I was born in a Bengali family and like all Bengali parents, mine too expected that I would either draw, paint, sing or dance! My mother was a dancer too. So she expected me to take up from where she left off. She had to give up her dancing because the family she married into was conservative. But she wanted me to do what she could not. And she thought just because she danced, I would have a passion for it too. But I had a passion for music instead. So she decided I should learn it.
My first lessons in music came from her even though her repertoire was limited. Then, I joined classes. The passion grew and 12 years ago, when the Indian pop culture was just emerging, I took part in a reality show meant to select the girl band Viva and was one of the seven finalists from Bangalore.
Last year, I sang the title song for a Doordarshan serial, ‘Yeh Zindagi Hai Gulshan.’
I was also part of a band that performed for CNN and was featured in their show 30 Minutes. But my family told me that even if music worked out, I had to concentrate on studies and get a ‘safe’ career which I can understand in retrospect. But as it turns out, I had the freedom to pursue a passion but I could not treat it as a vocation.
I joined WorldSpace as an RJ and hosted a daily show and then got married in 2010 to my soulmate Gautam who is a qualified sound engineer, plays the guitar and shares my passion for travel and music. I kept in touch with radio and life went on.
Last year, when I was expecting my daughter, a shift happened. I began to feel that I had to make my child proud of me. Not that being a homemaker is any less but if I didn’t take music seriously, why would she?
I then took the biggest risk of my life by quitting my job and deciding to concentrate on what I love the most. Music. This was made possible only because of my husband who keeps pushing me to chase my dreams. But I am also grateful to my daughter because, it was her arrival that made me re-evaluate my life. She made me realise that if I don’t go after what I want now, I will never be able to get it. Whenever I get lazy, I look at her and realise that I have to set an example and I get back to music.
I recently sang for a Kannada film, Kinnare Baale, have started taking online classes and with Gautam’s support, I am planning to produce a cover version of a song in my voice for YouTube and then maybe we will produce an original song.
If tomorrow my daughter comes to me and says that she wants to quit her studies for music, I will ask her, “Is music going to be your life or just a hobby?”
If she wants it to be her life, I will back her dream a 100 per cent. I will not worry about questions like job security.
I want her to have the freedom to be herself. That would be my biggest gift to her.
(As told to Reema Moudgil)