In pursuit of musical pots

Unique hobbies

In pursuit of musical pots

Being a musician was one of the factors that led Omkar, an IT professional, to pursue the hobby of collecting ghatams and morsings from different parts of the country.
His collection includes 35 to 40 varieties of ghatams and many morsings.

“I was always drawn towards percussion instruments and the journey started with the mridangam. I used to play the instrument initially. Over the course of time, I started playing the ghatam as well. Later, I also took up playing the morsing. I’ve been playing ghatam for the last 20 years and I love collecting them whenever I can,” he informs.

Omkar asserts that collecting ghatams is a serious hobby. “There are three types of ghatams — Devanahalli ghatam, Madras ghatam and Manamadurai ghatam. These belong to three different places.The Madras ghatam is made by a family of potters from Chennai, whose expertise lie in making these musical pots. Manamadurai ghatam is made in a small town near Madurai. The place is pretty famous for its special type of ghatam. The sound it produces is clear and goes well with classical music. Devanahalli and Madras ghatams are light and require less force to play. The Manamadurai ghatam is heavy.

It is a thick pot with tiny pieces of metal (brass) mixed with clay. It is harder to play but produces a sharp metallic sound,” he adds.

He says that he has more than 35 such ghatams, which he has collected from different places.

 “Any ghatam player would have at least 10 ghatams. We try and match the pitch of the vocalist when we play the instrument. That is how I had started collecting these. Some of the ghatams have been gifted to me by my friends,” he notes.

Omkar says that his family has been extremely supportive and helped him in many ways to pursue this hobby.

“My father always wanted me to play an instrument and encouraged me to learn
mridangam and ghatam. When I started collecting them, he supported me and hence I have been able to add to the existing collection,” he explains.

He proudly says that his collection also has morsings from all over the world.

“I have the normal Indian morsing that is used in the concert. Also, a friend of mine had gifted me a

collection from Australia. Those are difficult to play as they are small. I prefer playing the Indian ones as they are more convenient.

The ghatam collection includes 10 Manamadurais, 10 Devanahallis and the rest are Madras ghatams. There is a lot of passion involved in this as I have collected them over the years and I play them at concerts,” he adds.

He often plays these instruments during his performances and hence, they are not only a part of his collection but accompaniments that have given him recognition.

“I have performed with many artistes on a regular basis. I make sure that ghatams and morsings are well maintained as I often use some of them while performing,” he sums up.

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