Canadian Journal of Music Therapy- please download paper and connected (introductory) paper directly here

In case you are using this link, kindly look at the right hand of the main blog and you see a widget, from which you can directly download any of the papers I have shared there. This post is only meant to facilitate further dissemination of my research- no other reason.

Additionally I have shared an informal bit of writing which explores the reason why someone ought to write their story, post recovery or what it offers to others. How one story is a possibility for others, if its ideas are morphed to suit the situations of another life, is what this paper talks about.  I felt that my story is the narrative of a musician, so does it mean that non-musicians cannot utilize the benefits of music or its therapeutic potential. All these ideas are shared as part of the writing called Recovery Stories foreshadow other recoveries.

I just (1st august 2014) discovered another way to share research publicly. Here is the link to that. Am trying in my own limited ways to reach the this inquiry to more.

Music therapy for Recovery in serious mental illness

This is my recent publication in the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy. So this post is nothing but a sharing of that link and the rest is self evident. Oh yes, the acknowledgements are not proper in this version of the paper and they have to read as follows, which they do in the final version and in the hard copy which I will have in hand soon (am told it is in the mail). Here is the final acknowledgements-

 The author would like to thank professors Ajit Dalal and Girishwar Misra for their engaged critiquing. In making this publication more concise and thorough she would also like to express gratitude to the two anonymous reviewers for their comments and appreciation. The Editor of this journal also is thanked for her support, feedback and help with developing this manuscript. The author is grateful to Michel Satanove for help with preparing a final version of this paper.
And perhaps I cannot but share again that this article was so important for me that I even wrote an informal autoethnography about it, which had been shared right on this blog, several months ago. This article was really a torturous road!

Harnessing the bipolar mind

I have always wondered why so many people love the bipolar disorder tag so much that instead of making it work for them, they make it as a representation of who they are, in effect remaining dysfunctional and discordant for their whole lives.

Looking at the work done by Tom Wootton, and long before him upon encountering the work of Kay Jamison Redfield I had learnt that bipolar is not something that can keep you pinned forever and one can function reasonably well, even being in a disordered state. Of course not while one is psychotic. One of the reasons that I wanted to work in research in mental health and also look at my own recovery critically was to see if there was anything in the story that could be a hint or a direction for another to take.

Of course every story and situation is unique and unrepeatable, so when I read An Unquiet Mind (download from here for free) I was extremely troubled, for the situations and the sheer circumstances of her life were so different from my own that I felt that possibly only people like her can recover from serious disordered states, while the likes of me would perish to their extremely troubled innards. She is after all a professor of psychopharmacology, that too in John Hopkins. (Just on another note I must share another link by a therapist who offers an analysis of the same book). One thing is for sure, that reading both their experiences, and before that knowing about the famous bipolars in the arts, I was always comforted that may be I need to deal with my ‘condition’ more sanely and not commit suicide, for the impulse comes once too often.

Harnessing the bipolar mind is actually a misnomer, because every mind is bipolar. So the point is that we need to harness that mind whose fluctuations between good and bad are too extreme for even the person to handle. Is there anyone in the world who is NOT bipolar? So when our innately bipolar constitution becomes so charged and fragile that we can no longer manage our moods, actions and behaviour we end up being in a state of disorder. That is where the world around us steps in.

Anyhow, since I could not enter into a phd program, thanks to the inbuilt inflexibility of the Indian University system, and its infamous bureaucracy, I decided to write about my own recovery, slowly, in research articles or a full-scale auto-ethnography. After the first, I wrote the second and there is such a long winding road ahead, especially because from within my own I am trying to cull out substance that is universal and therefore offers itself to universal application, that it becomes very painful to keep getting back to your past. More so for me, because I stay by myself most of the time and this solitude, while looking at the past, which seems such a great mountain of lost opportunities- seems even more aggravating.

Anyhow, I think to write about how everyone can harness their innate bipolarity to create personal and common good is something I ought to seriously consider, and if possible write down ideas so that others can follow them, recreate new possibilities from them or expand the scope of them by merging with their own experiences. This is how we transform ourselves and the environment around us in a cyclical process.

Changing views about your own suffering

Changing the view you look at your own suffering

I am sharing this link, for it is my writing, on another platform, and the whole issue is about letting people understand their stories by dissecting them carefully. If one person who is drowning can save herself, so can another. But not if the one who is saved goes to save the one drowning- most resources have to come from within the one who is drowning and the one outside can always encourage, lend a helping hand or point out a dry patch of land on which to get a toe-hold.

