As far as she can remember, Jyoti Sinha has always had music as her companion.
When she was a kid, she had heard her parents hum popular songs from the golden years of Bollywood. By the time she was learning Hindustani classical vocal music in the then sleepy town of Ranchi, it seemed more like an interesting hobby. During her engineering education at RIT Jamshedpur, she was secretary of the dramatics and cultural society. She sang at college festivals and other competitions, winning awards too. For several years after college, the passion was confined to her own self. At family functions and office events, she would occasionally lend colour with her voice.
It all changed one day in 2015, when a popular band was performing at her residential complex in Gurgaon. Looking to involve the public, the band members asked if someone from the audience would like to join and sing too. The four years of formal music that Jyoti had learnt as a teenager, and the passion that she had developed over the years, suddenly had found an opportunity. She walked up and, soon afterwards, made the crowd dance to her tunes. Quite literally!
A casual participation in a singing competition for the Delhi-NCR region for the age group 35-50 took her a step ahead – she ended up as one of the eight finalists. Another singing competition in Gurgaon saw her emerge the winner. Suddenly, music had changed her life.
“Singing is the food to my soul. It gives me joy,” Jyoti says, recalling how music has come back, roaring, into her life again.
As a supply chain professional, she makes sure that the supply chain strategy is deployed effectively and the network of Hindustan
On World Music Day (June 21), Jyoti’s experiences only confirm the power of music to transcend all barriers and connect with the masses.
Even though their workplace is over 2000 kilometres apart, Bengaluru-based Arun Prakash Ray’s association with music is not very different from Jyoti’s. A professional who trains people in behavioural sciences and leadership during the day at HCCB, it does not take him any effort to don the robes of a music lover at the end of his working day.
Call him a ‘teacher by the day, student in the afterhours!’
Calcutta has traditionally been the one of the nurseries for classical music, with an audience that has always appreciated the art form. Arun got a chance to meet Rashid Khan at his house and discuss various forms of music too. Soon, he was rubbing shoulders with flautist Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Santoor maestro Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Sarod specialist Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and legendary Sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan. As Arun spent more time with musicians, he gravitated more towards Sufi and qawwali form of music.
When Farid Ayaz of Coke Studio fame visited India, Arun suggested that he will take care of his hospitality, Farid suggested that he would prefer to stay at Rashid Guest House at Chitli Qabar, near Jama Masjid in Delhi. Want to reach there? A cycle rickshaw can take you there from Jama Masjid!
“It is this humility with these musicians, some of who are masters of their craft, that makes you admire them even more. Their dedication is only to music,” Arun says, referring to Farid preferring to stay at a cramped guest house over a plush, luxury hotel.
“Amir Khusro had a day job as a court poet. I too have a job like him,” he grins.
His training schedule at the workplace can be packed. With nearly two dozen factories that HCCB operates, there is a never-ending need for training people for various leadership skills. Despite that schedule, Arun can be found performing at various Sufi shrines at different locations. If he needs to travel, he makes sure that he plans his job well to be found at the right place on the days when important events are scheduled.
Nearly 30 years after she formally learnt music, Jyoti has again started her riyaaz. Invites from various places have got her busy, with bands and groups wanting her to be a part of their plans. She still has the notebook with songs written in her own hand from her school years. The genes have passed on to the next generations as her daughter is a budding western music vocalist and son is a drummer. Arun is busy managing his schedule so that he can attend more and more Sufi festivals, during the winter months at popular north India locations on weekends.
Helping HCCB make beverages that make millions happy may be one way to achieve satisfaction. Hearing Jyoti and Arun sing some of your favourite numbers, across different genres of music, could be joy of a different kind.