'My life is a meditation'

On spiritual path

Dressed simply, sporting a perennial dimpled smile, Kailash Kher walks into the room, on the way, greeting everyone, from fans, technicians to producers.

He breezes into the venue where he’s about to judge musicians for a reality show. He is offered tea, which he refuses. “I don't drink, tea or coffee, and I am a strict vegetarian many are surprised, as all my band members booze and smoke. Mujhme to parmatma ne permanent dope bhar diya hai (God has filled me with dope permanently). Somebody had asked me if I still meditated? And I said, for me, life is a meditation.”

He recounts his early days as a struggling singer, “I grew up in Delhi, where my dad was a temple priest, they used to sing bhajans at home, and I was very curious. So at the age of four, my informal training began. By fourteen I left home to pursue music more seriously. But to sustain myself, I ended up taking a lot of odd jobs, including teaching music, but didn't end up learning music. Finally, I started business, which flopped, and we lost everything. I went into a sort of depression. But something in me kept me moving from inside. That's when I decided to move to Mumbai.”

But his struggles had barely begun. “I went from studio to studio, with my song recordings, and was turned down by stiff necked MBAs who said, ‘It’s good but nothing special’. My break finally came when I did a tarana for the Nakshatra ad, and of course, the Allah ke Bande song. Ever since I’ve sung scores of jingles and did playback for films, but my album production went at a very slow pace. Finally, now after two albums, I feel things are moving in that direction too.”

Speaking about his latest album, he says, “This album is called Chaandan and it is about love, romance and longing. Love is with longing, and that longing is not out of frustration, but out of celebration, so the album is romance between the instruments, and the song is just a by-product.”

Kailash these days is also busy judging reality shows. He enjoyed being the judge of kids’ singing competition aired recently.

“At that young age, kids have no ego or inhibition, and the music flows through them like river, it’s only as we grow older that we become conditioned.”

He goes on to talk about Michael Jackson’s tragic death. “Souls like his are one in a million, while he was here, he influenced millions, but maybe the divine needs him more than we did.”

Finally, he talks about Bangalore, “Every musicians kisses the soil of this land, where Carnatic music has originated. It is a temple of music, some of the best musicians come from here, and I won’t be surprised if the next Desi Rockstar is from this City.”
He parts after singing two lines from his famous track,’ Saaiyaan’, and the chaos in the background seizes, and everyone listens spellbound. Maybe, this is what he means by meditation.

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