Human. Professional. Technologist. Musician. Naturophile. Linguaphile. Traveller. Philosopher. Friend. Don't-Worry-Be-Happy-ist.
This is an interview of mine published by the internal publication of my workplace in December 2002. I thank them for this opportunity to share my thoughts on a subject I like and study - music. Its very kind of the interviewer to shower praises while presenting my views so well.
A Promising Hindustani Classical Vocalist
When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong. - R. Buckminster Fuller
This is something that Atul Nene too believes in very strongly. Atul, who is currently with the VVR-Unix team, is also a promising artist in Hindustani classical music. For the past few years, Atul has been devotedly learning Hindustani classical vocal music.
He is a disciple of Pandit Ram Mate, who has more than 40 years of background in classical music. Atul believes that Pandit Mate is an outstanding teacher in Hindustani classical vocal music.
Atul's primary inspiration for music has been his younger sister, who herself is a talented artist in vocal music. "Not only have I been inspired by my sister's talent, but have also been guided by her and my mother to overcome my musical mistakes and that has led me to learn music. During harmless family banter - the funtimes that kids grow up with - my mother and sister would identify when my singing got 'besura'. To prove that I too have the talent to sing the perfect notes, I took up the challenge and turned to classical vocal music."
Atul's mother and sister have been very supportive since. "My mother is really happy to see my progress with the art," says he.
Atul formally started learning Hindustani classical vocal music after a year into his working career. He says, "After a year into my job, everything looked so monotonous despite the work being interesting. I wanted to involve myself in something more creative; something different from my work that is not time-bound. I found classical music to be the perfect complement to my work. I thought it would give an excellent additional outlet for my creativity." Atul has been learning and practicing regularly for the last five years now.
Atul has learning sessions with his Guru thrice a week in the mornings. Besides, he also does riyaz every day with the tanpura.
Learning classical music does not mean that Atul does not like other kinds of music. "I like all genres of good music. From classical to blues, my choice is all encompassing. I like melody in all forms. I am very fond of folk music and all types of devotional music like bhajans," says he.
"For me, music is 'nitya nutan' (daily novelty). Each day, you learn something more, you do something in a better, more beautiful way. That gives me a daily sense of accomplishment; it makes me smile more!" adds Atul. He also feels that voice is the most expressive medium, and one can express a wide range of emotions through voice. He says, "I would call voice the most flexible instrument, although the most challenging one too." After being a music student for some time, Atul feels that music is a perennial balance. He says, "It is a balance between art and science. Science gives purity to music, and art gives it beauty and aesthetics. The two have to be in perfect balance for the end result to be good."
Atul believes that the most important part of his learning is listening and not singing. He says "One has to listen attentively to Guruji, try to assimilate every nuance of what one is hearing and the reasons behind each detail. One has to listen to the greats and learn from them."
Atul listens to great classical artists like Malini Rajurkar and Veena Sahastrabuddhe. He has 'rather distant' dreams (as he puts it) of learning from them some day.
His favorite instrumentalists are Pandit Ram Narayan, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, and Asad Ali Khan. His favorite instruments are the Sarangi, the Santoor, and the Rudra Veena. His favorites vocalists are Late Vasantrao Deshpande, Late Kumar Gandharva, Kishori Amonkar, and Rashid Khan. Does Atul have any favorite ragas? "They keep on changing as and when I learn new ragas. Each new raga is more beautiful than the one I learnt last. My current favorite is Madhuvanti. But a few that constantly score high marks are Vibhas, Malkauns, and Gaud Sarang. I also like Hamsadhwani, which has roots in Carnatic music," says he.
Atul never likes to miss any music festivals held in Pune. He especially likes the Sawai Gandharva festival, which features only classical music.
Talking about public performances, Atul reveals, "There is no first public or stage performance as such. It takes long years of rigorous practice and your guru's complete confidence in you, and hence, his permission to perform."
Besides music, Atul is fond of reading. He mostly reads Marathi books with a smattering of some English books. Mrutyunjay is one of his favorite Marathi volumes. Atul has also been actively involved in badminton and table tennis. Atul represented his school in various competitions like swimming, elocution, and other extra co-curricular activities.
But, music is what has changed Atul as a person. He says, "Classical music has a very calming effect. With one's mind at peace, one is able to tackle daily activities in a more tolerant manner. I have more patience now than before."
Talking about his future goals in music, Atul says, "Music is a spiritual journey. It's difficult to have any final goal. But, I can think of one milestone - to meet the expectations of my Gurujee. My moment of pride will come when he says that he is proud to have me as his shishya.
Message in Public Interest