Our tiny decisions can make someone happy

About two decades ago, I was teaching Indian Percussion to a kid over the weekend. Unexpectedly, the kid asked if I could teach him a piece of music of his choice — which he had heard somewhere but was not a part of the curriculum I had developed for these classes. While teaching music, I used to expect my students to follow the curriculum I had set, which involved lessons in their natural sequence. But now I had a choice: to teach what he wanted or refuse. I opted to teach him his preferred piece of music. My slight flexibility worked like a gift for the kid and resulted in a smile on his face.

In this interaction, I also learned a couple of lessons. When the universe gives us a choice, our tiniest decisions can make someone else happy. Moreover, such decisions, if towards goodness, can consequently connect us with happiness, even if momentarily.

Another lesson was that while teaching, the teaching paradigm that had worked for one student may not work for another student. Because the universe changes continuously and every human is different, I would have to go forward with a dynamic teaching approach.

In life, even our trivial interactions with people have a say in forming our disposition, which defines our behaviour for the next moment — and how we approach bigger problems. And they affect the people around us as well.

Teentaal Kaida

Given below is a kayda along with some paltas.

A couple of longer paltas are given below. Note that these are just rearrangements of the lines above.

Additional Notes

1. Prerequisites for this Kayda:
Preparation of a simpler “Tirkit” kayda, such as
Dha Dha Tir Kit |  Dha Dha Ti Na | Ta Ta Tir Kit |  Dha Dha Dhi Na |

2. GhiRhNag = Ghi + Rh + Na + g (four syllables); also written as GhiDa NaGa

3. “g” is played like “ka” in KiRhNag

Tabla: Teentaal

Teentaal, a rhythmic cycle of 16 beats, is the most popular taal in North Indian classical music.

Given below is the theka, the basic definition of this taal. The taal has four equally spaced internal divisions (vibhag) which implies that a pulse can be felt after every four beats. The major pulse (sam; first beat) occurs after every 16 beats and the minor pulse at the ninth beat is a khali.

(Please click on the Thumbnail and scale the image to 100%)


The kayda below traditionally becomes the first lesson for a student of tabla. It is followed by some paltas, which are improvisations on the kayda. While the beginner can memorize a few paltas, the aim of the student should be to recognize how paltas are made. On a closer look, you will find that all the paltas below include only bols that are present in the kayda and also “rhyme” with the kayda. Some techniques commonly used to make paltas include repeating phrases from the kayda, adding rests (S), and changing the order of bols in the kayda.

All paltas are written in double speed (dugun).

Note that the following two paltas are longer — 32 beats each. They were made by rearranging the above paltas.

The kayda and palta usually end with a tihai after which the performer plays the theka again.

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