Ultimately we have to be the creators of our own lives, not others. But yes, we can always learn and gain from the experience of others. If you want to dig your own well from the start, you do not know how many times you will hit rock bottom! Be wise, at least in deciding whose hand to hold, the ones who have no words but medicines, or who have been there, done that!

Research that makes you laugh

A few days ago I was talking to someone who had obtained a doctoral degree in public health by studying case stories of five women (!!!) who had been given a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Upon listening, I requested him/her to share the research with me, since it must have been registered as such in a university and there was nothing to worry about plagiarism. The response I got was this- “I am afraid I will have to take the permission of those whose stories I have written in the study, and if they agree I do not mind sharing the study further.”

I was astounded to hear that. In other words, as part of the research had their identities not been changed, to ensure anonymity? Or was that research done just for the sake of degrees, and now the degree having been granted, there was no need to share the research any further?

What a small minded attitude I thought to myself. What sort of ethical values would this person have maintained in the research, if it is so difficult to share the outcomes of a study, for which a new degree has been given? And sooner or later, based on this degree this person would be in the job market – looking for a job. So if they had such a problem sharing the outcomes of their research, what sort of addition to knowledge would this research have made? Why do people work in research?

It is a such a shame in this country and then people lament the fact that good research is not happening in India. Is it any surprise that it is NOT? This brings me to a few connected issues, which are all stand alone things, but all being about research am mentioning them here-

First- I was recently talking to a friend of mine, who is a senior (due for retirement in a few years) professor of Psychology in a premier university of India, a great scholar and a very learned person. He shared with me that there had been interviews in his department for which they had received the applications of about 300 candidates, for 15 jobs, and all applicants were Ph.Ds. But he further added, not a single was inducted (!!!), not even to the extent of being invited for interviews, for their resumes itself looked not up to the mark. I was extremely surprised to hear that.

Second, it reminds me that a few years back I had met the chapter-director of a global NGO, that works with children. Generally in the course of my communication with him i had asked him what had been the area of his doctoral study. And he had told me that whatever it was he was not happy to share it further because he was not proud of it anymore!

Third, last year after a public lecture in a lecture hall, a senior professor of psychiatry was asked by a student, from among the listeners, how research questions should be chosen! I was so amused with the question that I felt like telling them that they ought to discuss with me! A whole lot of research in mental health happens in inane areas, which have no effects on the people and does not even reach them, while researchers in all sorts of institutions, on public money spend years chasing ideas that really do not contribute any knowledge to the pool of human knowledge or solve any issues of the world around us. What a sham.

Perhaps this is how research is really done in India, where people do not merit jobs after it, and the ones who get the jobs based on those degrees do not want to share it further, nor it has any effect on anyone’s life in the world. Reminds me how different my own experience has been, even though no university considered me worthwhile to enter its portals, for I was just a few marks short of the prescribed limits; that too in an exam I had taken over a decade-and-a-half ago, during a phase of acute illness. I was not condoned for that lapse 16 years later, despite having publications in peer-reviewed journals.

So even though they did not open any doors for me, I still chose to work in research, unconcerned who pays for it (my family did, by paying all my bills in these past years). So now that the proofs of my labour are showing, I know I have been honest to the core in my work. After the first of those publications, the next forthcoming one is in the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy (the biggest breakthrough for me really, considering it is a new area), a book chapter in an edited book, another paper pending review and of course the qualitative study of those 13 people that is near completion now.

I found it so laughable that the person in the first paragraph said to me that they would have to take permission of the research informants to share their stories further! In my own experience, once the informants are ready to share their stories, which they do only upon being sure they are safe in sharing their narratives, they really do not bother about how they are represented. Of my own research informants I shared the story of one person with a journalist and it came out in the Hindu newspaper as well, two years back. I asked that person later if they were okay that i had shared their story with the newspaper and he was so matured that he was just fine , for there was no way anyone would have found out it was  him who was being talked about.

Do researchers have any commitments toward their research informants? Is that anyway to conduct research on live humans that you have to keep hiding the outcomes from the world or share them with select people only? I am shocked, amused and feeling better about my own work now. No wonder when no university opened its doors for me, all the professors I knew told me, that I was the better for it! Of course at that point I could not but feel upset about it- but on hindsight I think I am the richer for working alone, where I can directly discuss ideas with these senior people without having the compulsion to follow them, if my heart does not agree. This is called real freedom and in this freedom I have always worked- the outcomes will soon come. Insha’allah.

