On the first day of class, somewhere in my deep past now, I tried in vain to get the aforementioned pandemonium to pipe down by raising my voice and saying something feeble like “OK class, let’s pay attention, please.” Abject failure was the result and we really did need to get down to some serious philosophy about violin repair aesthetics. As the noise levels rose in direct relationship to my desperation levels, I had no choice other than resorting to my yodeling skills and let a really good, ear splitting one rip through the din. Everybody stopped dead in their tracks, stunned…not one of them had ever in their lives heard good ol’ cowboy yodeling. “Why, I can divert a wild buffalo herd stampede, connect with my friends across a mile of open ocean with that one,” I brag. Krishna gently passed me a nice Tibetan bell with a dorje handle and asked if I wouldn’t kindly please ring it instead. “They will recognize the bell from their school days and it will work well…” Indeed, it does.
Recently, I rang the bell to announce that it was time for our tea break, and Sangeetha, a fine musician in her own right, politely asked me if I wouldn’t please do the announcement again with my “special vocal music.” I still save the yodeling for special occasions and the class seems to cherish it now alongside their own ancient and venerable vedic music traditions. I have always been made to feel included in India. It is deeply moving.