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An Analysis of Anita Desai’s -The Accompanist’ BY DR. RAM SHARMA SENIOR LECTURER IN ENGLISH J.V.P.G COLLEGE, BARAUT, BAGHPAT, U.P. AND Dr.Anshu Bhardwaj(Sharma) Senior Lecturer in English Depts. Arya College of Engineering & Information Technology SP-42,RIICO Industrial Area Kukas ,Jaipur
Anita Desai, short listed three times for the Booker Prize and honoured by the Padam Shri for her literary forte, is one of the literary luminaries of the contemporary Indian fiction writing in English and a prolific post colonial writer who like Virginia Woolf deals with the psychology of mind and goes deep into the heart of her characters to expose their inner feelings and dig out the hidden questions that spring at the core of their heart and ,thus, she appears travelling with the modernist sensibilities of T.S. Eliot and Faulkner. The author of the highly acclaimed novel -Fire On The Mountain’ and six other novels, has shown her craftsmanship even in the shorter fiction i.e., short stories rather than her novels. It is true that she finds the short story form -much less satisfying-1 than the novel ,yet she keeps on writing story as she started writing it -as early as her college days.-2 In her short stories her style shows to even more advantage than in her novels. Her short stories are witty, evocative, tender and perceptive and perfect in revealing her skill and dexterity in handling this genre. Not only her novels but her short stories also are the great exposure of her psychological perspect.
Desai’s -The Accompanist’, an extract of -Games At Twlight’ (1978) delineates the emotional state of a tanpura player who, in this story, proves a true shishy and a true accompanist and is known as Bhaiya or the accompanist. The story is woven in the thread of true human relationship between ustad Rahim Khan,a former classical musician and Bhaiya ,the tanpura player who accompanies him in his performance having the quality of love and devotion.
Ajit and Bhola ,Bhaiya’s childhood friends appear in the story as Mephistophilis in Marlowe’s -Dr. Faustus’, whose business is to corrupt ,mislead and caution and dissuades Dr .Faustus from his right path. They visited the accompanist almost two decades and provoked him to come out of the shadows of his master Rahim khan and create his own identity by being a soloist. They stated:
You even know how to play the sarod and the veena. You could be a great Ustad yourself ,with some practice-why do you spend your life sitting at the back stage and playing that idiotic Tanpura while someone else takes all the fame and all the money from you.
The oft-quoted lines explain that for years he was playing the tanpura for the ustad Rahim Khan but did not get any recognition. The attention was grabbed by the ustad and all these years Bhaiya was hidden behind him on the stage without any notice of his presence. In view of his friends he must have a life of obscurity and establish himself as a full fledged musician that will bring to him more fame and more money than the few pennies given by the ustad for playing the tanpura. These suggestions went unheared and the accompanist bridled the horses (the senses).Desai’s protagonists are not as weak as Marlowe’s who come under the influence of corrupted people like Mephistophilis .Desai’s accompanist knows the art of satisfaction within his limited means.(Contentment is happiness.) His friends enticed the accompanist for coming out of his ustad’s company and he should establish himself as an independent musician of a more worthy instrument than the tanpura but he realized the great glory of his ustad’s company and got spiritual wealth through this company. He remarks, -When I first met my Ustad,I was a boy of fifteen-a stupid, backward boy as my father had often told me I was.- At his father’s instruction he delivered the tanpura to ustad Rahim Khan. Delivering it to ustad he -saw greatness in his face, the calm and wisdom and kindness of a true leader- and immediately intented to deliver his whole life into his hands along with the tanpura. Later on the words -Play for me- uttered by the ustad made him stunned and brought changes in his life. In fact, these words were new-life giver to him as they created him, created his life, gave it form and distinction and purpose. The accompanist adds, -It was the moment of my birth and he was both my father and my mother to me.-
We become the victims of desires of the senses. It is controlled by the tremendous will power or by following the suggestions of the supreme bliss which Dr.Faustus felt. We get the exposure of the mind of the speaker when he thinks two ways of taking action. First he would establish his own identity by ignoring ustad’s company as his childhood friends suggested. Second he would be his accompanist for ever.