Excited and a little relieved

Today after sending my paper to Prof Dalal, the one which is for the journal of World Association of Cultural Psychiatry…or is it something else?? i am just feeling so relieved, as though a weight has lifted off me. In any case I have a mind to NOT write too many journal papers except for two more this year. What do I stand to gain from them anyways? Let those who need the degrees and career enhancements do it if they have to. It is nuisance for a fool like me to be fussing over writing journal papers, as if they can do me any good!

So i am back with the book now. The reviewer’s comments finally came to me on the morning of 25th January- they were not bad at all, though recommendations were very much there. So the good thing is that in the interim of dispatching the manuscript for the first time, I gained a little distance from it, which gives me clarity as well.

I am trying to work on it again and make it more tight, coherent, non-repetitive and easy to read. I hope to succeed.

Meanwhile the house has been hired in Goa and I am all nervous at the prospect of moving the dogs by road. It will take several days and I hope to leave from here by early March 2014, so that we can avoid the heat of the plains, though i know goa would have warmed up a lot by then. In January itself when I had gone it was quite warm.

A first book is good enough reason to be excited, isn’t it? With great difficulty, and also because I am trying to fine tune it, I am keeping it under wraps, but I am thrilled like a little child and I do not want to stop working, till it gets over- but fortunately the discipline of running a household with these innocent animals brings me to the ground every few hours and also reminds me of my own rest-food needs.

Journal articles

The better part of yesterday and today has gone in downloading scores of articles from journals…and seeing so much suffering in the world feels so overwhelming. It has plunged me into an eddy of despair. I am really very anguished.

There was the journal called Violence against women, and Journal of Family Issues and of course Music and Medicine, and Journal of Qualitative Health Research and more and more. From each of these I have downloaded a minimum of 15-20 papers. At the end of it, for I think this is the end, for I want to go no further, I really feel like NOT writing any more research articles. I mean, after the ones I have already decided for myself, last year.

The reason I feel so is this- that journal articles are not accessible, whereas books are. So it is better to write a book, than write an article-  neither I am getting money anyways. Journal articles, from someone like me, who is a rank outsider in academia is an intellectual elitism I can really not afford. They do not add to my resume or job prospects, but only make me look a bit serious and thorough, that is all. Instead, if I were to write a book so many more can benefit from it.

So why in the world am I thinking of writing journal articles or why was I ever writing journal articles like a fool? Just to reach that intellectual height where there was nobody to acknowledge my merit anyways? Perhaps whatever I have to contribute to this world, by way of original knowledge will just not go anywhere outside of me and it will remain confined to my heart only, while fools would have swarms around them!

Pushing me to 2015!

I just had a talk with Shambhu…he says that the reviewer will revert back by 10th Jan. I had submitted the manuscript on 29th September. Been secretly biting my nails ever since. Of course seniors like Prof.Dalal are not worried, but I am! This is my first book after all- there can be so many things. 

Of course what I am being put through with the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy with its innumerable stages of corrections, will certainly prove to be a good training device for the book now, though i am dreading something- which has to do with some citations.

So what came out of the talk with Shambhu was that once the reviewer sends the book back, with his comments, I would be sent those comments and then, depending upon how much I have to change to incorporate those suggestions, it would determine the pace of the book.

But the earliest, going by their own pace would be 2015 Jan, as they have already planned out all the books they have lined up for 2014! Wow! and I was dreaming that the book would be having a publication date of 2014 😦


2013 Goes into History- Personal Milestones

The Year that was- 2013

This year has been a very interesting, colourful, heart-breaking, soul searching and lonely year for me! So on the last day of it when I look back on a freezing cold day, alone in my home as usual, surrounded by my four dogs and the occasional phone call to distract me, mid my thoughts, my musical tossing and my verbal oscillations, I really want to put them down here, just for the one last time.

So much really happens in a year. Last year, same time, I was working on my research- quite pained in the heart, quite unsure where it was leading, very cold, lonelier than ever….seeing my non-profit staggering and unable to keep afloat. But I never doubted that my work was meaningful or significant and I just kept at it. Oh if only people could have seen what it takes to do what I do- there were no friends when my mind would be overcome by the anguish of solitude, or my writing and I would write poetry out, I would compose a new song, new ghazal, new something. But then solitude can also overwhelm- it did.

