How a Self-Taught Musician is Crossing Milestones
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"
Back in school, my teachers used to encourage me to participate in Inter/Intra School Theatre and Music festivals/competitions.
The joy of being on stage in front of an audience was unrivaled to anything else in the world. It actually is!
Little did I know that these performances and experiences were carving me out for something significantly huge. On the academic front, I love physics. Being a science student in high school, I wanted to pursue Automobile Engineering. Reading about powerful engines and torque gave me an adrenaline rush and I just knew I had to do it.
However, destiny had other plans for me.
One fine evening, my dad and I sat across and he started telling me about his “school days”.
He told me that " When I graduated from high school and wanted to enroll myself for further studies, my dad told me to lead my life on my own starting now. This meant managing all expenses myself - the college fee and pocketmoney."
"I had no way out, so I started working a day job, enrolled myself in a distance learning course at college and kept hustling - in that process, I learnt how hard it is to lead a real life. Experiencing life in a practical way, working hard for what I wanted." he continued.
I spent the evening listening to his “heroic” tales from when he was young and energetic.
I had done all my research and studies for getting into one of the engineering colleges to finally pursue my dream of being an automobile engineer.
Upon asking my dad to help me with the admission fee for the course – he told me four words that shook my world!
“Lead Your Own Life”
BOOM! I was baffled. I was lost.
On second thoughts, I believed he was testing me by putting me in a situation but soon I realised he was talking the real deal.
He wanted me to do the same thing he did - lead a life on my own. It was hard to digest for me.
Seeing my friends enroll in engineering, arts and management colleges and living the “college life”. It hit me hard.
Well, life gave me lemons - and I chose to make lemonade out of it.
I applied for jobs around and cracked an interview Amazon. I now started working as a Tech Support Executive under the Artificial Intelligence Alexa.
With the very first payout - I enrolled myself into B.A. English ( Hons.) from School of Open Learning, Delhi University.
What’s next? Being 18 and already earning, I started spending more on *wants* and saving less for *needs*.
Six months into the job and bored to the core - seeing the same faces everyday. I then knew that the corporate world was not my cup of tea.
I decided to give myself a break and resigned. Spending my last salary on buying an acoustic guitar for myself. I have no regrets.
"Music! I'll do music. I'll learn. I'll teach. I'll travel. I'll do gigs all over. " is all I had on my mind.
Two months into unemployment -
I cleared out my job in search of soulful satisfaction. The delight was immense until I realised that life was tough with discharged pockets.
I started learning music myself and started teaching beginner musicians alongside but it didn’t last long.
I had to take up another job to make ends meet financially for my family. On the other hand - I wanted to do music full time. There was still hope.
Six months into the new job and I quit again. I couldn't take it anymore. The corporate world and the politics involved was really not something I could adapt with.
Meanwhile, I came across a community of like minded individuals who are associated with each other through a medium - and that's music.
That’s when the magic started to happen. We gathered a team of five budding musicians and started travelling across India performing for social cause.
Performing in universities and colleges across Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata and Pune gave me an adrenaline rush and I just knew that I was doing the right thing.
Performing on stage in front of thousands of students in colleges where I once wanted to be a student myself. It felt great and marked a milestone in my “achievements list”.
Now, when I think of it - I realise that if my father gave me the seed money for college back in the day, I would not be a musician today and neither would have been performing in these colleges.
I kept the funds flowing by giving guitar lessons - all through this time at very affordable prices.
That’s when I came across a Delhi based band “Taqdeer” who had a gig lined up next week and were looking for a bass player.
There was my chance! I wanted to be on stage badly and said "Yes" to the opportunity which knocked my door.
This made me buy my first Jazz Bass Guitar with the money I saved from my latter job and guitar lessons.
Playing my first private gig with Taqdeer, it was a hit show! The hosts were happy - the crowd was enjoying.
I had found my soul Instrument - the Bass Guitar.
Hitting the stage - we performed more than 300 gigs across India in 2019 alone.
Fast-forward to 2021, I lost my father to cancer and motor neuron disease. The man who showed me the path to being different from others.
This happened a week before the band’s tour started across Mumbai. I didn’t stay back. I flew out of Delhi, performing across various venues to fulfill the commitment I had made to music. I hope to make him proud one day!
Following my passion lead me to my purpose - that is spreading love through music.