do so much composing, when there is so much wonderful material already in existence?  The answer I think is very straightforward.  Music is about innovation and creativity.  Different gharanas would not have come into existence, if someone did not chose to innovate.

Innovation has always been apart of music.  An example of this one teaching session that a few of us were lucky to be apart of.

“You all know the kayda dha te dha ge na dha tirakita dha te dha ge tin na kin na.  Let’s look at variations of this kayda today.”

One of the disciples present smiled.  “Guruji, I was actually just thinking about that composition today and was going to mention it to you.”

This composition is a very famous and beautiful composition of the Delhi gharana.  Even thought it is so great on its own, maestros still innovated and composed variations of this composition.  That night we explored  the ocean of dha te dha ge.   We learnt ten variations, from a difficult and wonderful variation by Ustad Game Khan (Delhi Gharana) using repeated na and a variation by Ustad Chand Khan (Delhi Gharana) using multiple ge ge.  There was a range of compositions, some could only be played by very tayar hands.   Each composition has its own flavour and impact.  They were compositions in their own right (not paltas), but its origin can be traced back to dha te dha ge.

We all went home that evening inspired and armed with the task of preparing the new compositions.

Great great great tabla concert

•July 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I wrote this when I came home on July 7th, 2009, but did not a chance to post:

I just came back from heaven, it was a wonderful Gurupoornima.   The auditorium was packed and the artists did not disappoint.   I really really enjoyed all the great great tabla compositions and performances.  My hands hurt from clapping so much, while my heart is full of joy.  You could feel the love in the room and importance of having a Guru when you saw Pandit Divyang Vakil with his students. 

So happy that I got to be apart of the evening.

Wonderful Evening of Music and Philosophy

•May 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

My “daughter” took to me to Rhythm Riders because of my interest in Indian classical music.  She said that Ahmedabad was very lucky to have Divyangji and that I would really enjoy meeting him.  My trip to India was short and he is continually in and out, but luckily they have a small program one evening that i was free.

When I walked in, I was not quite sure what to expect.  First there was a wonderful tabla solo by this very talented young man.   Near the end of his solo, Divyangbhai dimmed the lights and asked us to listen to his teentaal and what an experience that was.  You could feel the emotion in his playing.  Divyangbhai has given great training and i hope to hear his other students.

Divyangbhai was no less impressive.  He spoke of the connection between spirituality and music and I must say that I have had the opportunity to interact with many Indian maestros, but no one speaks of this.  It was really wonderful to have hear him.  I look forward to having him visit us at our home when he is in the area.

thank you for a wonderful evening.

– mr.patel

Inspiring student

•April 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Summer vacation has started in India, which means that our tabla classes generally have lower than usual attendance. For many, summer break means time away from the city, but for others, its means something else. Many of our students stay in Ahmedabad for the vacation, passing their days playing and enjoying the fact that they have no school, no tuitions, no homework. We often tell the students to use some of these extra hours to practice tabla. The summer break can be a great time to bring up your playing level.

We hope that students take the message to heart, but don’t know who will. In our last beginner class, all of us got a pleasant surprise. One of our youngest students has increased his practice 3 fold.  Six year Shaurya is spending 2 hours in the morning practicing on his own and 2 hours in the evening practicing under his mother’s supervision (up from the 1.5 hr of daily practice during the school year). WOW! four hours a day. He doesn’t need to be told to practice, he sits and practices out of his own initiative. What a shining example of dedication for all!

Getting a Rev-up

•April 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday, Guruji stopped group practice and came to have a talk with the group.   One of the great things about Guruji is that he knows exactly what needs to be told when and his talks are so easy to follow, even when they touch on heavier topics.   He explained what ideal practice should be, spoke of the difference between practice and sadhna and touched upon a few other relevent topics as well before addressing some questions that we had about the same.   I think his talk was impulsive, but it was exactly what so many of us needed to hear.  We walked away refreshed and ready to practice with a new energy and perspective.  Thanks Guruji for the motivation and stimulation.

Blessed, thank you Guruji

•February 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The saying is that a person goes through many lives before finding their guru.  Many spend years and years of their life before they find the one who will guide them down their life’s path, others find their guru unexpectedly.  I am one of those lucky latter ones.

Each student of Pandit Divyang Vakil has their own unique story of how they came to meet the man that we all look to for guidance, support and loving reprimand (and harsh when needed).   For me, a friend happened to take me to his tabla class.  That day  turned out to be the start of a new journey.  Guruji is a “guru” in the true sense of the word – the one who dispels darkness.  He is not someone who just teaches me the beauty of a wonderful art form, but much more than that.   He doesn’t just care about my playing, he cares about me as a human being, and not just me, but countless others.

There are countless times when he will tell me something that I don’t digest, but time and time again, it has happened that if I had heeded his words, I could have saved myself trouble or discomfort.  But he does not push his teachings and compel us to follow, he wants us to  make them our own through our own understanding.

Guruji doesn’t just teach me tabla, but he making me into a better person, guiding me to tap into my full potential and bring out the best in me.   He is always testing and pushing us to do better because he has our best interests at heart.  My family, friends and even random acquaitances have noticed the positive changes in me.

When I began this journey, I heard stories about Guruji, his persona, his magic, his love and his dedication, now I’ve become one of the storytellers.

I am truly blessed to be a student of Pandit Divyang Vakil’s.  I really must have done a lot of great things in past lives to have met him in this life and have him as the person to direct me down life’s path.  Thank you Guruji.  I am blessed to have you in my life.