The Connoisseur

Posted: January 28, 2014

Shruthi Rao has a delightful surprise for January’s writing theme inspired by the cue “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

Shruthi Rao writes stories and articles for adults and children. She blogs at Hallucinations!

“Namaste, Mathurji.  Please come in.”

“Hmm, Katkar-saab.  All okay?  Settled in?”

“Everything’s fine – but the bathroom light has a loose connection… if you could…”

“Let’s see, let’s see… Katkar-saab, was that your daughter singing early in the morning?”

“Yes, yes, she’s a disciple of Pandit Gopalnath Nirodi, and she’s….”

“Katkar-saab, you hadn’t told me about this singing-vinging when you moved in.”

“Tell?  What’s there to tell?”

“The noise.  That terrible noise early in the morning.  Katkar-saab, this building keeps respectable hours.  Families live here.  Small children, elderly people.  Disturbing others so early….”

“Noise?  Disturb?”

“Broken mixer.  I thought it was a broken mixer and told my wife.  She said it must be the Katkar girl singing.”

“That broken mixer, Mathurji, was a morning raag, Bhairav.”

“See, I don’t know about morning raag – evening raag.  All I know is that the other families are getting disturbed, and I must ask your daughter to stop this.”

“She’s a very talented girl, Mathurji.  Even Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia listened to her and said…..”

“Said what, that she’s Lata Mangeshkar?”

“I’m sure Lata Mangeshkar’s landlord didn’t ask her to stop practicing…”

“What, Katkar-saab?

“Nothing, nothing…”

“See, if you’d told me about this earlier, I would’ve adjusted the rent….”

“Oh, is this about money, Mathurji?  Alright.  I can pay 500 extra per month.  Is that okay?”

“1000 more and you can stay.  But still, close all the doors and windows and ask her to sing softly.  Or all the other tenants will leave.  Namaste, Katkar-saab.”


“1000 rupees more, Baba?  We can hardly afford that!”

“Nidhi, child, you know we were lucky to get this place, so close to Panditji‘s house and your college.  Don’t worry about all this.”

“But Baba, 500 rupees…”

“Look  Nidhi.  You have the talent, passion, opportunity.  We cannot let a tone-deaf man ruin everything.  You do what you have to, and let me worry about everything else.”


“Oh-ho-ho, Choudhury-saab!  Long time, how are you?”

“Good, good, Mathurji.  How is Bhabhiji?  Fine?  All good?  Arrey Mathurji, that Indian Idol girl.. I heard she lives in your building?”

“Nidhi Katkar!  Yes, yes!  Wah-wah.  What a voice, what talent.  The first time I heard her sing, I told my wife.  ‘Pankaja,’ I said. ‘Mark my words, this Katkar girl is going to be something really big.’  Wah-wah.”

“Yes, yes, what a voice!”

“And such hard work, Choudhury-saab, I tell you.  Five o’clock.  Everyday she wakes up at five o’clock and practices for three hours.  What dedication!”

“Five o’clock?  Doesn’t it disturb you?”

“Tch-tch-tch.  What are you saying, Choudhury-saab?  Disturb?  Do you call birdsong disturbing?  Her father came to me the first week.  ‘Mathurji,’ he said. ‘I hope my daughter’s singing doesn’t disturb the other families.'”

“And then?”

“You know what I said?  I said, ‘Look Katkarji –  your daughter is destined for great fame.  Why bother about ignorant fools?’  Such a voice, I tell you….”

*Photo credit: { pranav } (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)

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  1. So the house owner was not tone deaf. It was a ploy to increase the rent. Nice twist.

    • 🙂 Wow! I hadn’t thought of it that way, Hip Grandma! Interesting, when you realize that your story reads differently from another perspective!

  2. Lovely story! Very well written Shruthi! 🙂 The way I read it was that he was indeed tone deaf but once he was aware of her fame, he changed his colour 🙂

  3. Nice twist and interpretation !!!

  4. had to read it twice.. I am kind of bad at understanding only from the dialogues.. the comments helped it.. 🙂 nicely written.. and apt to the theme…

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