Indian Harmonium as it Appears in a Good Book


Over the holiday break I read an incredible book called A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.  My description can do it no justice, but I will try.  Set in India in the 1970’s, this book tells tales of the many lives of people coming together from many different walks of life. Their views of life are colored by the lenses of their own experiences.

Ishvar,the son of an untouchable, who becomes a tailor watches after his nephew Om. Dina the rebellious sister and lonely widow who desperately tries to stay  independent of her business man brother, Nusswan.  Maneck the tenent student full of innocence and untouched by the corruption of the city. For  a very brief time  they become family. They connect and become a unit.  They need each other.  This does not last.

An Indian harmonium kept appearing in the background of the street scenes, playing it’s mournful tune.  My thoughts kept going back to that harmonium.  I knew it was an accordion type instrument and I was correct!  The harmonium, originally brought over by the British, is a miniature organ on which you pump the bellows with your left hand and play the keyboard with your right hand.  Like so many accordion instruments, the harmonium worked itself deep into the indigenous culture of India. I will attempt to place an image of a harmonium on this blog.  I am new at this, so we will see!!

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January 2010


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