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Busking for kindness

Wearing an animal mask, Shivani plays melodica on Church Street and appeals for empathy towards animals and the elderly
Last Updated : 19 October 2022, 07:43 IST
Last Updated : 19 October 2022, 07:43 IST
Last Updated : 19 October 2022, 07:43 IST
Last Updated : 19 October 2022, 07:43 IST

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A busker by the moniker of ‘Music Animal’ gets people flocking to Church Street curious.

She can be spotted on the footpath on most weekends, wearing an animal mask and playing a keyboard-like instrument by blowing air into it with a mouthpiece. She is flanked by hand-written appeals to be compassionate to elders and animals.

Her name is Shivani (second name withheld on request). She moved to Bengaluru from Shivamogga in 2002 and currently lives in Srinagar. She does multiple jobs like binding work, data typing and music teaching. She has been busking for over two years for additional income and also to promote social causes, she told Metrolife.

“My mother, a single parent, taught me to respect elders early on in life. When I was young, she gave shelter to an old woman who was about to kill herself as her family had abandoned her. But her son realised the mistake and took her back,” Shivani, 42, recalls.

Her mother also took care of abandoned animals until she passed away in 2017. Now Shivani says she lives with eight dogs in her house. “Since I have to look after them, I can’t take up full-time jobs and stay outside for hours. That’s why I do temporary jobs,” says Shivani, who is trained in Carnatic classical music.

She plays melodica (the keyboard-like instrument) on Church Street because it is easy to carry on the metro and bus. ”I would need to hire an autorickshaw to bring the harmonium to Church Street, which is why I don’t,” she explains. Her repertoire includes “old, melodious Hindi and Kannada film songs”. “I get many requests to play ‘Jeena Yahan Marna Yahan’,” she informs.

People also enquire about her orange and white mask. “Everybody thinks it looks like a fox but I see a dog’s face in it (sic). When I went looking for a dog mask, everything looked scary but I found this cute,” she signs off.

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Published 18 October 2022, 21:03 IST

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