Some Drum Glory

One day in 2010, a girl in pigtails and a skinny school boy sat in his room, watching their favourite TV show, ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’. She went downstairs to get something to drink, and when she came back up, he was holding up a big wide smile and 2 drumsticks.  He happily told her all about how he had borrowed them from someone, and for the next hour they practised drumming on his pillows.

That day in 2010, I left for home, thinking to myself,  me and my friend were the coolest kids on the block. Little did I know, today six years later, my under-confident shy friend would turn into this bad-ass drummer. My fifth feature on Re-Engineer Yourself is about a self-taught, self-inspired, aspiring musician. His one regret? B.E.

Now here is something different from my other features. Most people who take up a main stream course, take it up for one of these three reasons.

  1. Short-cut to a comfortable life with easy money.
  2. Parents, relatives, cousins, friends , everybody seems to think it’s the right step after 12th.
  3. No clue about what to do with life.

Harish Venkatraman, did not care about making a lot of money, his parents or friends didn’t influence him, and he knew when he was fifteen that he wanted to be a musician. Ask him why he is a B.E student despite knowing it wasn’t the best option for him, he says,

“Engineering is the most misunderstood topic of discussion. By itself, it is an interesting field with lots of potential and has created a lot of jobs in this country. When was the last time your parents told you to be an engineer so you can change the world? Can’t remember? It’s always been “Become an engineer so you can make money.”

Anyway, it definitely isn’t my cup of tea and it was too late before I realised that. My parents didn’t force me. I was just too afraid of swimming against the current when I decided to study Computer Science Engineering.”

Everyone I talk to seems to say the same thing. That they were too afraid to do anything else, they didn’t know how to, or they didn’t have the support. Ironically, I’m guilty of the same. But I couldn’t help but ask him, why he did not choose a course related to music. Here’s where the problem gets real. He said,

“There’s no job security in music. No yearly bonus. No monthly salary. These are all the things that Indian society judges you by. And this is why it’s so hard to do what you really want.

Also, commitment and studies aside, there is another problem. Live music is dying. People would rather spend a thousand bucks and go to parties to listen to DJs play unoriginal music than go to a concert to see real musicians playing their instruments. Any kind of musician. Classical, rock, metal.”

This reply answered a lot of questions for me. People don’t choose creative fields because there’s no ‘Guarantee’Nobody ever tells a drummer, you will be paid four lakhs an annum come what may.

And yet, knowing all the challenges that exist, after weighing out the pros and cons, Harish seems to have decided to finish what he started and become a full-time musician after his B.E…

“When I get behind the kit, every other worldly sound is muted off. This is my way of saying ‘screw you’ to everything that’s wrong with the society because it’s unconventional and it is honest work. You’re good at it only if you’re good at it. My world is just a semicircle of 5-foot radius.”

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Harish Venkatraman – Musician by choice, B.E by rule.

A self taught drummer, who doesn’t even own a drum kit, is today part of a popular band called ‘We’ll Decide on Wednesday’.

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 Here is a link to some of their amazing gigs and updates. https://www.facebook.com/welldecideonwed

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You can get in touch with Harish here at, www.facebook.com/AskAshiBlog .

We all have dreams and some things always get in the way. But this feature taught me, and I hope it taught you this simple life lesson.

When obstacles arise in our path to our goal, we’ve gotta change our direction to reach it, not our decision. 

Next week on Re-Engineer Yourself, a budding beat boxer from Bengaluru will reveal ‘The Fear of Year-Backs’. B.E students will get this. Lol.

Until then, remember, it’s never too late to Re-Engineer! 🙂

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