Posted in Books

Book Review: The Music Room, by Namita Devidayal

About the author:
Namita Devidayal was born in 1968 and graduated from Princeton University. She currently works as a journalist with The Times of India and lives in Mumbai. She has a keen interest in music and there was a time when she aspired to evolve as a professional singer and be the inheritor of the Jaipur Gharana.

Cover and blurb:
The cover is what attracted me to the book in the first place. A woman with a tanpura… it was very relevant to Hindustani music, and very classical and simple as well. That, and the thoughts of Pandit Ravi Shankar on the cover made me want to read it. The blurb only increased my curiosity.

My thoughts:
I am a lover of music. But for books and music, I feel life would have been a bore. However, I have read very few books about music, and listened to fewer audio books! When I took up this book for reading, I honestly had thought it was a fiction, not a memoir. But this turned out to be one beautiful read.

This memoir takes us back to the author’s childhood days, to when she was ten and was forced into learning music at an age when perhaps, she was more inclined to be playing with her friends or having fun. She puts it to being part of a family of business people, where girls were groomed for finding good husbands, and knowledge of music or dance played a big part in that. The book then goes on to narrate Namita’s journey in music, her lessons under the guidance of Dhondutai Kulkarni, and that experience. However, the book is not just about Namita’s journey, but also the life of Dhondutai, and her teacher Kesarbai Kerkar and other musical geniuses of Hindustani classical music.

Namita’s narration is direct, and it is easily imaginable, which is a plus point for the book. The conversations between Namita and her teacher are detailed, so you feel like you are going into the class, sitting beside her and learning along. But just to clarify, it isn’t a guide to classical music. I liked the book because of the memories. It took me back with it to when my sister went for music classes. I like music, so I could understand a little as well.

Unless you are a big fan of classical music, you might not like the book as much, because it is like a concert in words, one to enjoy slowly and not at a stretch.

Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book details:
Title: The Music Room
Author: Namita Devidayal
ISBN: 978-8184000542
Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir
Publishers: Random House India
Price: INR. 395


This book was given to me for review by Random House India. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.

(Aug 7th, 2013)