In Anita Desai’s writings the inner climate, the climate of sensibility is more compelling than the visible action. As Iyengar puts it, -Her forte- is the exploration of sensibility-the particulary kind of modern Indian sensibility that is ill at ease among the barbarians and the philistines, the anarchists and amoralising.-3 In the present story the accompanist was persuaded by the senseless talks of his friends, Ajit and Bhola who were empty headed and leading him into it. In real sense the accompanist was not convinced with the ugly thoughts of his friends but still he was compelled to think whether he could really be a front-rank musician or a ustad himself. The lines reveal his inner conflict as –I thought, Are they right? or the sarod, or the veena? And become an ustad myself ?- He found himself in delimn and tries to analyse the situation. For this purpose he goes on thinking about the futility of the time he had spent with his ustad and states, -Now these boys who had heard me play in the dark hall of our house have been an ustad myself, sat in the centre of the stage, played for great audiences and been applauded for my performances. Were they right? Was this true? Had I wasted my life?- Then he finds the exposure of his mind after some soul-searching that he can never become -ustad’ in his own life. This idea is revealed in these lines, -Yes, anyone could play the tanpura for him, do what I do. But he did not take anyone else, he chose me. He gave me my destiny, my life,- and thus, the alchemic touch of the master turned the crude and base boy into a noble and gentle accompanist who now regards him as his God on earth and feels, -Does a mortal refuse God?-
Our mind has various waves of thoughts which sometimes deviate us from our right path and we begin to doubt on our doings and become sad as the accompanist appears whispering, -Had I wasted my life?- As the feelings of repentance enter the mind of the person, he mends his short comings, his mind becomes pure and purged and then he realizes extreme love. The accompanist confesses, -Only once I was shaken out my contentment, my complacency. I am ashamed to reveal it to you. It was so foolish of me .- Further he holds the view:
Ours is a word formed and defined and enclosed not so much by music, however, a by a human relationship on solid ground level-the relationship of love.
The idea discussed in the above line describes the relationship between the accompanist and the ustad. The accompanist feels that their relationship is not only due to the music they played together, instead it was due to story human ties. The relationship developed due to the inspiration and guidance he received from the ustad who had framed his destiny it was further strengthened due to his love and devotion to the man he admired the most in his life.
The best ingredients of Desai’s style in short stories are childhood memories and the haunting feelings surging out of a romantic heart. In view of Iyengar, -As we remain mesmorised by Anita Desai’s verbal artistry and her uncanny evocation of atmosphere ,her tale unfalteringly glides by and we force a rendition of the veil of the realm of personal experience and attain the desired finale of acceptance.-4
Childhood memories are also recollected by the accompanist when his trust was shaken out due to the provoking of his childhood friends. He cried continuously. Everything appeared to be unpleasant and evil and then he recollected the past incidents of his life when he was a vagarant or a vagabond who was without hope, without aim and without destination and was passing a meaningless life. He goes back to his childhood days and reminiscences how other things were of importance to him . Music was worshipped in his family. The central hall of his house was famous for the musical instruments made by both his father and his grand father . Cordantly and discordantly sound of his music could be heared. The accompanist himself had strong likeness for music and also started learning all ragas and raginis from his father ,Mishraji at the age of four . His father, a maker of musical instruments ,tasted his knowledge with rapid persistent questioning in his unmusical grating voice and frequently grabbed his ears and pulled it during his teaching. From such lessons he felt the need to escape and managed several times a day. He was habitual of playing gulli-danda and kho and marbles with mischievous boys of his mohalla.He was fond of watching movies of Nargis and Meena Kumari who were the Queens of heaven for him. In order to fulfill his desires he never hesitated in stealing the money from his mother or father.His mouth watered for -halwa- and -jalebis- made by his mother and used to steal his brother’s and sister’s share for which he was beaten and cursed by the whole family. It was the life which he was leading before joining the musical band of ustad Rahim Khan at the age of fifteen.He is thirty years old now and for fifteen years he has been serving his ustad being his true accompanist.