All formations changed in 2013 as those closest to me found newer people to connect with, while I became closest to my own writing and music. Once upon a time I was so anguished that I faced so much discrimination for my doctoral research that I gave up the idea, but now I heaved a sigh of relief for I learnt that researching was my destiny and I had to do it no matter anyone supported me or they didn’t. But the best had yet to happen in research for me- the fact that the best academics, not only from India, but also internationally started looking at my work and patting my back. Perhaps most do not know that I am only sitting in my own home and writing, not really within a university or department.

Lessons learnt from 2013

  1. Nobody will be there for long enough to share all the sides of your life- the ones who were there in your bad days were meant for that- so bow to them. But they may not be there when your time changes- so now hold hands of those who are having bad days. May be you got the strength back just to do that.
  2. Family is not just what we have from birth. To connect with the rest of humanity, I need to be more centered, more appreciative, more full of laughter and less sure of myself. Anyways that is why I keep puncturing my ego all the time.
  3. In India, others are usually not happy to see you do well, even if you come from the greatest suffering. But that does not mean you do the same- you still be happy to see others prosper, especially the ones who come from the same suffering as you have known, or any for that matter.
  4. Social networking can be a great blessing if you can make it useful for you, and engage with people rather than keep gathering a whole humanity around you disinterestedly. Don’t believe people from their facebook profiles- most are not interested in you anyways.
  5. When you connect with people over ideas and values, they last the longest- not due to birth, relationships, school, college, marital status or any other affiliation.
  6. Too many cocksure people do not create a happy gathering- social networks bring you into too much of it actually.
  7. Just because I am weak today, it will not be the same tomorrow.
  8. Remain fierce and fiercely independent- the world is always trying to beat you into submission anyways. And do not bother because nobody can be there in your mind to guide you. But still do have guides and only choose the best. I was so fortunate to have the best people guiding me, including on my writing.
  9. Failure is final only when you cling to it. When you fail weep the hell out and do all the mourning necessary, but move on. Only when I did, could I think of creating a new organization, not banking on anyone else but my own skills this time. And that idea happened only very recently, though it must have been tossing in my head for a very long time.


So here is what it was finally- am noting all the gains and publications down including musical ones-

  1. I gained a full tyre around my abdomen, thanks to sitting down most of the year studying! What a loss really health-wise.
  2. I gained a lot of wonderful people thanks to social networks and with many of them I had private communications, in chats, phone calls, shared meals, meetings and whatnot. There is a whole beautiful energy is the universal spirit and it brings such nice gems to the surface now and then. And this happened from all over the world. But equally significantly, I gained a number of very bright minds as friends who are NOT on social networks, and each of them a gem in their own line of work. Naturally enough most of them come from academia, but also artists, students, creative people of all hues, homemakers, writers.
  3. My paper in the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy- accepted for publication. This is by far the GREATEST in my estimate, for it puts me academically on a different footing- nowhere in the world, actually all within myself, that my ideas are being accepted by ‘professionals’ too.
  4. Rooh-e-Faiz: musical CD with six original tracks and one which was original of Iqbal Bano. This recording happened after almost of a decade of my last- big leap for me again in many ways, as the ice around me began to thaw, that I could record on my own, without anyone else being there. Created this on loan money and still a lot of it has to be paid. But it sold at the Faiz Mela in London, due to kindness of many. This album was a milestone for many reasons musically, though the outcomes are not commensurate with that.
  5. Sunn Awaaz: Songs of change, as part of Art for Social Change
  6. One another paper accepted for publication as part of an edited book by a professor- a book chapter! 🙂
  7. An abstract accepted for a conference in France, though I never could complete it, for I knew I had no money to travel. L
  8. Oh yes! My first youtube video of Kabir. In fact, Kabir returned back into my life like a huge wave- and flooded my mind with many ideas, that would now go into Hamsadhwani’s ventures.
  9. The idea of Hamsadhwani finally became clear to me, and I made it an enterprise, with a loan as usual!

Losses are far too many, and the only ones I can publicly share are those of demise of my doctor saab, Dr. Mitra and my grandmother. Some went away in death, and some in life…so that is how life goes. And now the year parts with me or I with it.

Am excited to look at 2014, as I take off in my new vehicle, once again the carrier of Saraswati: goddess of learning, arts and wisdom- my awakened archetype.Image

Research Writing- Reflections on a Submission

Looking Back at Writing in a New Area- An informal autoethnographic account

This is a blog post. So kindly treat it like that only: as an introduction or a writing-about-a-writing post.

