Divina Bajpai On Creating India’s Only All-Girl Instrumental Duo & Balancing Karma By Teaching Music
- IWB Post
- January 10, 2019
Right from harmony to chaos and everything in between, if there is an art form that has fathomed it all, it has to be music.
Whosoever talks about the human failure at building a time machine, clearly doesn’t know about the power of music. For instance, every single time I listen to Working On a Dream by Bruce Springsteen, I am immediately carried off to an empty and dew-smeared December morning road, wrapped in dense fog, being trodden by a determined heart. If you ever have to revisit a memory, nothing works as well as music, not even photographs.
A part of me, in fact, doubts that it is music that keeps the heart reeling in pain, years after a breakup, conjuring the face that you once loved dearly, every time you listen to a tune from the heady days of love.
For 24-year-old Divina, “There exists nothing comparable to what music can make you feel.” She gives me the example of the background score in the film Interstellar. She says, “It has the power to express an emotion that words fail at expressing.”
For her, music is synonymous with life, her vocation, and her solace. She has been formally trained in Western Classical but it’s instrumental music that really transcribes her soul.
Divina, who can play more than eight instruments today, shares with me the inception of her musical journey. “I was a very fidgety child and quite a handful to take care of,” she recollects and then adds, “My parents enrolled me in a number of classes including karate, singing, music, etc. You won’t believe that I managed to piss every single one of my teachers except the piano one.”
Both her parents and her piano teacher recognised that Divina had a gift for the instrument, and thus the classes continued. She shares with me how the instrument grew on her, “While most of us think that music is essentially artistic, it is very scientific as well. Imagine while playing the piano you are doing two different things from your hands, your foot is managing the pedal and you are also reading the scores at the same go. I think it challenges the human body holistically. Thus, it is the technical aspect of the piano that had me hooked to it.”
“My parents are heavily into listening to music and thus have enriched my life with it. But, yes, choosing it as a profession kinda still worries them,” shares Divina, who comes from a defense background. Almost everyone in her family has either an engineering degree or a Ph.D. and therefore it took her great courage to tell her parents that she wanted to choose a different path.
While pursuing her English Honors from LSR, she played an instrumental role in starting the LSR orchestra. It was during her time at the college that she realized “the need of preserving her music” and this is how she mustered up the courage to tell her parents that music is her true calling and she wants to pursue her passion as a career.
From there to having her own music company today, where she and a group of other like-minded women musicians have taken up the task of imparting the gift of music, Divina sure has come a long way.
It was during one of her musical pursuits that she met Ritu, a violinist. Their musical souls immediately clicked and scores of jamming sessions later, 21 Nocturne Alley, India’s only all-girl instrumental duo, was born.
“There are few musicians who just connect with you and that is how it is with Ritu and me,” says Divina. Talking about the duo, she further adds, “Piano and violin complement each other really well and thus with our music we build each other up.”
The idea of a band that majorly focusses on instrumental music struck me as quite eccentric and I had to ask Divina about the reception. She told me “We never thought that it would work but people are very fascinated with what we are creating.”
She accredits this to the current music scenario in the country as she says, “The independent artist scene in the country is very strong right now. The music scenario currently is providing them with the courage of doing all that they didn’t have the courage to do before.”
Her company The Get Music Initiative is working on “music education and music awareness.” Divina herself thoroughly loves teaching music. She has been doing the same since her college days.
Telling me about her love for teaching, she says, “You know how all of us have that one constant person in life, be it our parents, grandparents or siblings, to whom we always look up to and confide in? For me, it has always been my music teachers. I feel so blessed for being trained by so many brilliant teachers. Teaching is my way of giving back to the world all that I have been bestowed with.”
She adds, “If you have some really good teachers in your life you’d associate with what I am talking about. You always look up to them, aspire to be like them and even make career decisions inspired by them. Also, a good education is what we are in a dearth of today and that’s how I feel all the way more responsible for the same. It is like doing my bit for the world. I, in a way, try to keep my karma points intact by teaching (laughs).”
First published on June 23, 2018.