Desai’s -The Accompanist’ elaborates the beautiful relationship between Guru and Shishy and proves it more important than other relationships-mother and son, father and son, brother and sister, husband and wife etc. The accompanist has strong likeness for the sweets made by his mother instead of her. -How I loved my mother’s sweetmeats, too rather more.- What her picture he has in his life is clear in further statement, -I did the non-descript ,mumbling ,bald woman who made them.. She never came to life for me. She lived some obscure, indoor life, unhealthy and curtained, undemanding and uninviting.- He considers her as a wonderful cook. His father had been a hard taskmaster who would religiously wake up him in the early hours of morning and train him in music. He wanted his son to become a musician not an instrument maker. With this view he gave him lessons in playing the Tanpura, Harmonium, Sitar and the Tabla and taught him all ragas and raginis by testing his knowledge with persistent questioning. It was the time when he was crazy for cinemas and playing marbles and had not so much likening for music. But when he was caught in a situation , he stood up to it. When his brain was washed by his friends, he began to doubt his father and recalled him by saying, -My father had taught me to play all these instruments and disciplined me severely ,but he had never praised me or suggested I could become a front-rank musician. I had learnt to play instruments as the son of a carpenter—But I had practiced on these instruments and played the ragas he taught me to play without thinking of it as an art or of myself as an artist. Perhaps I was a stupid, backward boy .My father always said so.- Such attitude towards his father the accompanist has .Stealing the shares of his brother and sister proves him unkindly ,irresponsible ,unsociable and naughty boy. Now he is married and has become the man of the world but has no interest in his married life while in his childhood he was crazy for the street beauties and the cinema heroines and put himself in the place of their screen lovers. He considers that he married for his mother’s pleasure, -I even married. That is, my mother managed to marry me off to some neighbour;s daughter of whom she was fond. The girl lived with her. I seldom visited her. I can barely remember her name, her face.- Whenever he gets the chance to go home for a few days to rest, he desires of cutting short these holidays and returning to his house in the city to practice.
The love for music and ustad Rahim Khan changed everything in his life and he gave up all his childhood pleasures and pranks. -All fell away from me ,all disappeared in the shadows on the other side.- Ustad – took the place of – his – mother’ s sweet halwa ,the cinema heroines, the street beauties ,marbles and stolen money.- Ustad Rahim Khan’s company brought several changes in his life and gave birth to him as Bhaiya, the tanpura player. All his attractions regarding playing with the mischievous boys of mohalla and going to cinema disappeared. All his follies and stupidities or bad habits disappeared for ever .Music has taken their place and become the goal of his life.He is fully satisfied with this goal. Thus he devoted his whole life to ustad and became his true friend and accompanist because he was nothing. -It was Ustad Rahim Khan who saw me, hiding awkwardly in the shadows of an empty hall with a tanpura in my hands and called me to come to him and showed me what to do with my life. I owe everything to him, my very life to him.- Thus he decided to remain royal in the same position giving the ustad the base material on which he would compose his music.
The intimacy between the accompanist and his ustad could not be perceived or understood by his childhood friends and their act of provoking him against his ustad failed and cultivated in him a strong sense of commitment towards his ustad. Having the feelings of self-assured, poised and self-satisfed he hired a tonga and asked the driver to take him to his ustad, his creator. Only one thing was going in his heart.
I maintain I am his true accompanist, certainly his true friend.
The feelings of the accompanist to ustad Rahim Khan are expressed in the above line. He feels that he always plays the notes given by the ustad repeadly and he builds his music on the background provided by him. Thus he feels he is a true accompanist. Above all he never expects anything and never tries to compete in the performance with him. He never seeks the attention of the audience ,their attention is always on the ustad ,whenever his ustad suffers with the hacking cough in a concert ,he always asks the accompanist to prepare the opium to quieten it, these points make him a true friend as well.
