It never ceased to amaze how much an idea can change once it’s being put into action. I was able to confirm Nina Buddhdev, a good friend of my mom’s, as my mentor. She has studied some depth into Indian classical music, and is very passionate about Hindustani music and encouraging Hindustani music into the modern music scene in the Tri-Cities. Before meeting with her for the first time, I had a fair idea of how I wanted my project to progress. Now that I have met with her and discussed what I would like to gain from her mentorship, I have varying paths on how I can take this project, some of which I am excited for and some of which make me wonder whether I could achieve something like that.

This first meeting was the perfect scenario to apply the first three aspects of How to Have a Beautiful Mind: how to agree, how to disagree, and how to differ.

Notes from our first meeting.

We sat for our first meeting in the evening over tea, and she basically allowed me to explain what I wanted to get out of the project, which was mainly a better knowledge and understanding of the elements of Hindustani classical music, as well as Indian music as a whole, and how to mingle my passions with my culture. I had given her examples I had already looked at, containing various Bollywood/western pop mashups and a few classical and western mashups. We discussed about how common Bollywood/pop mashups are nowadays, and how there have been so many versions of Bollywood and Western pop combinations that it would be practically redundant for me to focus all my energy into doing those kinds of mashups. This was something I definitely agreed on, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could really take this opportunity to delve into a deeper cultural aspect of Indian music than the commercialized side that I’m used to seeing every day. We talked about whether it was even worth me going into Bollywood at all, and discussed that focusing in on the real classics of Bollywood would be a fun twist for me to try, even trying to pair up classic Bollywood songs with older western classics. However, though she was alluding to staying away from more modern styles of music fusion, like pop and electronic, I would still like to venture into these areas in some way. I can understand why it wouldn’t be the first thing she would encourage me to do with this project, as in our talks, she mentioned something that really struck me as powerful (you can see it scribbled into my notes as well):

“Music is a spiritual – even a holistic – experience. Music wasn’t initially created for entertainment purposes, but for those of a spiritual and soulful nature. It is one of the most powerful forces that can shake a human’s heart.”

I really resonated with this idea, that music is not something that should be about performance or perfection all the time, but about using it to maintain spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being. However, these more modern genres of music from both sides of the world were things that I went into the project wanting to explore, and I will still make it a point to do so, even if in a smaller way.

As seen in the picture above, she has given me an extensive list of resources to look through and listen to to gain inspiration from. I hope to dig through them and summarize my findings soon!