Mridu crept up to the window. Lalli was sitting a little distance away, awkwardly holding her violin and bowstring, her elbows jutting out and her eyes glazed with concentration. In front of her, with most of his back to the window, was the bony figure of the music-master. He had a mostly bald head with a fringe of oiled black hair falling around his ears and an old-fashioned tuft. A gold chain gleamed around his leathery neck, and a diamond ring glittered on his hand as it glided up and down the stem of the violin. A large foot stuck out from beneath his gold-bordered veshti edge, and he was beating time on the floor with the scrawny big toe.

     He played a few notes. Lalli stumbled behind him on her violin, which looked quite helpless and unhappy in her hands. What a difference! The music-master’s notes seemed to float up and settle perfectly into the invisible tracks of the melody. It was like the wheels of a train fitting smoothly into the rails and whizzing along, as Ravi said. Mridu stared at that huge, beringed hand moving effortlessly up the violin’s stem, making lovely music.
Mridu moved carefully and slowly towards the window, without making a noise. Lalli was playing the violin in the room. She was sitting a bit far from the window, and she held her violin and the bowstring uncomfortably, her elbows stretched out, and her eyes filled with concentration. Her music-master was sitting in front of her, with his back to the window. The music-master had:
  • an almost bald head
  • applied oil on the little strands of black hair
  • a traditional knot
  • a gold chain around his hard brown skin
  • a diamond ring on his hand
  • large foot
  • golden colour bordered dhoti (veshti is a Tamil word for dhoti)
  • skinny long toe, with which he was counting the beats for rhythm.
He played the violin easily while Lalli struggled to catch up with him. She looked very uncomfortable. The music master's notes rose up and down and settled perfectly in tune to sound melodious. It was like the train wheels which fit in smoothly and evenly in the rails, as Ravi had mentioned earlier. Mridu was looking continuously at the huge hand that was moving up and down the violin, which produced pleasant music.
Meanings of difficult words:
creptmove slowly and carefully in order to avoid being heard or noticed
uncomfortably, uneasy
stumbledtrip repeatedly or make continuous mistakes
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). Honeycomb. A Gift of Chappals - Vasantha Surya (pp. 18-32). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.