Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Music Room

The Music Room

A Memoir

Namita Devidayal

Thomas Dunne Books




When Namita is ten years old, her mother takes her to Kennedy Bridge, a seamy neighborhood in Bombay, home to hookers and dance girls. There, in a cramped one-room apartment lives Dhondutai, the last living disciple of two of the finest Indian classical singers of the twentieth century: the legendary Alladiya Khan and the great songbird Kesarbai Kerkar. Namita begins to learn singing from Dhondutai, at first reluctantly and then, as the years pass, with growing passion. Dhondutai sees in her a second Kesarbai, but does Namita have the dedication to give herself up completely to the discipline like her teacher? Or will there always be too many late nights and cigarettes? And where do love and marriage fit into all of this?

A bestseller in India, where it was a literary sensation, The Music Room is a deeply moving meditation on how traditions and life lessons are passed along generations, on the sacrifices made by women through the ages, and on a largely unknown, but vital aspect of Indian life and culture that will utterly fascinate American readers.



We sat inside the stuffy room, windows closed to keep out the torrential rain. I was trying to swat a fly which dashed in for shelter and was buzzing around psychotically. Dhondutai watched me and laughed softly. ‘Leave the poor...


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About the author

Namita Devidayal

NAMITA DEVIDAYAL was born in 1968 and graduated from Princeton University. A journalist with The Times of India, she lives in Mumbai.

Namita Devidayal

From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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