Tha accompanist stands for pure love and selfless service. When the ustad asked him, -Do you play? – These words contain a sense of security and relief, love and affection which were absence in his life. As a matter of fact, love is above money, above all the material gains and achievements. About the power of love, Coleridge has rightly observed:
All thoughts ,all passions, all delights Whatever stire this mortal frame Are all but ministers of love And feed their sacred flame. 5 The accompanist keeps on showing his true love and service to the ustad without any wish for gaining anything in return. -We have traveled all over India and played in every city, at every season. It is his life and mine. We share this life, this music, this following. What else can these possibly be for me in this world?-
It is interesting to note that Desai has beautifully presented the inner conflicts of the accompanist and also his victory over them. In fact, she believes in dealing with the mind and the soul of a character ,his inner workings and hidden and silent thoughts rather than his outer appearances .Similiarly, -The Accompanist’ has a fine fusion of feelings and form and proves itself a great example of Desai’s art and craftsmanship since her main business as a fiction writer is to expose the truth. Thus the story accentuates the importance of selfless love, devotion, dedication and gratitude in human relationship.
References: All the references of Desai’s -The Accompanist’ in -Games at Twilight and Other Stories’, New Delhi, Allied, and London: Heinemann,1078.
1.Quote in Jasbir Jain’s Interview with Anita Desai on 16th November 1979,Jasbir Jain, Stairs to the Attic: The Novels of Anita Desai ( Printwell Publishers,Jaipur,1987,p.13). 2.Ibid,.p.8. 3.Srinivas Iyengar, K.R., Indian Writing In English, New Delhi, Sterling Publishers Pvt.Ltd;1985,p.464. 4.Ibid.,p.745. 5.Coleridge ,S.T., -Love’ in Golden Treasury,op.cit,p.171.
Established in 1958, GNLD has focused on the important role nutrition plays in health and vitality and the serious part that supplements play in getting to that goal. GNLD states they have a commitment to stay at the leading edge of scientific research to produce the highest quality products. However, is GNLD just another health and wellness company? Is it a scam? Or, is it a legitimate home business opportunity for a GNLD distributor to pursue?
GNLD products review include lines for nutrition, weight loss, herbals, skin & personal care, and home care. You can purchase individual products or product packs that include many different GNLD products for weight loss and nutrition. GNLD carries the basic nutritional products for energy, fiber, digestion, bone and joint health, immunity, heart health, and childrens products. This seems to be the same product line-up that most health and wellness companies sell, making you wonder what sets them apart from the others for the GNLD distributor.
GNLD seems to have the same scientific backed studies for their cutting edge product lines, and backed by a Scientific Advisory Board. All recognized worldwide leading scientists, of course. GNLD’s commitment to product excellence has attracted the attention of respected scientific institutions around the world, like many of the other health and wellness companies they compete with.
GNLD products and business opportunity is certainly not a scam by any means based on this, or any review. However, a GNLD distributor will compete with a growing list of companies that provide the same business model, selling health and wellness products through a distributor network. If someone were to be starting a home business and looking for a company that can grab attention, they might want to look at a company with a unique and different product with no competition. That could make all the difference in the world between success and failure in a home business. Look for something that is completely unique with no competition!
Evaluating Your Business Product or Idea
by Trina Newby
As you begin to develop your business idea, you need to determine its
strength and viability. Below is a checklist of criteria to help in
evaluating ideas that seem to match what you’re looking for. Ask
yourself the following questions when evaluating an idea for a business
1. Does it satisfy or create a market need? Introducing a new product
without first testing the market is like jumping off a cliff
blindfolded. In fact, many businesses fail because there is no adequate
market for their products or services. Before you risk your resources
on a new venture, it is necessary to get an objective picture of your
prospective market. Although accurately determining the customer
reaction to a new product is difficult, a new business owner must try
to get hold of as much information on the market as he or she can
either through a formal market research or through secondary research.
