The first time I sang in public

25 Jun

The first time I sang in public


I remember waking up every morning to the sound of my very musical mother singing hymns and not at all musical dad’s reciting prayers pretty tunefully while at other times the All India Radio or a tape recorder hummed at home. Mother was then a music teacher, she sang beautifully and dad was equally inartistic in every manner, rustic and bookish. I liked music but I guess I was born tune deaf though I heard people say I had a good voice. It was a torture to sing for the compulsory music class, all through middle school I worked on the music teacher by becoming her pet to let me sing to her in the private. At home students came to learn devotional singing from mother, she was pretty embarrassed by me though she’ll not admit. I tried to sing a few times at the church it was out rightly bad.

Years went by I would listen to music but would never dare utter a word, rarely did I sang in the bathroom. Parents never liked my addiction to listening to music they thought time could be better spent studying. I remember it was the final year at the college we were competing in the inter college youth festival. I had won almost all debates and public speaking contests. Last day was cultural evening students could sign up for solo song and solo dance competitions. I have no clue what came upon me and I signed up for singing a song that I had heard only once in my life and had never practiced. May be it was the confidence of winning every other contest or what I have no recollection.

On my turn I instructed the band to play the number and I’ll pick it up from there, as if I had been singing all my life. The opening notes were perfect, I used all my might along with my breath by the time it was time to sing the stanza I was not only out of breath but tune, notes and everything musical in between. The dud was obvious but I was no quitter. The louder the audience booed the shriller I became. Guys were restless ready to throw chairs at me as they had nothing else to throw. I was calculating if a chair came at me how far I could jump and beat crap out of him. In all that cacophony far in the back I saw a guy dancing to the beat and moving towards the stage. He was the son of our family friends who knew me well and I guess had read my mind. His dance distracted the audience and few others followed him dancing to the stage as I completed the song. I think may be I am an accidental “no quitter” because the fact is I do not know when and how to quit but quit I did my public singing thereafter.


This is an old piece from a creative non fiction writing class. Till date DG has no clue what she was thinking when she sang in the public. If anyone has any idea please pitch in. Hope 2016 is treating you all well. Still here, will be back soon to kick some rubble.

11 Responses to “The first time I sang in public”

  1. Anju Gandhi July 14, 2016 at p07 #

    Loved your post dear.I m reminded of my school days when I low wanted to join a signing troupe. At the time of auditions the teacher asked me” ooncha sur lagao”
    And I kept on raising my voice😁
    Obviously I was not selected
    DG dear you are a great motivator.
    Reading your post I thought I must restart my blog
    Thanks for your motivation.

    @Anju Gandhi,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Yes, please start blogging once again. Miss those days when we all were active on blogging scene.
    Let us bring those times back again.
    Desi Girl


  2. Julia July 14, 2016 at p07 #

    I don’t think I would have had the guts. I love to sing when I was younger but my mom and my brother always told me I didn’t have a nice voice, so I just stopped. Now my husband thinks I sing well because I defintely can keep a tune.

    I like the thought of you just belting out with no regards for how other’s took it and enjoying yourself.


    • girlsguidetosurvival July 14, 2016 at p07 #


      Welcome back to GGTS, a safe space.
      I don’t think I was enjoying singing. It was just that I started it so I had to bring it to an end.
      Singing is the most natural thing I hear from folk wisdom yet not everyone can sing. Sing sing for your beloved and sing for your babies…
      Let us all sing a song of joy…
      Desi Girl


  3. Huzaifa Pandit July 5, 2016 at p07 #

    Good post DG 🙂 after a long time, though. Good to see you back. It reminded me of a radio show I heard years back in which the RJ signed up to sing a Hindi song at a college festival, on the spur of the moment. But the song he chose was the immensely difficult: madhuban main radhika nachay re. Needless to say the audience wasn’t amused and he had to make a quick exit.


    • girlsguidetosurvival July 5, 2016 at p07 #

      @Huzaifa Pandit,
      Welcome back to GGTS, a safe space.
      Yes, indeed a longtime.
      DG was sure she won’t be the only one. “…many before more and many after me” will do this.
      At least he made a quick exit DG stood the ground.
      Your anecdote reminds DG how she ended up in this situation.
      An year before this she tried her hand at singing “Mand,” it is a classical genre of Marwari folk at the National Basic Leadership Camp in Santiniketan (WB). The Rajasthan contingent of 20 had no competent solo singer so DG had to step up to the occasion to prevent disqualification of the team. She did horrible job as usual but no one booed her out as NCC cadets are monitored for discipline and sportsmanship. That gave her this confidence to go and do what she did at the inter college competition.
      What was she thinking?
      Hailing from Marwar does not maketh a Mand singer.


  4. rizwanmoor June 26, 2016 at p06 #

    They played the Canadian anthem everyday in Elementary. I was the only kid, of the 28 in my class who would sing along. I was so bad, eventually my teacher told me to stop.

    I’ve barely sung since. But am now going to take lessons, as singing is part of the audition for acting school. I believe with practice, I will succeed.

    Your time will come. Music is inside all of us. You, me, dare I even say your seemingly non-musical father? It’s only a matter of practice, breathing, and having fun.

    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Yes, we all have music in us, DG has little too much in her she just contains it coz’ she doesn’t want to be labelled people or music killer.
    Sometimes teachers have to make hard decisions. 🙂 Even DG took lessons, the anglo friends in the Indian classical singing class passed and DG flunked. It was a blow to the professor’s ego, he claimed he could teach anyone singing.
    Good luck with your lessons.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Desi Girl


  5. Bikramjit June 25, 2016 at p06 #

    Ha ha ha took me back to our class 10th farewell .. I did the same.. 😀😀

    How are you doing and good to see a post after a long time..

    2016 has been ok..


    • girlsguidetosurvival July 4, 2016 at p07 #

      Tell us, tell us what did you do?
      Oh the youth don’t we miss it?
      DG is very blessed. Yes, need to get back to writing. Somethings gotta change in 2016 and that is me.
      Thanks for checking on DG.


  6. psharmarao June 25, 2016 at p06 #

    Well DG one if the core strength of youth is its almost obscene confidence and treating yourself as a favour to the world,but as we grow we accept and respect our shortcomings and also treat the world with a little more reverence.


    • girlsguidetosurvival July 4, 2016 at p07 #


      Ah the obscene confidence… Guess it was that attitude of being a favor to the world kept DG safe from bad choices but at the same time foolish choices became her forte.
      You are so right “…as we grow we accept and respect our shortcomings and also treat the world with a little more reverence.” This realization that you are just another person has to come from within coz’ when others tell you it feels so bad.
      How are you?
      Desi Girl

      Liked by 1 person

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