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Himalaya

Day 99: Majuli to Kaziranga

Majuli Island, Nagaland and Assam 
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The monastery (satra) on Majuli Island. With Jadab Burah (right) and his older roommate Lila Ram. Because of vows of purity they would have to wash themselves completely after touching anything in the room Id touched.
Michael Palin - HimalayaDulal has agreed to give me a lesson on the kohl. First, he ties a dhoti around me. Dhotis, a variation on the sarong, must be worn when playing. I sit cross-legged facing him on the smooth, mud-floored passage outside his room. The first surprise is the weight of the cigar-shaped drum. When I draw attention to this, Dulal, a man of supreme calm, whose brother is a taxi driver, smiles. He teaches children of seven on that same drum.

Dulal shows me three basic movements. Tao, a slap with open palm on the smaller end, dhei, the same on the wider side and khit, resonating then damping the sound with the fingers.

He nods generously and compliments me on having grasped the basic moves. I wipe a few beads of sweat from the brow and allow myself a moment of smugness, which is swiftly despatched.

'You will need another five years to get it right.'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 99: Majuli to Kaziranga
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Majuli Island
  • Book page no: 232

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