The rule is: find a need and fill it. To the extent possible, do not
offer a product or service so new or unusual that people cannot
understand why they should buy it – unless you want to spend most of
your time and resources educating the public. Big companies, with their
deep pockets, can afford to launch a massive educational campaign for
breakthrough products. Home businesses, given their size and nature,
often do not have the resources (capital, personnel, technology) to
mobilize such campaigns. Also, do not offer a product you love to make
but whose market potential is weak at best.
2. Will the product maintain market appeal? Beware of fads and fleeting
trends as these markets change quickly that your business cannot
achieve a sufficient volume or a sufficient share of the market. If
your product, however, is a fad, make sure that you can move fast
enough to capitalize on it before it dies. Also determine if your
product or service can be used nationally, or is it simply limited to
your geographical area. With the increasing globalization of business,
you may need to look at the international market and see if there is
significant foreign competition.
3. How unique is your product? The goal is to be able to differentiate
your product from your competitor. You need to show why your products
and services are unique, distinct, or of considerably superior than
your competitors. Every product in the world can be sold or presented
in a new way. If you seriously intend to capture a significant market
share, your potential customers must find more value from your product.
4. How useful is your product? Many new ideas and products are
successful because their creators identified an unmet need in the
market. Identify at the onset how your product or service will be used,
and determine the frequency of product use. Some business ideas fill a
real need, but in some cases the need have to be created through
promotional advertising and promotions. This information can help build
your marketing strategy.
5. How much competition exists? Remember, there is never a “no
competition” situation. You product will always have its competition.
Determine the kind of competition you will have – locally, regionally,
and nationally. Look for heavy or moderate competition – the fact that
competition exists in that market proves a demand, or at least a need
for what you offer. However, test for market saturation. Unless you are
offering a groundbreaking product, stay away from market with extremely
few competitors. Lack of competition could mean that your business idea
is not profitable to begin with, or that your idea is so new and unique
that no one has thought of it yet. Few players in the market could also
imply that the market may be controlled by a monopoly or a cartel, the
barriers to entry are too high for a small firm, or that the demand is
too limited to sustain another entrant in the market
6. Have you priced your product competitively? The right price for a
product or service is one of the essential elements in a solid business
model. Don’t do yourself injustice; the wrong price tag is like a
ticket to disaster. Economic survival is the primary consideration
underlying all pricing decisions. Ideally, a price should meet three
requirements: it should match the competition; it should be attractive
to your potential customers; and it should earn a profit for you. Set
your prices, not by competition, but based on the needs of your
business. Depending on your products, consider pricing yourself on the
higher side: the higher you price yourself, the higher you position
7. What is the level of difficulty in the creation or implementation of
the product? You need to consider the economic factors in the execution
of the product, such as time, capital investment required, and
marketing costs, personnel needed, among others. Also determine if you
have the engineering, production, sales, and distribution facilities
adequate for the product’s implementation. You may have an excellent
business idea, but if you do not have the economies of scale to produce
it, then you might be better off to consider other products (or at
least a scaled down version).
8. What are the growth possibilities? Your business model stands to
succeed if the demand for your products or services can be expected to
grow with a change in the economy. Check if your product can survive a
major technological surge or obsolescence.
9. Can I get backend sales? Back-end sales are all the products or
services you sell and resell to customers or clients after they have
made their initial purchasing transaction with you. Determine if your
product or service will warrant repeat sales. There is real business
value in building a pool of repeat customers. The bulk of the sales,
cash flow and current profit comes from utilizing and then better
utilizing a back end.
10. Is the product safe? The safety of a product use is an important
consideration for many consumers, particularly for manufactured
products. If you are in the service business, you need to make sure
that your personnel are properly trained with the goal of satisfying
your customers foremost in their minds. Educate your consumers on how
best to use the product and include clear instructions to avoid costly
legal entanglements. Make sure that your business is insured against
various forms of liabilities that may arise.
