The Drummer Man
Dum-Dum-Dum, I can hear them loud and clear: the sound of drums!
As I enter the Jus Drums school, I can see about 15 children and a few drum kits in the room. Some of them are playing a beat over and over again, a couple of them discussing, a parent waiting for his turn to ask a question. I see an animated Murali “sir”, their teacher, asking the eldest student in the room why a doubt is being cleared just a day before a crucial exam.
“Here, let me play and explain” and Murali starts to play the drum kit. Just like a swarm of bees attracted to light, all the children assemble around and watch him perform with total devotion!
An excited parent takes a video of the impromptu lesson and promises to share it with everyone. Murali then answers questions, one by one, which range from “when is the next class, sir?” to “sir, can you ask Trinity to postpone the exams? It’s clashing with my school exam!” much to my wonder.
In fact, one enthusiastic parent proudly shows him a video of his daughter playing the newly purchased drum kit at home and Murali smiles, watches the video and answers a barrage of questions that follow, patiently.
“Phew! Where do you get this stamina from” I ask Murali as he wraps up the class for this batch.
"Well, it’s the enthusiasm with which they come, wanting to learn, their passion and now, having dealt with them for so many years, it comes naturally to me! You need to go their way to get the best out of them", he says with a big smile.
“What was your inspiration to take up drumming?,” I ask.
"The Chenda drum which was played in the temple in Palakkad was my inspiration! I used to look forward to the trips to Palakkad. On one occasion, my father recorded it for me. I kept listening to it again and again, in total enthrallment. In school, I was fascinated by a senior of mine who could play any and every instrument and I visualized a day when I would do the same!"
Today Murali can play 20 instruments and more than 1000 children have learnt the art of drumming from his school.
As Murali makes me listen to the rhythm of the traffic noise, and the taka-taka-taka of the moving ceiling fan, an old lady enters, asking if she could join his classes. Murali smiles a big smile and welcomes her.