This post is about the paper, my forthcoming publication in the CJMT (you will soon find out in the next few lines what this is)- Making Song, Making Sanity- Recovery from Bipolar disorder. So this blogpost is an account of how this paper got written or you might read it as how a research paper gets written and how it gets published, for someone who works in a non-university based setting.

Before you read further, I want to bring you to my background- I am someone who has not been to an active university system after age 20 (am now 41+), when i was confined to my home due to long illness. In the last two decades, all study and inquiry that has been happening in my life is within the four walls of my home- the homes have changed naturally and the family arrangements have changed; but for the last few years I largely live with four dogs, and I have a husband since December 2010, who lives in another part of India, who I meet several times a year. Like I said earlier, homes and dynamics keep changing- so what seems like the story today will be the past tomorrow. And coming from an illness of 18 years, if I could live to see the end of it, I am sure I will live to see the end of a lot that I want to be rid of.

Chronologically this is how my paper got written.

I was busy with a research since August 2012, and a lot of things keep coming into my mailbox, which also includes one news digest from the field of music therapy, among many other such mails that come in. You may be amused to read this, but I am not subscribed to anything in music(!!) except for research updates in music pedagogy. I do read about musicians or the numerous possibilities in music- but reading is around- health psychology, mental illness, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, philosophy and I constantly indulge in joining the dots- like i say holding the rubik’s cube in my hand.

What is my Rubik Cube Way?

When I look at every problem, I know that I may not get the entire picture, so though i listen respectfully and with due attention, I wait for other options to emerge. Naturally you do not hold the Cube about every little thing, but major issues in life- especially in unearthing things like ‘what are the roots of mental illness?’ or What should be the ways ahead for music to be taught? What role can art play in creating peace, or what should artists do in modern society, what is their role and historical contribution going to be in the march of civilization?  I do not go and discuss these issues with anyone, because there is no need to. These are not research questions for me, but philosophical issues.

What can be the philosophical issue about how music ought to be taught?  

First of all, that depends upon whether you even know why music ought to be taught. If you reply in the affirmative then you ought to read further, else leave it.

Second, in teaching of music there are many formats- so what should be that format? Should it be classical music, school music, film music, folk music or what? These are all issues that I have spent years and years of thinking, reading, searching and finding answers for. Some of my response would come via Hamsadhwani Enterprise and rest would come via my writing, over time.

Third, who ought this music teaching be directed at? And if it is, then should everyone be taught the same way? Should a five year old be taught like a 15 year old and who should be taught like a 40 year old? What should be the difference, if at all…anyways there are many such things that i have been at. But this space is about Kabir and my writing.

21st Feb 2013

I saw a call for papers . Here it is-


The Canadian Journal of Music Therapy is welcoming submissions for its next edition, volume 20, release in 2014.  We are seeking articles on music therapy from a wide variety of perspectives and styles, from first time authors to seasoned veterans. Examples of possible articles include a case study, an interview, an historical perspective, a philosophy, the merging of an approach or theory within your work, as well as intersections between the sciences, the arts, and music therapy.  We offer a manuscript development program to assist authors through the writing process.

The deadline is July 1, 2013 though we welcome articles year round.

The Submission guidelines are available in English at


and in French at …


This was the first time I had encountered a CFP in music therapy and my heart suddenly was in a flutter- should I? Shouldn’t I? After many butterflies in the stomach I wrote to the email address given.

My letter-                                                                    Date- 22nd February 2013

 Dear J

Hello from India

I am responding to your call for papers. I work in mental health myself, being a musician. The area I work in is qualitative research and I want to document my own story of recovery from bipolar illness. Most of my work is of an academic nature and it is my endeavour to systematically chronicle the path of my recovery using music-homeopathy as the axis i have used to recover from this potentially (fairly debilitating) illness.

I do not work with any populations in music therapy as such, at least for now (though it is very much a part of the plans for the future)

I send this mail to make an inquiry about whether you would be interested in a submission from me from an autoethnographic perspective about some aspect of how i have used music (particularly the lyrical components as my own expressions) and on the one hand recovered, and on the other also created a new identity for myself instead of that of being ‘mentally ill’ alone? Needless to say I would look at the therapeutic role of music in my own journey from illness to wellness, and recasting of identities by narrative reconstruction. 

