Songs of life

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By Singer-songwriter Anupam Roy’s world turned around after he found his true calling in music; Pic by Bhubaneswarananda Halder
  • Published 1.04.12
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All through school, I thought that I’d follow in my father’s footsteps and become a doctor. That changed in 1998, when, in Class XI, I took tuition classes in math and physics from a teacher named Mr Burman. Besides coaching me in the subjects, he influenced me so much that I changed tracks and decided to become an engineer instead. This marked the first major turning point in my life. I slogged for a couple of years, cracked the engineering entrance exams and got a chance to study electronics engineering in Jadavpur University.

The second bend in the road came when I joined American company Texas Instruments in 2004, and shifted from Calcutta to Bangalore. The move brought with it the experience of living away from home and I started to grow as a person. I spent a lot of time introspecting and began to understand what I wanted from life. I realised that I didn’t want the job, I wanted to do something else. I’d been writing Bengali songs from the time I was in school — and so I went on a song-writing spree where loneliness and homecoming were recurrent themes.

I also met a number of people with whom I discussed my songs, writing and singing skills. Samit Roy, a visual artist and poet, was one of them. He introduced me to parallel Bengali literature and the Bengali magazine, Kaurab, which familiarised me with modern Bengali poetry. I also met Ranjan Ghoshal, a former member of the famous Bangla band, Mohiner Ghoraguli. This was another turning point because he told me how to improve my skills. It was in his house that I met director Srijit Mukherji, who was then involved in Bengali theatre. We became friends — he liked my music, and I would watch his plays. I even sat behind the counter and sold tickets for his plays.

What proved to be another important turning point was when Srijit selected two songs I had written for his film, Autograph. I even sang one of these songs — Amake Amar Moto Thaakte Dao. The people of Bengal liked these songs and that brought me back to Calcutta. I am now doing exactly what I wanted to do in life.

(As told to Shreya Shukla)