A trip to Mondal & Sons

One of the things that I’ve been dying to do for a while is learn to play an instrument. I took piano lessons when I was little, but piano just became another one of the many fleeting activities that I took on as a youth. I’ve had the desire to learn harmonium for a while now and after a few casual lessons at the ashram, I decided that I would just go for it: get a harmonium, find a teacher and learn how to play.
Earlier this week, I approached Mrs. M, one of the music teachers at my school and asked her if she could recommend a place for me to buy a harmonium. She did more than that, she took me over to one of Kolkata’s most historical music shops in her Central Kolkata neighborhood, Mondal & Sons, and then had me over for lunch. She also invited me to church the next day at the Carey Baptist Church, which is over 200 years old.

H.N Mondal and his son
H.N Mondal and his son

We spent almost two hours in the Mondal & Sons shops chatting, looking around at the photos on display, asking questions and even enjoying some cha straight out of classic clay pots.  J. Mondal & Co, sells a variety of instruments from the harmonium to the tabla and N.N. Mondal & Sons, specializes in violin repairs. Mrs. M’s family used to sell instrument parts to the Mondal shops. She claims that the Mondals invented the box harmonium. Regardless of whether they created the box harmonium or not, it seemed like the right place to buy mine.

So now I’m just looking for a teacher. But Youtube has been pretty good to me. I’ve already learned a little something. I hope my neighbors don’t hate me.

My box harmonium.

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