There are a lot of sides to my musical recovery and this paper (which i hope would not exceed 8000 words) would just be the first of those writings I engage in. I am sharing a recent publication that i wrote for…maybe you would see where I come from. The online version is Oct 2011, but the date of the final publication is Apr-Jun 2012. My profile, meanwhile, from Linkedin shares my musical and other engagements with you.

Looking forward to your response

warm regards

11th March 2013

Hello Prateeksha

Thank you for your inquiry, and interest in the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy.  

The potential submission as you describe is intriguing and would be appropriate for the journal.

I would encourage you to submit it and once received, it will go through a blind double peer review.  

Best wishes with your work!

Dr J  (MTA)
Canadian Journal of Music Therapy

12th March 2013

Thanks J

I will try to submit a manuscript within July 1. Can you suggest me a desirable word count please?

Regards from India


12th March 2013

Dear Prateeksha

As per submission guidelines at: ( i have deliberately deleted this)

there is no specific length required and no page limits imposed.  A manuscript should be written clearly and
concisely.  Submissions typically range from 5,000-8500 words.


I started…

Many weeks passed, many ideas scribbled and tossed aside. It is not easy to write about a life of two decades in 8500 words, for what to cover and what to leave out. There are three musical genres clearly standing out. How to say which one is more important?

This is the first time I seek response.

Person- Prof. Ajit K Dalal, Professor and former head, Dept of Psychology, Allahabad University.

Date: 9th June 2013

Dear Ajit-ji

You cannot estimate my sense of relief in finishing this piece- its more like getting over with the agony of my own surgery, which i am performing!

Please see and give you comments, hopefully i do not have to do much re-writing this time. Looking forward to meeting you the following week.

with best wishes always

12th July, Ajit-ji writes back-

jit K Dalal

12 Jun

to me

Dear Prateeksha,

I am sending you herewith music therapy paper. I thought of sending it with few comments in morning. But then the editor/teacher in me took over. I went through the paper again and made many more corrections which took time. I am sending it herewith. It is your prerogative to accept or reject these suggestions. 

With good wishes,


And look at me, so pestering..on 13th having incorporated his suggestions I go off here

 Dear Ajit-ji

One last look at this please…i beg of you. I have spent the better part of today doing this. I am so tired, i cannot even breathe now!

forgive me for being so persistent. I shall be expressing my thanks to you as part of my acknoweldgements- but this version is for blind peer review so even my blog link is not visible here,  nor my name.

my deepest gratitude


14th Jun 2013– TO my dear friend, who is a writer-filmmaker- Sharat Kumar-ji, someone who has always enjoyed conversations with me over food, ideas and our respective writing.

Dear Sharat-ji                                                        

Am ready for the eye-for-an-eye match. Feel free to send me something upwards of 8000 words, because my piece is 8500 approx!!!

looking forward to a quick reading and response

warmth always

And from the same day I found this, to Prof. Girishwar Misra,

 14th June

Dear Prof Misra

Sadar Namaskar

I have been silently trying to work away, i do not know to what effect, but i really pray to god it would be something useful. So one of the thigns i have finally managed to write is my first piece of music therapy research.

Prof Dalal has been very kind with his time and engagement and dissected my work so much that i am quite convinced i cannot do more than this. He told me to make a few others read it too, so that it would be checked for flow, just in case he is missing out on something (knowing him and his red markings, it seems a difficult proposition though) But i am extremely grateful for such an erudite and scholarly academic critiquing my work,.

Can you please read it, just to check that it is making sense to theoretically (though this is an interdisciplinary writing between music-music therapy and psychology) I know you would understand the psychology bits very clearly, and also the music therapy things better than music. But i do hope that you will see it for its appeal.

I have written this for a music therapy journal, and the submission is due in a fortnight now. I will wait for your comments and feedback if any ( and i pray they are not many!!) as i am so tired of this autoethnographic writing, it really rips you open- what an experience! This has to go for double blind peer review once i send it.

warm regards always

14th June 2013

 Same day, he responds

Dear Prateeksha:

Good to hear from you. I shall go through the paper and give inputs.

With affection and best wishes,


15th June 2013 , Prof. Dalal writes

Dear Prateeksha,

Sorry for not been able to send you the paper this evening, as I promised. I suddenly realized this afternoon that I had an urgent and important assignment to watch India play against Pakistan. Sorry. 

I will finish my work by tomorrow forenoon and send it to you.

