Wednesday, August 29, 2007

27 August 2007: Krishna is Naughty

Having already finished (though by no means mastered) the short piece about Ganesha yesterday, today we started the third piece I will learn with Krishnaveni, a javali (think teen romance movies) about Krishna. Krishna has come to the gopi’s house late at night, and she scolds him “I know all about you, you naughty boy. You can’t come here to my house now. Go on, go!” I also continue to learn the padawarna, which is quite a substantial piece. I practiced for about an hour and a half this morning, supported by my notes and a tape recording of Krishnaveni singing the songs. I’m not used to both practicing and taking class everyday. Even when I was younger and playing instruments, I never was much for practicing. Too lazy! So now I’m in a situation where I have to practice so it is a good challenge for me.

After class, Krishnaveni offered us some food (Ninage uta beka?) and I found I was quite hungry. This is festival season here, so she had many delicious dishes prepared. In fact, she kept coming back to the table with more and more food, until I really couldn’t eat any more, and in fact couldn’t even finish what was on my plate. The festival today is the one in which Brahmin men re-tie their string, which goes over one shoulder like a sash. As we were finishing lunch, little girls started arriving for class – probably 25 of them at least, half squeezed into her front room where I have my class, and the rest overflowed into the living room. I stayed and watched them as they did their namaskaram and adavus. They ranged in age from four to perhaps thirteen, and appeared to be beginners, though some clearly were more experienced than others. It was fun to see the similarities and differences between their class and what I know.

My Kannada vocabulary has extended from nothing to a few phrases. Dr. Srivalli talks to me about simple things, and I repeat after her, noting down phrases when I have my notebook with me. Language learning is so much harder as an adult! Also, since I’m having to learn the Kannada alphabet at the same time, and how different combinations of vowels and consonants make different sounds, a dictionary is not of much use to me at this point.

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