Performing with my Guruji Shri Ishwarbhai Parekh
I grew up in Gujarat, learning music. Since a very young age of four, Shri Ishwarbhai Parekh tutored me all the way to earn Sangeet Visharad degree with a gold medal. My guruji always share this story that I started learning so young, I used to sit in my mother's lap while he taught me! Even earlier than that, when I was about two years old, I have a vivid memory about me pretending to be a teacher and teach nursery rhymes to the neighborhood kids much older than me!
My parents had a huge contribution towards providing me the kind of environment that a student of music requires. My mother and I would sing what I learned in class together while doing kitchen work, braiding my hair and during our drive to nearby towns. And I must say she has the sweetest voice that I have heard on the planet! My dad too enjoyed music. He would bring out the harmonium after dinner and play old Bollywood melodies. Music used to be our leisure time activity for the family.
My guruji's teaching style was exceptional too. He focused on bringing out the right kind of emotions through notes. And that's why when I share songs on social media, I often hear my friends mentioning about 'soulful singing'. Also, he would often take me to perform at temples during festivities and parayan katha. Singing in temples brought my liking for devotional music and instill sanskaar of spirituality. It made me realize the second nature of music being divine other than it bearing an entertaining value.
While teaching, my guruji would often make bhajans and dhoon on the spot and compose them too. He would ask me to join and improvise as he sang. I used to be amazed at his impromptu creations and that made me think... how I wish to create my own compositions!! Now I write my own songs because of this background that he gave me.
I am lucky enough that after getting married, my husband Suketu Patel too provides the same kind of support that my guruji and parents gave. Being raised in the States, he has no idea about Indian music; but still he encourages me in every possible way. He inspired me to make three cds of my original compositions. He learned to operate sound system and controlled it just for my concerts. He helped me open my own music studio where I currently teach students. I hope to continue this tradition of music and pass it to my students in a way my guruji taught me!