Mridangam is an Indian classical instrument that is believed to have originated in South India, very early on in history. It is a sacred instrument of Hinduism and is played by many Hindu gods, including Ganesha and Nandi. Although the Mridangam is a very popular instrument back home in India, many kids now a days are straying away from the ideal Indian and are trying to become more of an “American”. It is important to be American, but that doesn’t mean that we have to give up our heritage. There needs to be a resurgence of the classical Indian arts, and that needs to begin with the kannadigan youth. I myself play the mridangam, but I am only few in a land of many. Mridangam has had a very positive influence on my life. Through Mridangam, I have become more socially connected with the community, such as when I go to cultural programs to perform. Going to a program is not just for playing there, but also to interact with others. Also, Mridangam has taught me discipline, determination, and time management skills. By following the tala, or time scale, I have learned to be patient and to follow a set pattern. By constantly trying harder and harder to perfect a new lesson, or a complicated variation, I have learned to never give up. By making sure that I save time everyday just for practicing ( or most days), I have learned to organize my life. Though Mridangam may only be a small aspect of my life, it has had a broader influence that has helped me establish many of my morals. On a lighter note, being a mridangist has its benefits. There is always an aura of respect that I receive when I walk into a cultural function and I am allowed to skip the line when getting food. Mridangam is not only just serious, and should not be taken too seriously. I have met many of my friends from Mridangam class, and still keep in touch with them today, though I do not see them in class anymore. Overall, Mridangam will greatly enhance the abilities of yourself, and of the young ones in your family, and I would highly recommend that the youth of the Kannadigans in New York start looking into not only mridangam, but other aspects of Indian classical music.
Written by Nakul Rao