Despite being a successful playback singer you’ve managed to maintain the girl next door image…
I don’t believe in pretending to be someone else. I’m what I actually am in real life. For instance, like any normal girl, I fight with my mother. I mean, it is just fine. In fact, I fight daily with my mother. You know, how mothers are – both caring and complaining. Toh yeh sab har subah chalta hai. She scolds me if I don’t take care of my hair, or get a bit non-serious about my diet. There are occasions when she even draws a comparison between me and my friends. So statements like, ‘See how different your friend looks!’ are expected (laughs). I know she has a point when she says that; her concerns are genuine.
Does this mean the topic of your marriage dominates dinner table discussions?
Yes. Ever since I turned 21, my mother has been worrying about just one issue – my marriage plans. She often says, ‘Tum singers kitne busy rehte ho, tumse kaun shaadi karega’. That’s not all, she has clearly mentioned that she would not take up the responsibility of finding the suitable match for me. She often tells me, ‘I’m not going to find the guy for you’. I’m also aware of the fact that yeh sab mummy se nahin hoga. Tabhi mere mom aur dad ne yeh decide kar ke rakha hai. I agree it is a huge responsibility and I have to shoulder it all alone. That’s all my parents are waiting for now. But there is nothing unusual in it. Parents aur kids main yeh tension hamesha rehti hai. Har ghar main yeh hota hai.
Were you also expected to follow in your father’s footsteps, and be a scientist?
(Laughs) Since I stayed in a colony where either one was an engineer or a scientist, everybody thought I would be a scientist. This was the expectation everybody had apart from my parents. Honestly, I too wanted to be a scientist. I think, it was the way dad would explain us scientific theories and concepts that made the subject more intriguing. He’d often create electronic boards, do experiments at home and all this would add to the fun quotient. I remember dad getting me Bunsen burner, mineral salts as birthday gifts for me. I know it is very unusual, but it was so magical.
So you’d be the most excited person when your house turned into a laboratory…
Yes. Main aur papa lakde ka phatta aur chemical resistors leke baith jaate thay. Nothing would stop us from completing our mission – not even my mom getting annoyed about the mess these experiments would created. Puray mess ke beech main mai baith ke sab experiments hote hue dekhti thi. My father also made an electronic tanpura much before it was available in the market. He did it to ensure I could concentrate on my singing. Papa nahin chahte thay ki mujhe tanpura bajana padhe.
Tell us something about your connect with Rajasthan…
I lived in Rawatbhata – about 50 km away from Kota. I consider myself fortunate that I stayed in a place where I was away from the main city – we had no theatres or eating joints, or any options where we could hang out with friends. But I really don’t regret that for this helped me concentrate more on my singing. Since my music teacher was trained in Rajasthani folk music, it helped me loads in understanding the basics.
But didn’t you miss out on those fun moments kids enjoy?
Par TV toh tha hi and that’s how ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ happened in life. I believe, entertainment has its pros and cons. It is important, but too much involvement of kids can deter them from achieving their key goals. I could focus on my riyaaz courtesy my serene life. But there were moments when I’d hate riyaaz – you can’t expect a kid to be too serious all the time. There were moments when I found riyaaz boring.
Aug 2, 2011, / timesofindia.indiatimes.com