We visited my eldest Buaji today. Including my Bhabhiji's family, this makes two musical families I've met so far. Unlike my Bhabhijis family, there's actual musical instruments at the house, and some kids (specifically my nephews) willing to play it. The kids are all incredibly intelligent, as well as generally adorable. The youngest talks a lot, but it's always so sweet I want to hug her. The middle child can play a bunch of instruments and has quite a bit of in depth knowledge about the instruments as well as music in general. For us, he played some xylophone, sitar, tabla, and a violin-like instrument whose name escapes me. My brother was obviously very interested, and tried his hand at the Sitar and Tabla.
The Sitar is an interesting instrument. There are 5 strings, plus another 12 (or so?). The "extra" strings are sitting right on the neck, and cannot be plucked directly. Rather, they will resonate when similar frequencies are played on other strings. Four of the 5 strings are also supposed to be plucked open (unless this is only very basic playing of the sitar). This leaves only one string on which you effectively "solo". The index finger is used on all the major notes, and a good vibrato is very important. This makes it _similar_, but very distinct to the guitar. The strings and frets are also elevated, which appears to hurt more when playing. Even my brother, with calloused fingers from years of guitar playing, said it hurt to play the sitar.
The tabla is another nice instrument. It's capable of making a fairly diverse set of sounds. Indian music is _very_ structured, which kind of pins things down a little bit. My brother sucked at the tabla, and wasn't able to get the "tha" sound out properly. In a way, the tabla is a fairly easy instrument to play. You just whack it and it sounds awesome. Playing it _well_ is another matter, but people should be able to get joy from it fairly quickly (I mean, people already tap their fingers to the beat, and a tabla is effectively a beat instrument which works from the fingers).
My brother and nephew "jammed" with a guitar (which my brother claims was _bahot bura_) and the tabla. It sounded kind of ridiculous (like "world music") but overall wasn't too bad. I wished we could've videotaped it so I could've added really cheesy effects and uploaded it onto the internet titled "The 60s are back!"
News channels and chatter is pretty much about the Obama win. It's interesting that a country can have so much world sway that news about the new president is more important than local matters. There's tons of random Obama related news just popping up for no reason. What it means for people of different races, what it means for India in various aspects, etc. I don't really care. He can kiss my Obam-ass.
Later, at the _white house_: And then _I said_ "WELL _YOU_ CAN KISS MY _BARACK-SIDE_!!!"