Lesson 39: The Drummer Boy 

There once lived a young boy called Gopal, with big, kind eyes that lit up when he smiled. He lived with his mother in a small hut in a village in Gujarat. Ever since he had seen the drummers play at garba during the festival of Navaratri, he really, really wanted a drum.

Every day, Gopal woke up before sunrise and hurried to finish his chores. He gathered dung from the cowshed next to their hut, shaped it into patties and spread them out to dry. Later, he would collect the patties in a basket and carry it to the stove in the corner of the yard where Ma cooked.

Ma made a living by pounding flour for the shopkeepers who then sold it in little packets at their shops. As she ground the grain in the mortar, Gopal was transformed into the drummer boy. He sat on the mud floor, placed the tin pot upside down on his lap, and tapped his fingers on it. He could play any sound. He played the sounds of the earth shaking, the crashing of ocean waves and the wind howling.

And as he played, he sang:
If I had a drum, a big drum, a big bass drum,
My heart would boom, boom, boom.
Tak dhama dhoom dhoom dhoom!

A) Vocabulary: Please make sentences with the following words:

chores – housework or any hard, dull work.
dung – the excretion of cattle, used as fertiliser or fuel.
yard – an enclosed area of ground near a building.
pound – to crush or grind something into a powder or paste.
flour – wheat or other cereal, ground into powder.
mortar – bowl in which ingredients are ground or crushed.
crashing – a loud noise as when something breaks.
howling – a loud, long sound.

B) Discussion points:

  1. Which Indian state does the dance garba come from?
  2. What did Gopal hurry to finish?
  3. What did Gopal enjoy the most?
  4. Which musical instrument do you like the most and why?
  5. Do you play, or would you like to learn to play a musical instrument?
  6. Name 5 Indian musical instruments.
  7. Which musical instruments are the following associated with:
    a) Pandit Ravi Shanker
    b) Amjad Ali Khan
    c) Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma
    d) Zakir Hussain

C) Poem

The Music of Life

Music has the power,
to help and to heal,
It’s truly amazing,
how it makes us feel.

It brings us hope,
and a positive mind.
Motivates us,
to be friendly and kind.

Write one four line stanza of your own. You do not have to use rhyming words.