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On Guru Pournima..

..I wish to make a confession.

A teacher shows the path of right to the students. She is like the ray of light at the end of a dark tunnel of ignorance. A good teacher not only inculcates the lessons but also guides the student towards the right path by walking the steps along. Indeed blessed are the people who have had at least one good teacher in their lives.

I have had the good fortune of having some good teachers in my life. Be it a couple from my school or the ones I learnt music from. My music teachers, from whom I learnt the Carnatic and Hindustani forms of music were always a source of inspiration to me. The class sessions were interspersed with good advice, light jokes, some inspiring stories of theirs and other great people, and some cookery recipes shared even. They gladly took me under their wings and motivated me to stretch myself to my best limits. To them, I shall always remain indebted.

I always wonder if I've fulfilled my duty as a student towards my gurus. This is my inner anguish especially with regards to my Carnatic music guru. When I was a student, I was a conscientious one, always adhering to the rules and doing my homework and striving to achieve perfection in what was being imparted to me. Yet, after I've had to discontinue my musical sojourn with her, am left with a feeling of vacuum. There is a nagging feeling of letting down my teacher in some ways. Upon introspection, I realized that with the discontinuation of regular classes, I have also cut ties with music as such. I've let the lessons that were painstaking taught to me gradually be washed away in the journey to conquer social milestones of a job, then marriage and then a child. I was always inclined towards light classical music rather than the hard core classical stuff. Perhaps, that is why I couldn't sustain the interest once the strict regime was stopped. Perhaps, that is the reason for the slackness and carelessness with which I've let genuine efforts go unacknowledged and disrespected. Yet, even that cannot be used as a good excuse to pardon my deeds for I've shown my ingratitude towards the teacher, thus.

They say that your misdeeds make a home in your inner most consciousness and surface when you are vulnerable. I can vouch for this for there have a number of times when my guru has appeared in my dreams, not in any vindictive or accusing manner. Yet, I would reminisce about the dream in my wakefulness with a feeling of guilt. Is is my own conscience that it is prodding me or is it books of accounts of karma Way Up that is working, I do not know.

The best possible guru dakshina a student can give a teacher is to uphold the lessons learnt and shine on the path shown. Today is Guru Pournima, a day when students show their gratitude and love towards their teachers but all I want to ask for is forgiveness from all my teachers for any disrespect shown towards them knowingly or unknowingly. I ask them to graciously pardon me and release me from this guilt.


  1. very very true .. the last lines say it all, I am who I am because of the teachers and guru's who have worked hard on me ..

    how can i ever forget the pains they took to make sure I understand what they are trying ot teach, its a different story that i was such a idiot at that time i did not bother .. but now i know


    1. glad you could relate to the post, Bikram! :-)

  2. A touching tribute to teachers.
    There need be no guilt feeling for things not pursued.As youngsters parents train their children under different performing arts music,dance,painting etc.The children move higher in the field where their aptitude lies and find fulfilment.
    The very reverence shown and grateful memories of the teachers is itself a fitting Guru dakshina.

    1. thank you sir. You words have lifted my spirits :-)

  3. I can somehow identify with you... Even I have learnt classical music but for the last 1-1.5, I have been pretty irregular because of my job... Also I have not been able develop much interest in hard core classical music and even I enjoy playing light classical songs...

  4. A great tribute, Uma! Lucky are those who have had good teachers in their life to guide them and motivate them. I am sure, each one of us can think of some like those.

  5. You brought tears to my eyes through this post Uma.Actually the teacher through whom I learnt classical music for 6 years is suffering from Alzheimer's today. She has been reduced to something which I can never imagine her to me. It is really painful to see her in this state as my last memory of her is of a lady beautifully dressed in bright coloured saree playing the Veena magically.

    Touching post, this reminded me of my Guru.

    1. am so sorry to hear about your teacher's condition :-(
      I completely agree with you. It is really difficult to see someone of that stature reduced to a condition like this. *tight hugs to you*
      May God give her the strength to brave this out.

  6. Finally managed to get to your blog after about 5 refreshes over 10 minutes :).. Safari and Blogger do not seem to agree, have to figure out a way soon!

    This was such a lovely tribute Uma.. you have put it very nicely about teachers who stay in the memory of students. We seem to have music in common too :). Also the part about being out of touch with it :(.

    1. Hey Aparna, ya, I remember we discussing music as a common feature even earlier. Thanks :-)
      Please figure out a way soon because there's an award awaiting you and there's only a limited period to claim it ;-)

  7. Why do you feel so guilty? What one learns can never go down the drain .. So any day you get back in touch, it will all flow right back into you ..
    Your teacher would have enjoyed mentoring you as much as you enjoyed and benefited receiving lessons .. It was two way ..
    And just like we can never pay back our parents, we can never pay a gurudhakshina too .. Both are forms of love that go beyond the mundane measurements of the world ..
    So be happy for the wonderful student that you were !! That was all your teacher would have wanted then and you gave it ..

    And maybe you can start getting back in touch with the simple task of listening regularly.. While your waiting for your son at playschool, while cooking or even in bed before going to sleep using headphones .. It is sure to jerk you back into action .. Good luck !!

    1. all of what you say is true and I'd have done it, had I had the passion to get back..there I've said it- passion and dedication is what I lack and I feel bad for the sincere efforts that went behind nurturing the little talent that I had. Somewhere I feel bad for myself for being so.
      thanks, Aarthy for your soothing words..:-)

  8. Such a touching post, Uma! I wonder how I missed this one. The guru-shishya relationship is indeed a special one. And teachers inspire us and motivate us in ways different than our parents. You seem to be dwelling on this a lot I think, because it comes to you in your dreams. Maybe you ought to consider getting in touch with it in whichever way is possible. Whatever makes you assuage your guilt regarding it. Are you still in touch with your teacher?

    1. I used to dwell a lot more before than now, Vibha and you are right when you say that, that's why probably I saw it in my dreams. Am not sure how to put it, but it is to do more with the teacher than music itself. She has a very strong personality that kind of has some effect on you. I am not in touch with her. Is that a reason, I don't know..
      need to think about this more in quietness, sometime :-)
      thanks a ton, Vibha for such a thoughtful comment :-)

  9. Lovely post Uma! I have been lucky to have great teachers throughout my school and college life :-)

    1. thank you, Bindu! It's really a blessing to have good teachers, isn't it?

  10. Uma, a very nice and touching post. And I feel the same way - having learnt music for almost 10 years, i had given up on it for another 10 years, and didnt even have the courage to meet my teacher - wonderful lady, but am now getting back to it and feel like i could - very soon - meet with her!
    thank you - good to know i am not alone in this predicament.

    1. Hi Anu,
      welcome here and thanks for commenting :-)
      am glad you have got back to music and are ready to face your teacher. All the best!
      yes, good to know am not alone too :-)


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