Ravantar (Ravanhatta)

The Ravantar is a folk fiddle played by the Bhopa Gypsies of Rajasthan. It has 17 strings, and generally only one is bowed, while the rest vibrate sympathetically and provide a sense of spaciousness to the sound. It came to me quite by accident- my wife and I were looking for a camp of snake-charming Kalbeliya Gypsies. As we were passing through the Bhopa neighborhood (a bit of an overstatement since we were in a desert), a man came out of his tent/shack asking me how much I would pay for it. When I told him I was not interested in buying it, he then asked: But imagine you were going to buy it, then how much would you pay? It went on like that for the better part of an afternoon, with each question drawing me deeper and deeper into a dealmaking trap. I succumbed and have not regretted it.