New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) His mother was unhappy with his decision to sing professionally for a rock band. Many years down the line, Palash Sen, a qualified medical professional, is a household name as the lead singer of Euphoria.
Like him, scores of youngsters in Delhi today want to make a career out of music by forming their own rock groups or joining the numerous ones that have mushroomed in the city.
Gaurav Balani, a guitarist with the band Crimson, says there are approximately 80 Western music bands in Delhi and its surrounding areas, out of which around 40 perform regularly.
'Delhi had reached a saturation point as far as the kind of music that was being heard was concerned. Times have changed and people have begun to accept all sorts of genres nowadays. People have become more open-minded,' he said.
Institutions that teach Western music and give a good grounding to students have also contributed to the trend.
According to Jaspal Singh, deputy head, Delhi School of Music, which teaches Western classical, around 500 to 550 students enrol themselves at his institute.
'Some students just take up music as a hobby, while some are serious about it and pursue it as a career option. Eventually they form their own bands,' Singh told IANS.
The most preferred instruments that students wish to learn are the piano, keyboard, drums, guitar and violin, said Singh.
The same can be observed at the Gurgaon School of Music, which teaches Western as well as contemporary music.
'We have the maximum students coming to learn the guitar, followed by the keyboard,' said Ruhi, an administrator at the school. 'We have a total strength of more than 400 students at our school,' she said.
There are several others like the Parikrama School of Music and the Pioneer School of Music.
Palash of Hindi rock band Euphoria told IANS on phone from Mumbai: 'Music was my passion and it became my hobby. Although I did study medicine to be a doctor, I gradually took up music professionally. Today, I can proudly say that I am a professional in both the areas, but trust me it is not easy.'
Even Palash's mother was unhappy with his decision. 'My mother had a problem with my choice of taking up music professionally. She always felt that showbiz was not a respectable job but today when I have marked my presence, she has no hassles about it.'
Some believe that given the hectic lifestyle of today, music helps relieve stress and is a fluid form of expression for them.
Aditi Singh Sharma, vocalist for Level 9, a soft rock band formed by a group of friends, said: 'With the help of music I am able to express myself to the fullest and I love connecting with the audience.'
Expressing his passion for music, Nikhil Mawkin, a student who studies music at the Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts, said: 'I love music and since I have been able to pursue it as a career, I think that is the best that ever happened.'
Rock group members and musicians who have made it say talent definitely matters.
'Ideally, a person should have the talent first. It does make you feel on top of the world when you sing for an audience of 10,000 people, but, yes, all that does not come until the person is a learned singer,' said Subir Malik, keyboard player and manager of popular band Parikrama.
Subir, who was among the judges for the recently conducted talent hunt 'RC Live' by Radio City 91.1 FM to scout for India's best Hindi Band, advises that young talented singers should concentrate on singing in Hindi, as the masses would be able to connect to them in a better way.
Success doesn't come easily to every aspiring musician. 'A band has to make it big in the industry to earn well. Only a few known bands like Them Clones and Parikrama earn well by playing music.
'Playing for my band gives me part-time income. I have my college to attend and what ever I am able to earn is good enough to take care of my pocket money.'
Interestingly, parents have become more supportive of their children's decision to pursue music professionally.
Veena, Gaurav's mother, said: 'When he started playing music, I thought he was giving away his future. But now when he is well established in the field, and earns well, I am proud of him.'ALSO READ: Vidya Balan recalls facing career warnings for 'The Dirty Picture'