Esraj Story part 9

One day later, Veeraja (another Australian student) told us about Nipun. He is in the Melbourne Sri Chinmoy Centre, and he had already built quite a few instruments - including an esraj. We thought he should definitely know where to get a skin!

We contacted him and he was very supportive. Immediately he sent us a whole package of the skins which he still had. All the skins were excellent, but a few had already been prepared by him. We had no idea how Nipun was managing it. These skins were so soft, smooth and thin. It was unbelievable! We were so happy and grateful. They were the best skins we ever saw.

The only difficulty was the size. They were all so small, and our esraj was quite big, so we could not use our newly built apparatus. ...again shopping...! Shopping for the unknown. We were the horror of all the shopkeepers. They were so kind and helpful, asking us what we would like... but we just wanted to see everything they had, and then we always tried to imagine how we could misuse the things for our purposes. For example, our new genius "super small skin clamps" we found in a one-dollar-shop. Can you imagine? On the package was such a misleading label. It said: "sliding window stopper."

After a few days the instrument was almost finished. We just had to optimize the jawari, which is a special carved piece of bone where the strings run over. The jawari is responsible for the richness of the sound which is so typical for Indian stringed instruments. To make it is a very skilled job. You have to scrape the bone, and every hundredth of a millimeter makes the buzzing sound different, or it disappears completely! We had some small instructions about how to do it. After a lot of explanation there was written: "The only thing which really helps is the sincere prayer before working."

For us as completely helpless beginners in the instrument builder's world, prayer was the only thing which we could rely on. Before work we meditated and before every big step we prayed most intensely.

Then finally by God's Grace the instrument was complete. Immediately we ...