KOZHIKODE: For almost six decades, two brothers here have been eking out a living by making tablas. The brothers, TP Raveendran, 67 and TP Mohanan, residing at Thiruthiyad in the city, are known as masters in making and repairing tablas. Mr Raveendran told DC that they were happy with the profession and had been earning a living through this. It was the lack of experts in tabla-repairing that led Raveendran to learn the trade back in 1960 when he was 10.
“In those days, there was only one family in Palakkad which mastered the art of tabla-making as well as repairing”, he said. “We had to wait for many months to repair percussion instruments in those days which led me to learn the art on my own trying my skills on old damaged ones”, he added. The brothers used to supply tablas to prominent musical instrument shops in the city including Saraswathi Musicals and Sapthaswara Musicals, apart from individuals. The availability of raw material is a problem faced by the tabla makers.
The drumming surface of the instrument is made with leather from goat skin sourced from Tiruppattur in Tamil Nadu while the stitching thread made of buffalo skin is sourced from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Mr Raveendran feels that the new generation is not ready to take over the art as it is not very remunerative as many other jobs are available at present. Youngsters find it hard to sit for almost 12 hours at a single stretch, it was pointed out. “Starting as tablists, we love the job and are dedicated to it”, said Mr Raveendran.