Stringing memories together

Stringing memories together
This picture was taken in 2001 at one of the hotels in Bengaluru, when our band ‘Antaragni’ won the ‘Best Band in Bangalore’ award, given by Radiocity Live.

Seen in the picture is myself along with the initial members of the band — Manoj George and H N Bhaskar. The band was started by Bhaskar and myself in Mysuru before I moved to Bengaluru. Manoj joined us much later. We played and performed together as a band, till it was disbanded in 2003. But we continued to stay in touch.

Manoj played the Western classical violin, Bhaskar played the Carnatic classical violin and I was the acoustic guitarist and singer of the band. Manoj is a brilliant musician and today, he is one among the most sought-after violinists in Bengaluru. We have had our differences but we continue to be good friends. Bhaskar is the first-ever musician with whom I collaborated. He is like a composition-collaborator for me even to this day. I look up to him for feedback and suggestions and turn to him whenever I get stuck. No matter which part of the world he may be in, he continues to be a big support for me.

I spent a better part of my growing up years in Mysuru. I did my schooling from Balodyana English School in Jayanagar, Mysuru and completed my pre-university from Mahajana Pre-University College. I joined Yuvaraja College for my degree course and completed my masters from Manasagangotri, Mysore University. I am a trained bharathanatyam dancer and began learning music at the age of 20. I discovered that I also had a talent in music and singing in college and I worked to strengthen it. I am largely a self-taught musician.

I moved to Bengaluru after I completed my masters in microbiology and got a job at the Clinical Management Centre at Smithkline Beecham. When I first moved here, the dotcom boom had just started and there were many dotcom companies here. The internet was a fascinating thing back then and it was a privilege to have internet access, just as it was considered prestigious to own a black and white television set much earlier.

We would enjoy spending our time at ‘Koshy’s’ which used to be a favourite meeting place for dancers, musicians, painters and advertising professionals. Java City, then located on Church Street, was frequented by musicians. I had started working on composing jingles by then, and I would meet my clients there because I didn’t have an office space. I got my first break when we were asked to open for the Bryan Adams concert. That concert changed a lot of things for me. I quit my job to pursue my passion for music.

The once quiet and calm city, Bengaluru has changed over the years, and sometimes I wonder if I was asleep while Bengaluru was growing and extending itself like an amoeba. I think we are all responsible for the drastic climate change in the city.  
But on the brighter side, Bengaluru has now become a melting pot of different cultures. There’s an audience for every kind of music and the city is supportive of original music and independent artistes.

Raghu Dixit (As told to Nina C George)

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