The assets of a veena practitioner are the index and middle finger of his/her left hand!
The stunning truth is that the fingertips,due to rigorous practice on the veena and constant pressure of the fingertips aginst veena strings, tend to form lumps of flesh . These lumps project like swellings at the edges of the index finger and the middle finger of the left hand.This mostly happens in the case of people who have started playing the instrument from their childhood or teens.For practitioners who start playing the veena from such a young age,the lumps at the finger edges are formed easily and naturally due to normal functioning of the elasticity of their skin.It is therefore advisable to commence veena-practice at a very young age so that the lumps are formed effortlessly. These lumps (fleshy tissues) at the fingertips grow along with the practitioner as he/she ages,providing a natural and beautiful padding enabling the practitioner to handle the veena as and how he/she pleases.These cushion-like lumps help the practitioner to feel absolutely at home even while executing the toughest of prayogas (musical expressions) on the veena.These lumps, through rigorous practice,develop calluses (rough surfaces) at the tips,providing further desensitization enabling the practitioner to tough-play the veena for any length of time without experiencing pain or discomfort. Calluses are highly desirable as they help alleviate the pain from the tension of the strings and make playing easier. These lumps and calluses are the real assets of the veena practitioner.Most of the players are blissfully unaware of their assets and they do not even realise what would happen to their veena-playing abilities without the presence of these lumps and calluses on their finger tips!!
If the practitioner starts learning to play the veena around middle-age,it would be difficult, and sometimes impossible to develop these lumps and calluses due to hormonal imbalances and resulting decrease in skin elasticity due to ageing.They could develop calluses ,but minus the lumps which are easily and naturally formed at a young age when the body is hormonally well-balanced and the skin elasticity is thriving.
String instrumentalists like violinists,guitarists,cellists etc. all over the world realise the importance of these lumps and calluses that are vital in the making of great artistry.
It is therefore essential for the practitioner to preserve his/her lumps/calluses on the finger tips at any cost.
If for any reason,God forbid, a practitioner suffers from the growth of a cyst in any part of the body, it would be better to remove the same by any means other than dissolving it through oral medication. Any oral medication aimed to dissolve a cyst in any part of the body could result in dissolving even the carefully grown finger-tip-lumps permanently!Such medication could be prescribed ignorantly,by medical practitioners who are not aware of the presence of lumps in the finger tips of veena players. That could spell disaster for the veena player, when he/she is middle-aged and chances of regrowing the lumps at the finger-edges are slim due to reduced skin elasticity and regeneration of cells.
During my interaction with experts on the subject, I gathered from a veena legend ( a very ageing veena vidushi), that application of frozen ghee on the finger tips and heating them on a low flame (while maintaining a safe distance from the fire) of a stove for 4 to 5 minutes would lend fat supply to ageing fingers.This could be done atleast 3 times in a week.
A violin artiste/composer who is no more told me that he applies the contents of a vitamin E capsule on his finger tips before lengthy concerts or recordings.This provided instant padding on the fingertips! This practice according to me is insufficient for the demands of veena playing.After gaining expertise in veena, fingers are transformed into emotional beings and with the help of the presence of lumps/calluses on fingertips,they express a wide range of sentiments and feelings through creative musical ideas.Fingers are assets to be preserved and nurtured at all costs!!!!!!!!!