Look at the professor, he is apologizing to me!!!- who he owes nothing to, whatsoever, and who has no connection with him as a student, colleague or anything. I should be ashamed for pestering him. Instead he is saying sorry 😦

15th June 2013

Dear Ajit-ji

I think it is important for you to watch the game…and take a break from the monotony of reading the paper again in a short span of time.

Don’t apologize and embarrass me. Take your time, it is not nice of me to push it this way. plesae forgive my pestering

gnite for now


16th June 2013
Ajit K Dalal

16 Jun

to me

Dear Prateesha,

I am sending herewith the paper with some additional corretctions. As I told you I could not stop from doing it. 

The paper makes a much better reading now, so there are only few suggested changes. I have not touched upon the changes I made last time. There is no need to touch upon them again. You may go through what work I have this time, which we may discuss on telephone whenever you have time.

It is alright to pester sometimes. This is how we all work at times. 

That was truly very kind of him to say that. I had no reason to expect such kindness from anyone. From no teacher of mine, whose feet I touched, in addition to paying them,  in the hope that they would teach me something to sing, correct my mistakes or give me a feedback whether I was good or bad, did I get this kindness. SO when I got it from someone who does not owe it to me, i do not have even proper expressions to express gratitude. I am so inadequate really.

And now without waiting for a response from Prof Misra, this is my letter to him

16th June 2013

Prateeksha Sharma

16 Jun

to Girishwar

Dear Prof Misra

Sadar Pranam

I am sending you the version that has undergone prof dalal’s investigation and dissection two times over. Kindly read this and see if you would like to suggest anything further, in case you have not read the earlier version- i pray to god you have not.

I hope you will like this piece better too. Hope to send this now and move on with the book further, which every paper submission has stalled this summer. 

thank you and warm regards


SAME DAY (16th June ) his response

Girishwar Misra

16 Jun

to me

Dear Pratiksha;

I have gone through the piece. Well done! Great. I really enjoyed the writing which makes one to empathize.

I have made some corrections. You may like to consider.

The conclusion should include some recapitulation and theorizing . The reader would  like to have guidance about the functions, processes of musical intervention. How did it help . For instance , redirecting attention, furnishing purpose , giving space for creative self expression, going beyond the mundane, recapturing the threads of life. You may reconstruct tentative stages, moments/moves and of course struggles.

(The comments are to be taken constructively and as given by EDITOR!) 

Go ahead ! I once again appreciate your efforts.

With best

And I re-write the manuscript and do not show its conclusion to anyone now. Prof Dalal and Prof Misra are okay with what I have written, and I send it off…comfortably within the last day of submission. Now the waiting starts with bated breath…weeks become months. (Meanwhile the Faiz Cd is getting recorded, and the other writing is unfolding- i have invitation to come to Brazil, and a little later to London)

Date of Submission- 17th June 2013

8th July 2013

c t@

8 Jul

to me

Dear Prateeksha

Thank you submitting your manuscript to the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy. I have received it.

I will be back in touch once it has been reviewed.  This will probably be later in August.

FYI: The manuscript is sent out for two blind peer reviews.

Once I hear back from both reviewers, I synthesize their comments and then share them with you.

This process typically takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks.

best wishes,


As a validation of what i wrote here are a few responses, that I get, from someone who is equally dear and valuable- Prof.Ramakant Agnihotri – former head and retired professor, department of Linguistics, Delhi University

27th August 2013

Rama Agnihotri

27 Aug

to me

Fantastic. This is really a great piece of intensive careful reflection and research. It MUST be widely read…Attached in track change with minor suggestions…


But it was already submitted long back…

Ramakant-ji suggests that I can try reminding them of my writing and see where it stands. I do

31st August 2013

Dear J

I hope  you are doing well and in the interim of our last communication have had the opportunity to review my writing. I was pointed out some lacunae by another reviewer at my end. Would you like me to send you an updated version, or have you and your reviewers also seen them for yourself?

The additional thing is, that this paper of mine is being considered as an important piece of reflective research by three senior academics, who are professors, authors and people who are considered authorities in the fields that they represent- psychology and linguistics.

I hope my writing and reflections are sounding plausible and serious to others in music therapy too, for they have long-term repercussions in academic research via the Indian music system- and mental health. More so in India, where the field itself is in a nascent stage right now.

Waiting to hear from you, soon hopefully

warm regards

4th September 2013


4 Sep

to me

Hello Prateeksha

Apologies for the delay in my response.  I was taking some holidays and am just back to the office now.

re) the updated version of you writing — yes, please send that to me

re) review process — yes, the paper is under blind peer review by appropriate scholars

re) timeline — I am still waiting on the reviews. I should have comments for you by the end of September.



