Stories serve so many purposes in our lives. Stories are about so much more than just reading or listening. Stories make us understand Humans.
Let’s hear Sumit Anand and understand, what made him quit his Marketing career and turn towards Indian classical music? A story of courage to pursue one’s dreams.
Watch the complete video here: Kahani Café with Mr. Sumeet Anand
Welcome. It’s been a pleasure to invite you to our program, Kahani Café. This is a program where we aim to collect real stories from real people.
Welcome to the show. Could you start off by telling us about your journey and the learnings you have gained from your life so far?
Thank you very much for inviting me to this interesting talk. For me, life learnings are simple. Part of which came in the last ten years when I decided to quit my full-time corporate job and pursue my passion for music, specifically North Indian classical music and the ancient style of music.
I realized it’s important to learn what you want to do and what you’re meant to do, and as soon as you know it, devote your time and energy to it. Life is short, so if you’re lucky, you find out what you want to do and then stick to it. Don’t waste time.
We started off on a heavy note.
So that’s a really good life lesson to start off with. Can you give us a little background on where you come from, what you were doing, and how you got to where you are now?
I come from a music family in Bihar. We have many music traditions in Bihar, one of which is the Dabanga tradition of Rupert, an ancient one that goes back a few centuries. I was born in a music family and was blessed to have both my grandparents as musicians, especially my grandfather, who was a renowned vocalist of the Amthaari tradition. However, when I was growing up, all the music that I got exposed to and received training in was in a playful manner. I was never trained to become a professional. I was not discouraged from learning music, but also not really encouraged to take it up as a profession.
So, education took the front seat and music became a hobby, especially after board exams, college and deciding on a career path. I came to Delhi for my graduation and then did my MBA in Pune and then worked in a corporate job. But around that time, I got drawn to music again. Part of it was because of listening to a lot of classical music on YouTube and other platforms. That’s when I decided to study and pursue music more seriously. I still didn’t know if I would become a professional. So I came back to Delhi, started learning with my current teacher, Abhinaran Malik, a stalwart in the tradition, around 14-15 years ago. After a few years with him, I realized that it’s not a weekend hobby if I wanted to take it seriously, so I quit my job and took the plunge.
It’s very interesting that you started off with a traditional, conventional life path like college, MBA, and then a corporate life, and then you decided to take a plunge into what may be considered an unconventional territory, especially in a traditional Indian setup. What would you say was the tipping point in your life that made you decide to take this step?
Good question. I was getting a little stuck in my musical journey. The way I was training under my guru, I met him in 2007 and soon after I started with him, he accepted me. He said, “Okay, fine. I know you come from a musical family and have the basic requirements in terms of talent and everything musically that one should have.
It all then boils down to the hard work that you are ready to put in and patience.” It’s a slow process that takes time. After four to five years with him, I realized that the kind of progress I should have made wasn’t really