My Story: They weren’t ready to pay him his stipend even after promising to. They told him that his ‘shawl of honor’ was his payment

“I come from a highly educated family. Unfortunately, that means everyone had more expectations from me than I could ever live up to. But it was never really a choice for me. Music was my calling.

Like every other college student–– I was in the phase where I didn’t even understand Indian classical music. One evening, one of my friends invited me to watch her father’s performance at an auditorium, I accompanied her for the curiosity of it. During his performance I watched him slip into his own world with the Sarod. I felt like I was watching an age-old guru in his cave, meditating… detached from the world and entering another. I was bound by it the entire time.

When the show ended we all cheered for the artist and they honored him with a shawl and flowers. I finally snapped back to reality, but a piece of me remained attached to those tunes. We went backstage with my friend to congratulate him, I heard him argue with the organizers of the show… They weren’t ready to pay him his stipend even after promising to. They told him that his ‘shawl of honor’ was his payment. That’s it. And this wasn’t the first time it had happened. Imagine someone’s talent being so mistreated like that! It was troubling.

I decided that from then on I was going to bring classical music to a point everyone appreciates the value behind it. Where everyone can start believing in the talent of musicians just like how we appreciate the talent of actors in Bollywood.

So far, I’ve worked with exceptional artists and creating tunes from the most famous Hollywood movies like Inception, Pirates of the Carribean, Sherlock with classical instruments, just so people could get more pumped up when it comes to classical music.
And guess what? Clint Mansell, the award-winning composer reposted my work! Isn’t that what it’s all about? All artists’ need is their hard work to be understood and appreciated. Just this repost has done so much for me… Imagine, how far all of us musicians can go if we could be given more than just a shawl and a few flowers?”

Tushar Lal

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