“As a five year old wanting to learn music, my goal was to become the next Ustad Zakir Hussain. My first guru, Dr. Nisha Joshi, believed in teaching a combination of tablā, vocal, and harmonium. As time went on, and I started learning RāgaSangīt at my mother’s encouragement, my desire to study vocal music took an unprecedented leap. That is when I met Guruji (Arijit Mahalanabis). Guruji used very unconventional methods to teach me, and despite my struggles with vocal music, encouraged me to keep up my other instruments and helped me become a better instrumentalist as well. With Guruji, I have had the opportunity to accompany some of India’s greatest musicians, and my love for the music has grown exponentially. Living and learning with Guruji has also opened my eyes to the vastness of Indian culture and its musical heritage, and how much it has to offer. Along with receiving guidance from Guruji, I have been extremely fortunate to receive guidance from Aditi Kaikini Upadhya, who has helped me get in touch with my voice, and continues to shape my musical thinking. Additionally, music has enabled me to rediscover and remain connected to my Indian roots. In the end, music makes me who I am. It is my identity, and I cannot imagine a life without it.
I am currently a sophomore at Bellevue College in Bellevue, Washington. I am working towards my Transfers Associates degree in Arts and Sciences, and plan to join Penn State University as a Cultural Anthropology major. At SIMA, I conduct classes on tāla and laya, and its applications to vocal music. I also teach basic instrumental techniques related to the tabla and harmonium.”