11. Can my product be promoted with strong advertising copy? Emotion
sells. People are often motivated to buy a product or service because
of some emotion, whether it is greed, fear or want. Response to
advertisements often increases whenever you inject these elements into
your ad. Sit down before you write the ad and ask yourself what you
want to feel. Then translate these feelings to written words for your
advertising copy. Stress what people can gain from ordering your
product or service (financial reward, becoming the envy of others,
knowledge to get ahead in life) or tell them what they lose if they do
not order (loss of time and convenience, discounts for ordering before
12. Will you be left with an inventory? Avoid inventory risk; make sure
that even you will buy the product. If you have inventory, consider
getting homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to protect your
business against all possible disasters, be it fire, tornado, hurricane
About the Author:
Trina Newby is President and Founder of Women About Biz, a powerful and
effective membership-based network for Businesswomen. Let us show you
how to grow your business at Women
For any manufacturer, the most important goal is to reduce product defects, and thus improve profitability. There are lots of ways to achieve this goal, however, the methods are supposed to come from the specific industry itself. You may apply quality control process or Six Sigma to reduce defects. However, the product defects will not be eliminated no matter which process improvement strategy is utilized. You may be infinitely close to 100% defect free for the interlining products like woven interlining, non-woven interlining and fusible interlining, but most probably you will never achieve the goal of 0% of product defects rate. With the improvement on reducing product defects, an interlining manufacturer may gain auxiliary benefits, such as lowering costs and increasing productivity, which finally turn into saving money in the business.
Reducing product defects for interlining products like woven interlining, non-woven interlining and fusible interlining is not the sole task for the managerial team in the company, but it is a collaboration of each individual in the organization. The involvement of the employees, especially those on the production line is the key to the success of reducing product defects. You will be open-minded when you have your staff directly involved. Indeed, with the contribution made by the employees, fewer errors and mistakes will happen during the production cycle, which in turn results in lowering the product defects.
The primary thing is to identify the changes we want to make, after you decide to reduce the defect rate for interlining products like woven interlining, non-woven interlining and fusible interlining. You can start with asking the employees in the company for what the problems are. You should also spend time on viewing the issue from every angle with the ideas got from the employees. This approach is insightful since the employees are in the manufacturing cycle with the interlining products, and may have ideas that the administrative staff have never come across. When implementing reducing product defects, the leader should bear in mind the basic principle of cost effectiveness. In other words, measures and actions should be taken under the full use of available resources. No matter which process improvement strategies you are applying, you may consider hiring professionals from consulting company that utilize Six Sigma. These professionals will help you identify the changes that need to be made.
Once you have target the changes need to be made, the subsequent step is to analyze the approach to the changes. At this stage, you should form a team to analyze how to deal with the changes. Documenting the measures or steps is essential to the success of reducing product defects. When analyzing the approach to the changes, the team should spend time on listing all the possibilities and have a comprehensive check on the running machine. It is also pointed out that the team should take the time to check whether the machines to produce interlining products like woven interlining, non-woven interlining and fusible interlining are on correct status, which is a crucial step in the process improvement strategy. Defects will be cut back and money will be saved if the machines are running at a correct status. If appropriate information on the machines is available, you will know how to adjust the change to benefit the company most, and thus reduce product defects.
After the implementation on the changes, a review process is needed to evaluate the outcome. You should constantly review the outcomes to ensure whether they are beneficial at all. You should always talk with the employees on the production line. They operate or monitor the machines every day, and get the firsthand results on the outcome of interlining products like woven interlining, non-woven interlining and fusible interlining. Indeed, employees will be able to provide useful ideas and suggestions to further improve the situation on the production line. If the company is looking for continuous effects on reducing the product defects, you can simply start from the identifying procedure and focus on the implementation of another change.
Remember when you are striving for reducing product defects in a business, your base line is that your company is saving money. The efforts on reducing product defects may become meaningless if the cost on interlining products like woven interlining, non-woven interlining and fusible interlining increases. On the contrary, the more money you save, the more benefits your company will receive.
With your efforts to reducing product defects by the changes, you may start to set a new goal to avoid making the same errors in the future. This is the direction to be infinitely close to 100% defect free. However, the set goal must be realistic, and all staff in the company should be involved. Under the current fierce competition in the interlining industry, reducing product defects should be a continuing strategic planning to save the business money, and improve the productivity.