Music was a gift given to me by the Lord. Gifts generally are not valued, because one may consider a diamond as a mere stone. For me, my voice was a gift that I had put aside as ordinary. I sang when I was told to. I knew people appreciated my voice, but that was it. There was nothing I did to keep it in good shape or to improve the gift with my contribution of riyaz.
Naturally, I never thought of using the voice as my main career instrument. A sore point that hurts, but there it is.
That is when came a mentor, who was fascinated by the gift, and wanted me to hone it. I still have a letter from him that says – “You should resign from your job. In this world, money has become more important than man, arts and even God!” It, of course, took more than that letter to get me rooted to a life of music.
Swami Tejomayananda, who we lovingly call Guruji, never lost hope. In another context, he had written to me, “Hope should never be given up!”
In the year 2003, I finally gave up my job, and went straight from the farewell party in the office to the Ashram in Powai to meet Guruji. The satisfied look on his face was something I will not forget.
As his passion for music was 100%, he found great company in my mother, as she is a gifted musician, and both of them would spend hours discussing tunes, composers, and the Harmonium! Learning to value a gift is something I have totally learnt from Guruji.
When the idea of forming a Gurukul for Indian Performing Arts came about, he decided to strike the nail on the head by asking me to take over as the Director of Chinmaya Naada Bindu. This was one way of tying me down to music. And I can’t thank him enough for this grace.
To this personal mentor in my life, in whose hands I have placed my future, my sincere Pranaams!