(Oh god! there is no end to my agony..of prateeksha!!)

7th September 2013

Dear J

Thank you for your response too. I am sharing the updated version of the article, as there was some problem with one or two of the citations, nothing more than that. I have rectified those.

Hope to hear from you at the earliest

thanks and regards

21st September 2013

Dear Prateeksha

I am pleased to let you know that your manuscript has been recommended for acceptance with revisions.

Both reviewers found the paper to be interesting, unique and creative.  Concerns were expressed about aspects of the scholarship, specifically the question of working with subjectivity, citing more literature, being more concise, and attending to APA format, the writing style followed by the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy. Specifically,

* Reviewer 1 noted that you refer to selective recall and self-serving bias but do not discuss what or how you worked with this.  He would like a statement about this to be included.

* Reviewer 2 noted that more literature could be cited to support your statements and an edit with attention to conciseness and reducing number of words.

Excerpts of their comments are copied below:

Reviewer 1:  I am happy to have had a chance to read this interesting manuscript.  The theme and presentation are unique, it is a unique case of self-help through music.  I do think it is necessary for the author to explain what efforts were made to remove possible sources of bias.

Reviewer 2: The author must be commended on her courageous and creative contribution toward understanding her process of recovery. I would like to see more clarity and conciseness (the manuscript is too lengthy, wordy and repetitive) and addition of more research literature to support her statements and opinions.

To this end, I would appreciate another draft be submitted using track changes to indicate the following:

(i am not putting down her recommendations here, because they do not concern this article. I am only sharing that part of the communication which i think is necessary to share how a journal article gets written, or my journal article got written, not necessarily all the communication that happens around it)

Dear J

Thanks again for the above mail, which I have now read all over again, just to attempt to include whatever your suggestions are, as also the reviewers.

The only bottleneck I face wrt your recommendations is that I have no access to any journals- including the Francis and Taylor ones you have suggested. Your own article from Voices is a link, so accessible to me.

I have found other sources myself as well. I hope to send it much before the time I requested, but I asked for it nevertheless just to be sure that i do not run short of it.

In case you can mail me copies of those papers from Francis and Taylor journals, I will be very grateful. I really hope that this piece will come through as many people will gain from this in the Indian context and it lends itself to opening many doors of inquiry in music therapy in India.

Warmth and thanks

c  t@u .ca  12thOctober

12 Oct

to me

Hello Prateeksha

I’ve attached the editorial and article.  And the link below should be accessible to you.

20th October 2013

to cjmt

Dear J

I am grateful to you for all your support and kindness in helping me and for your assistance so that I could bring in more resources and present my scholarship more befittingly.

I have finally done another version, by cutting out somewhat, incorporating newer ideas and even changing the final conclusion in terms of bringing this into the context of emancipatory qualitative research. I have brought in partially as per your recommendation, and partially as a result of my own study,  eight new references, and in this document since I wanted to put all in an alphabetical order I just made that format, by removing the track-change options. So all the new references are marked in yellow- you can just remove the colour yourself.

I am sending the new, shorter version with the track change option. Hope this is fine now.

If you would  let me know that,   i would like to put in a final line of thanks to the reviewers and you in my acknowledgements.

thanks and regards

21st October 2013

Thank you Prateeksha. I have received the revised manuscript.

It will take me a few weeks to review the changes.

I will be back in touch with you by Nov 15th.

NO Reponse and my anxiety continues…– another reminder- gets this response

15th November 2013

o me

Hello Prateeksha

It is not a bother to hear from you at all.  Your revised manuscript was received and it
will take me another few weeks to review it.  The intention is to accept and publish your
article.  It is just a case of finalizing revisions.

You should hear from me no later than Dec 2.


5th December 2013

Dear  Pateeksha

Congratulations! I am pleased to accept your manuscript for publication in the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy.

I have attached a draft that has incorporates some minor editing/revisions.  Please read the attached paper and let me know if there are any further changes or questions you have before I forward the paper to our copy editor for final revisions.

Thank you again for choosing to contribute to the journal.

I look forward to hearing back from you so I can forward the paper to the copy editor to edit for a final version.

At last…!! still more changes, correcting the citations 😦

Tell me finally, in case you have reached the end of this document,…have I not earned  signing this copyrights document?!

At the time of submission, length- 8,540 words