Thursday, 18 August 2011

Dhun dehra dhun dehra dhun dhun derha dhun...

Have just returned form a trip out of Delhi to Mussoori in the foothills of the Himalayas and Dehradhun: home of the prestigious Doon School where myself and the other WAM Delhiites have been teaching for the last couple of days.  The trip to Mussoori was blighted on my part by a nasty fever I had picked up on the Friday night and our 9 hour cab journey early on the Sunday morning was hard-going at times; an un-remitting stream of Bollywood's finest on the stereo from 5am helped to ease the pain. 

 We were all excited about the prospect of traveling up into the mountains but had somewhat underestimated the Delhi exodus that we were joining in celebration of a long bank holiday weekend marking India's Independence day. Mussoori was complete honking, fuming gridlock and not much fun especially when combined with non-stop torrential rainfall and some suspect hotel bedding. However, we made the most of our brief holiday and the views were certainly spectacular!

Our trip came into its own on Tuesday morning as we were driven down to the aforementioned Doon school. Here we were introduced to Priya Chaturvedi the school's warm and welcoming Director of Music. The hospitality we immediately received helped to settle our sleep-deprived minds and we were soon happily teaching some of the students. Priya was kind enough to let us take a restorative nap in her house (on campus) and the rest of the afternoon was dedicated to practise for an evening recital which we were to give on the school's grand piano, (prior to 2007 - last tuned in 1916 - it had 'character'). The concert was attended by the entire music department as well as many others and seemed to be a great success with much positive feedback from the kids.

Yesterday we got stuck into teaching and I was able to give a 2 hour masterclass to a group of Grade 4 students on the grand which was a wonderful experience.

In the evening, one of the school's previous students, Pulkit Sharma, an extremely able Indian musician and former school music captain, took us out to see Deradhun and introduced us to the Beatles song of the same name, written along with the songs from the White Album during their stay there in 1968:

Despite the horrendously delayed return train journey and 330am wake up call this morning, my short trip to the Doon school stands as one of the high points of my stay in India. This is surely thanks to the enthusiastic students, wonderful campus,  fascinating history and  generous hospitality of the school, not forgetting the consistently hilarious company of  my 3 travelling companions.

...dehra dhun dhun dehra dhun dehra derha dhun derha dhun dhun...


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