Prolific Sound Engineer, artist par excellence. One of the brightest minds in India and the world in his field - is no more. He breathed his last this morning.
Though I have run into him several times, said the HI-s and Hello-s it was only recently that he spent a few hours of on different occasions with me.
The "upcoming" is a very tough place to be. The path is arduous and there are definitely a lot of things and instances that don't make the journey easy at all. As a child I have heard elders talking about the insults that musicians (who have later gone on to become doyens) used to go under the 'guise' if I daresay now, of learning, in olden days, the amount of hardships, the harshest of words that people have had to swallow, the varied experiences that almost always threaten to crush the spirit, enough and more people telling you that you are not good enough.
Anyway, no one has a red carpet rolled out, especially if you have some capacity in you. There are spectacular times and there are very tough times.
I went through a phase, when self doubt overcame me, due to various external triggers that I was at this stage where I started questioning everything I did. Worry was the only thing that consumed me. I questioned every note that came out of me. And let me tell you its like a black hole that consumes you.
I have met varied kinds of people. I treasure but a handful. One of them were Sridhar sir.
You could have known someone for years, but just exchanged the courtesies. But there are times when a certain short period of time can leave an indelible mark.
I never really got to know Sridhar Sir, as I said, until a few months ago. A time when my spirit was near crushed.
One of the days, I happened to start talking to him. He seemed to be having the time. He was lighting up a cigarette, I was audacious enough to ask him to kill it, which he did, after giving me a look in mock anger, and I started out asking about how to sing better, on managing headphones, stage performances and so many other things. And somewhere I spilled the beans saying I am worried about where I was and I had reached this point where I thought "should I be singing at all?" .. though I did not say the very same words, he quickly saw through that. And every time that I met him thereafter, maybe 3-4 times in all, he made sure he spent at least an hour, spoke to me, told me about "good days" and "bad days" and what to do. The point is he only told me the what-to-dos. Not the what-nots. I guess I was already overdoing it.
He said he went through self doubt as well and that its good to take that lane once in a while, but we need to come back to the main road and go about doing what needs to be done to accomplish our goals. And without my knowing, he brought me back to the nicer world and leave the foggy one that I had created. And in the times that followed we ran into each other, he was tuned in enough to notice the changes happening and said that the light was returning to my eyes. That I had started smiling again. Or rather my eyes were smiling now. As they used to.
I had just gotten lucky enough to be pep-talked by him. There were fun times too earlier when the topic came about finding the right guy. It was one of the most hilarious conversations of my life. This morning, I happened to call a common acquaintance for a follow-up and that was when this friend broke the news, after quite a long pause. "WHAT?" was my response... and "How come..." I was sobbed all the way home, called mom as well and told her.
On the drive to his residence, I replayed all the things he had said to me, one by one. Tried to remember smaller details. After paying our respects and on the drive back, I kept mulling over all that he said to me.
His work will live on for ages which goes without recording it here and he will be sorely missed by the industry. But the one thing that keeps coming back to me, is that so many people are now deprived of his wisdom, interspersed with his trademark laughter and wit..... so many youngsters.. could have thrived under some timely guidance which could probably come only from him .
I had the good fortune to spend some time with this gentleman. Wish I had had more.
Sridhar Sir, You should not have left. Not ever. But at least, not yet.