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Anthem high for Tripura girl - Singer to render Jana gana mana before South Africa one-dayers

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OUR BUREAU Published 22.11.06, 12:00 AM

Silchar/Agartala, Nov. 21: Just before India and South Africa take the field for the second one-day International at Durban on Wednesday, the Northeast will have already emerged a winner!

Monali Shome, a 30-year-old singer from Tripura and married to a Silchar engineer, will lead a group of singers in rendering the Indian national anthem before the start of the match.

Monali’s group — the Johannesburg-based Drisha Music School — has been selected by the South African United Cricket Board to sing Jana gana mana before every match.

However, Monali’s — and the region’s — tryst with international fame was delayed as the first one-dayer was washed off on Sunday due to rain.

Monali moved to South Africa with her husband where he works as a chemical engineer. She now runs a school of Indian music in Johannesburg.

In the secluded serenity of her home at Dhaleswar on the eastern outskirts of Agartala, Monali’s mother Gita Bhowmik fondly recounted how she had taught Monali, the youngest of her four children, the basics of music. “I am really happy that Monali will be singing the national anthem in South Africa. It is a great honour for the entire family and her father would have been very proud indeed, had he been alive today,” said Bhowmik, a retired headmistress. Monali’s father Jitendra Bhowmik, an assistant settlement officer, passed away on October 28 last year.

“She had evinced keen interest in music from childhood and while at school her father had engaged two music tutors, Rabi Nag and Ranjit Ghosh, to teach her classical music and Nazrulgeeti,” she said.

Monali did fairly well in school, securing first division marks in both Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations and then graduated from Bethune College in Calcutta. She continued her music lessons all along and also obtained a BMus degree.

“After graduation, Monali returned to Agartala to do an MA in English Literature from Tripura University and was studying for an MMus degree but got married to Debojit Shome from Silchar,” her mother recounted.

After staying in Pune for a while, the couple shifted to South Africa after Monali’s husband got a job in Johannesburg. “She pursues her musical interests even now, teaching music to Indian children there,” said Bhowmik.

Monali’s in-laws’ house in Silchar, just off the National Highway, is also agog with enthusiasm as the daughter-in-law gears up for her tryst with the musical big league.

Monali’s parents-in-law, Ajit Kumar Shome, a retired executive engineer of the state PWD, and Manju are all praise for their daughter-in-law, who they said was the repository of “immense musical talent”.

After Voice of India Debojit Saha, this daughter-in-law from Silchar is sure to carve out a place under the sun.

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