In August 2008, I'll be completing my decade in my relation with my best friend - My Guitar.
Our relation has been so long,
and the guitar has always been with me in my happy as well as the sad times.
Here's the story of my journey...

It all began with "Lucky Ali's album SUNOH," I think it was in 1998 when I was in std VIII. I heard it always. Fascinated with its guitar intros & playbacks finally I decided to learn the guitar. So, I insisted my Dad to have one. I went into the Mehendale Guitar store in Poona with my Dad, and asked for a guitar. He enquired "What type of?" For me a guitar was - a guitar. It was like going & asking - one BMW please! No knowledge of playing, didn't knew the types, nothing (even didn't knew how many stringed instrument it was!) Then not knowing the name I pointed out to a guitar placed in the showcase. He asked me, "Do you learn?" Obviously it was NO. Turning on to my Dad he said, "Let him learn first." (he was, may be, under a wrong impression that Dad wanted me to learn guitar, like many parents want their child to learn mostly a classical instrument) Dad too agreed at the next moment, but my face was shrunken. I said I will join it after buying it. After an small argument with the shopkeeper & Dad - I won. He advised me a Givson Spanish Acoustic Instrument with a glossy wood finish & a stylish F-cut. He tuned it on the demand of my Dad (later I came to know that trying his method no one can ever tune a guitar, he did just a pushover!) I hung the instrument along with it's case on my back like a Rocket launcher & walked to the parking (hurting a bent-down person's ass on the road)

In fact I wanted an sizzling, electric, slim guitar, but I was happy with this one. I was the happiest person on earth (I thought). Then I started. It seemed so melodious when I flung my thumb over all open six strings. But the moment I touched any of the vibrating string - it was just a click-tlick-chuk-chick-tang-cling. Fed up with all those, I wrote a letter to Pustak Mahal & ordered a book to learn guitar. It was a good book indeed, but the edition was so old & contained songs some of 70s 80s! That too English that I had never heard of. One basic thing I never understood that time was how to play strokes? What are types of strums? etc.

Months later the guitar became loose & needed tuning. But who knew it? It was really hard to see the guitar in the corner & the book placed at the shelf among many others, staring at me. Nothing, really nothing could help me. I died to see the hand movements of Rock stars or Lucky on the TV screen just to watch what their hand did, where as mine could not! Firstly my delusion that "I will just rock the floors as soon as the guitar falls in my hand" was scrambled. Then my new exploration started. I removed all the strings - put them upside down! Removed the bridge adjusted it lowermost, sometimes uppermost! Purchased a battery-operated pickup, thinking this will help me. Played the guitar like a tabla! Recorded songs on a hand-recorder. All this was just for fun.

It was almost a year now! A friend of mine who was learning tabla told me that his teacher thought Guitar too. I met him. He asked me the first question - "Music is Ok. Why Guitar?" I was trembled. He told me to learn Keyboard first than switch on to guitar. I disagreed. Could not understand - WHY IS EVERYONE AGAINST ME LEARNING A GUITAR?
The teacher was Mr. Balasaheb Mane - MA in Music, knew Guitar, Tabla, Harmonium, Keyboard, Mandolin. Honored "Visharad" & "Masters In Music Degree" by Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (World's Best Hawaiian Classical Guitarist). Balasaheb Sir was also a arranger for Arun Date (Marathi Folk Playback Singer). He has also composed for Asha Bhosale & Udit Narayan. All this I came to know later.

The class was multifaceted, many people, many instruments - but only one teacher, who knew all! Amazing. That class thought me a lot besides just guitar. First thing was respect to the instrument. We can imagine bowing down to a tabla or a harmonium, but guitar! That too when we are accustomed to see half nude Hollywood artists & Rock band groups playing it. Each instrument has the same value. Sore fingers, Bleeds, Cuts, etc... were also a part. I learnt Classical Guitar from him. My hold over Lead part* is just due to him. *(Lead parts of guitar are those which say the lyrics)
Then came SSC, HSC, Medical entrance exams & could not continue.
I totally left contact with Sir & started my medical education in 2002 at Kolhapur with half knowledge of Guitar, just practicing my classical lessons. After a year in August 2003, I met a person who took guitar classes. He called me for an audition . Over there he asked me to sing (What nonsense, I had come to learn the guitar. Let me remind him, I thought) I said to him, "My voice is not so good, I can play you the guitar." He told me that I want to test your timings (?) & it has nothing with your voice. I disagreed & after an argument - I Won (But he was right, I came to know it later.) He was overwhelmed by my classical skills & readily agreed to teach me Chords & Fretboard reading. The class started with chords. My knowledge & clear understanding of chords* is just due to him (*chord is the background music played on the guitar)
He was Mr. Suneal Renuse - played Keyboard, Guitar & amazingly expert in Guitar repairing (repaired my accidental new Guitar) My first song after a couple of months was - "Hai Apna Dil To Aawara," Then "Papa Kehte Hai," "Ae Mere Hamsafar," "Jadu Teri Nazar," & list grew on & on. Now I have hundreds in my list!

Guitar playing was fun now. The lead part was becoming more stronger by my Classical background. My fingers had now adapted. A thick pad of skin had developed. Now, I wanted a playable stuff. So, went with Sir to Hemant sports in Kolhapur to buy a new Guitar. This time it was really a new experience buying that instrument. It took me 5 mins to purchase my first Guitar, but this Guitar took 2 hours!

We entered & it went on like this -
"We want a Guitar" - I said
He asked, "Which t.." - And I interrupted,
"A jumbo model, Hobner or any other good company, preferably Matt-finish, F-cut but no Spanish, with thrust rod adjustment & of export quality, made up of strictly Rosewood. ... Ah ... And must be something new ... OK .... That's all."

He brought a set of 14-15 guitars from stores. We were playing certain set of compositions on each Guitar (even though all looked the same.) Then finally purchased one. A new Signature Black Dreadnaught under guidance of Sir. It was the sweetest I had ever heard! The fresh smell of Rosewood, the matt finished body, the curves & most of all it had an electric connection!

Now, its really a great experience in this world of music - It has attributed me with something different than my doctor profession - I am also a music man in my collogues... I have also started a website for guitar lovers - visit it & then let me know...