New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) At a time when campus recruitments are seriously hit, youngsters, especially from the northeast, are crooning their way into jobs as professional singers in pubs and restaurants in the capital and getting a good deal out of it.
Many may say that entertaining people while they eat and drink, with hardly any appreciation, is not their cup of tea, but it's not a deterrent for these talented youngsters who would rather hum a tune than serve food for their pocket money.
'As long as it's something I enjoy doing, why should anything be a deterrent? And it's not that people don't acknowledge your singing. Some sing along with you, some dance, while a few others come up and actually compliment you,' Anne Pariat, who hails from Meghalaya and has been singing in pubs and restaurants in Delhi for the last six months, told IANS.
Agreed Kamlesh Bhatia, manager of Beats, a pub in south Delhi: 'We have got a very good response after we have had live performances by some young singers. People don't want to simply listen to pre-recorded songs played by DJs.
'A live performance sets the mood of a place and if the singer is interactive enough, it can set the house on fire!'
Retracing her journey, Pariat, an undergraduate student in Delhi University, said that she had started learning western classical music since she was five, but she got into professional singing quite by chance.
'Once I had gone to a karaoke bar with my friends and sang to the tunes of some old pre-recorded tunes for nearly an hour. After we came out, a person came up to me and asked if I would like to sing at his yet to be opened restaurant in Connaught Place for a good stipend.
'Although I said no at that time, at the persuasion of my friends I decided later to give it a shot and have not regretted it. It's a part time job, it fetches me good enough money so that I don't have to ask my parents for any more,' Pariat said after one of her gigs in a central Delhi restaurant.
Danny Philips, another part-time professional singer and guitarist, said that instead of doing odd jobs for pocket money, this was much better.
'This is so much better than working in a fast food snack bar like McDonald's. Here you get paid decently for doing something that you like doing,' said Philips, who is also pursuing his graduation through correspondence.
'Of course, unlike a part time job in a restaurant which many college students opt for, this doesn't give you a regular pay cheque. It's all on the basis of contacts. The better your contacts, the more the offers you get,' he added.
According to Suryaveer Hooja, a Delhi based 23-year-old who croons in public places as a full time professional singer, one can take home quite a good pay packet depending on his or her experience and contacts in the circle.
'Unlike popular perception, singing can be an economically viable option, provided it is taken up seriously and treated just like any other job,' Hooja said.
Having been trained to play the keyboard in the Delhi School of Music and Hindustani Classical Music (vocals) at the Prayag Samiti affiliated to Allahabad University, Hooja has been practising music as a profession and giving public performances for the last five years.
'There is no fixed scale of earning in this profession because it's very difficult to compare artists. But even without any music album to one's credit, one can earn anything between Rs.30,000 and Rs.300,000 a month,' he said.
He however added that this trend of singing part time is still in its nascent stage here.
'You don't see many Delhi youngsters take up music professionally, probably because they still feel that it's not a safe career path. Also, most parents would rather have their kids do an MBA or MBBS.
'But a lot of youngsters from Goa and the northeast are coming into this field and doing well for themselves.'
(Azera Rahman can be contacted at email@example.com)