STORY OF SELF-LEARNING
An ENT Specialist who learnt Hawaiian Guitar by himself
Dr Uday Chand Das, a Dubai based ENT specialist, is passionate about painting and music. He plays the Hawaiian Guitar with amazing dexterity. Hard to believe that he learnt this difficult instrument all by himself. He has a huge fan following on social media. Recently, he won the 2nd Runner Up prize in the Notes & Sargam Instrumental Music Contest 2020.
My name is Udaya Chand Das, an ENT Surgeon, currently practicing in Dubai.
Since I was a child I had keen eyes and ears for fine arts and music. At the age of 12, it was luckily noticed by my music teacher in school, who took special interest and kept encouraging me.
One of my very close friends at school was learning Hawaiian Guitar. I was thoroughly impressed by him and wanted to do the same. My dad being a strict academician believed that I should focus on academics and nothing else. He yielded to my request after I went on hunger strike for 2 days and bought me an acoustic Hawaiian Guitar. I started learning from my friend for a year and half when we were in the 8th grade. When we reached 10th grade, I was forced by my dad to stop guitar practice and focus on my forthcoming Board Exams. Soon, that was followed by preparations for 12th grade and various entrance examinations. Music and arts took a back seat and was soon forgotten after I entered Medical College.
I was again prompted by a hostel mate who owned a Hawaiian guitar. In Southern India, where I was doing my MBBS, Hawaiian Guitar was not very popular and it was difficult to find a guru. I practiced a few songs with my acoustic guitar which I owned, to participate in inter-college competitions. One such performance on stage during my graduation ceremony won me the heart of a young girl who is currently my wife. After my marriage, the hectic post graduate program in ENT and family matters, kept me away from my hobbies. I occasionally would listen to the LP’s of Late Shri Sunil Ganguly’s rendition of Bollywood songs and try to play few tunes.
In the last 2 years I focused on painting (oil on canvas), as my wife and daughters moved out of Dubai for children’s education. In the beginning of 2020 during the lock down, life came to a standstill. I took this opportunity to rekindle my passion for Hawaiian Guitar with seriousness. I immediately replaced a few rusted strings and bought a new slide bar by purchasing them online. That is when I realized that I had not forgotten much and with some help from you tube I managed to play a few more tunes. Owning an electric Hawaiian Guitar (Lap Steel) was always my dream. Unfortunately, the commonly used electric Hawaiian guitar were only manufactured in Kolkata. But the supplier could not ship it to Dubai due to lock down restrictions. I desperately started looking for any preowned that might be on sale. To my utter surprise I found a person in Dubai who was winding up from here and wanted to dispose off his electric Hawaiian guitar. I just grabbed it with no hesitation.
Now that I had the guitar of my choice, I needed notations for some portions of the songs which I was unable to pick up just by listening. As I was searching the internet for notations I found ‘Notes and Sargam’ and the Instrumental Music Contest. It excited me and prompted me to take it up as a challenge to myself although I was not confident. My wife and colleagues who had heard my recent tunes persuaded me to take it on. Hence I registered for the contest. I soon forgot about it as life got busy again as situation here started normalizing. To my pleasant surprise I got a call from Mr Prashant Das inquiring about my entry. He was kind enough to give me time to send him a recording which I promptly did before midnight of the last day.
After I heard the performances of other participants of this contest, I felt encouraged and decided to go till the end irrespective of the results. It was a bit stressful due to my busy schedule but it was enjoyable at the same time. I was impressed by the promptness of the organisers who facilitated the show and did not keep us waiting for too long to announce the results. The contest went so fast that there was no time for thinking of backing out.
I am glad that I could participate till the end and am thankful to Mr Prashant Das for all the effort he put in to keep the contest interesting and timely. I would also thank the judges of this contest who took out time to be a part of this show. This initiative of ‘Notes & Sargam’ is going to go a long way to motivate many to pursue their passion and love for music. I personally have decided to try and play my guitar more frequently and better myself with each passing day.
My message to all the music lovers is, Music cannot be equated with material. It always soothes your heart and calms your mind and it’s a great stress buster in your life. So, never give up and continue to practice and perform.
– Dr Uday Chand Das