In India now

Here we are in India.  My dream of getting a grant to spend an extended period of time working with the great Gundecha Brothers has come true and here I am with my wife and two daughters.

We are doing pretty well, though jet lagged of course.  The first few nights we were all up by 3:00 a.m., though last night we slept over twelve hours.  We were tired!

India is India.  Intense, colorful, dynamic, inspiring, dirty, and exhausting.  The language barrier is a constant issue and I miss my autonomy back home.  We’re in a hotel now (Hotel Sarthak), where we’ll be for about a week.  We may have a house worked out by then, but more likely we’ll move over to the Gurukul (my teacher’s school/hostel) for yet another week.  Tomorrow we’re going to start looking at schools for the girls and will also try to find a good house in a secure campus near the school.  Everything should work out, but it will take a little time.  Fortunately, Akhilesh Gundecha is helping us and he is very kind and helpful.  Without him we’d be lost for sure.

The girls are okay, but I can tell they are a bit confused and scared at times.  I’m doing my best to put on a brave face and be the “strong Daddy” but the fact is that I’m confused and scared too.  Questions abound.  Should I have really dragged my family half way around the world?  Can I keep them safe?  Will they grow and learn and be happy?  I also have doubts about my own life as a musician.  Should I really put this much energy into singing Dhrupad?  Where will this take me?  Shouldn’t I just stick to what I know and try to keep improving that?  Do I really need 10 months of this?  Wouldn’t the Skype lessons have sufficed?

My mind is filled with constant doubt and worry, but I also know that the only way to grow (in anything) is to push out of one’s comfort zone and try new things.  That usually means being uncomfortable for a while.  Like in endurance sports or contemporary classical music, the trick is to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  I’m grateful for the grant, of course, despite how unsettling it all is.  All the people I’ve talked with who have spent a year overseas with their families have all said that despite the difficulties it was one of the best times of their lives and a deep bonding experience for the family.

I suspect many of these doubts will be erased once we are settled with a house and school and I’m immersed in my lessons, but until then I’m in a very transitional state.

4 thoughts on “In India now

  1. Dear Payton
    It sounds like the stress and tiredness has gotten to you. Please spend the next few days cocooning with your family. Find mango ice cream and hold Madeline’s umbrella for her. Look for an elephant in the street and most of all rest, sleep and find things to smile about. We asked you all these questions before you left and you had passion and the right answers for most of them. You will find that passion again when you re energize yourself. I firmly believe this is a Great Adventure and that you and Jessica together will draw from it what few people are able.
    The other thing to remember is that if your thinking or circumstances change, your ideas and plans can change to. When you decide to come home is only a change of direction – not a retreat.

    So know we love you and are thinking of you. Balance the esthetic with the practical and savor the moment you are in.

    All our love,


  2. This is so precious.
    DO you have a picture of Madeline and her parasol?

  3. I posted a comment last week, but it apparently didn’t post. Anyway, I’m glad you all got there safely. I remember the first few weeks when we went to VIenna in fall of 1995. I was so lost, lonely and never felt so isolated in my life. After I got rested, the days flew by and I got into the ‘groove’ of the transportation, weather, marketing, etc. and remember the experience so well even after l8 years! It’s hard to believe it’s been l8 years. I still remember my father’s 2 year assignment when I was 9 and l0 to Taiwan. That was 55 years ago and I remember the experience almost completely. It was so much fun because the entire family was there and we drew fun, love and laughter from each other. I KNOW the girls will remember this for the rest of their lives. Keep your chin up, rest, and give the girls…..and Jessica…..lts of hugs and

    • that was lots of hugs and kisses. Enjoy yourselves and don’t worry about all of us. We miss you, but we love and support you.

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