In 2007 when we visited Pakistan for BIL #1's wedding, M went out and rented a dhol for about fifty cents a day. But this time I wanted to BUY one!
I wanted to buy one because our 3-year old son (who needs a name soon, I think) really LOVES music. I want to have musical instruments around the house to feed that interest, and I want to have specfically Pakistani instruments as well since they can feed both interest in music and interest in the heritage of his father. Two birds with one drum. Also, should our son want to include some Pakistaniness into his own wedding one day, he could use the same dhol that was used at his Uncle's wedding and other family weddings afterwards.
We asked around about where we could find a dhol to buy, and Abbu (M's father) said there was a music shop in Saddar - the center-of-the-city shopping area of Karachi. He gave M rudimentary directions and we set off one day to find it. We'd left too early, since the shops weren't open until after 11:30. The directions weren't exact, either, so we ended up wandering around for a while and asking around as the shopkeepers began to trickle in. As we started to get closer, M asked at one of the shops that sell decoration for Mehndis. It turns out that they also sell drums at those shops, so M bought one there for 1200 rupees - about $14.
After we bought it though, M kept asking around for the music shop. He thought perhaps Abbu had been talking about a different shop. After a while we did find it, and it was a real music shop. It was closed (of course, it was only 11:45 in the afternoon!) but there was a guy in what looked like a junk shop next door re-stringing a guitar who noticed us looking through the shop's windows and asked us what we wanted. Then he came over, unlocked the door, and let us in because he was the store owner!
It was a really nice store, too. Beautiful instruments that we obviously really well-made and high quality. Unfortunately, M had already bought his drum and didn't want to pay three times the price for another one. But they weren't just basic drums. The one we'd bought has a metal frame and the skins are fastened with nut & bolt, while the ones in the music shop were more traditional, hand tightened with strings. One day, maybe we'll go back and buy the real thing. Until then, my little drummer boy will have to make do!
The stringed construction of a traditional dhol.