While most of us are busy tackling the shackles of monotony and time constraints in our lives, some people just seem to have 28 hours in a day. They manage to cruise through their professional lives and also take it a notch higher by pursuing long lost hobbies. And then there are a few others, like our guest for this month, who have not one but two full fledged professions. But does that keep them from following a third passion? Of course not! Meet Pune based dentist and singer at heart, Dr. Ashutosh Javadekar, who is also a published author with a legit master’s degree in English literature. Did I mention he is a dentist? Yes, I did.
Do you identify yourself more as a dentist or as a writer and singer?
So what race do I belong to is what you are asking! (laughs) I think I identify myself as a creator, to put it simply. Carving a tooth, or even better – saving it, playing the harmonium or simply writing a paragraph… the essence of all these is testing your creativity. So I don’t think I can pick and choose like that. It is all interconnected.
And where did getting a Master’s degree in English literature figure in your scheme of things? Was there any specific reason?
To start with, I have always been an avid reader. And I have always wanted to write in as many languages as I can and expand my reach. So initially, I wasn’t as comfortable writing in English as I am in Marathi. So one of the main reasons was to sharpen and hone my linguistic skills for English. And of course, I am extremely passionate about literature and becoming a student in my 30s again was an amazing experience.
Do you think that experience is helping you in any way in your career as a dentist?
Well, if you look at it superficially, there obviously isn’t any direct connection. No tangible gains, so to say. But it has helped me immensely in intangible ways. Pursuing a degree in English made sure that I wrote more than I usually did and it honed my writing skills a lot. And I, personally, believe that writing makes you more mature. The process of writing is very comprehensive and it makes you think and it reflects in your personality. I think the maturity that I gained helps me greatly in my profession and also in my singing. Secondly, studying while working as a dentist made me realise how interconnected everything is.
And your knowledge of literature, both English and Marathi, must have really helped you in understanding music cultures better. Would you agree?
Definitely! Music and literature are very closely connected. And songs are the meeting point of the two. So having a background of folk, classic and contemporary literature makes it easy to understand not only the songs but also their context.
You also have a deep study of both western and Indian music. So do you believe that songs, in a way, are carriers of contemporary language?
Wow that is such a beautiful question! And yes, definitely. This is a topic that I have written about profoundly in my book Laypashchima as well. Songs are carriers of contemporary language and culture. They reflect the society. Let’s take rock for example. It is not only about the electric guitar or the heavy drumming. Rock revolves around rebellion. It gives us a glimpse into the unrest in the society. Also, if we see the current trends of music in India, it is evident how different genres are fusing together. And this can be traced back to the liberalisation of the Indian economy and globalisation. And this is therefore a direct reflection of society.
So do you think that the music genres that have travelled across borders, bring the culture of the country along with them?
Partly, but not completely. I think every art form, right from culinary arts to literature, need to be localised to suit the tastes of the audience. Look at McDonald’s. It is a global brand but they still introduced Aloo Tikki in the Indian markets. Coming back to music, if you consider A. R. Rahman’s Nadan Parindey from Rockstar, it is a rock song. But a closer look at the second stanza will show you that it is a lot like an Indian khyaal. It is a beautiful crossover of the local and the global.
We indeed got a taste of local and global music during the show preceding the book launch. And I couldn’t help but remark that it featured one of Ricky Martin’s Spanish songs. So do you speak Spanish?
Unfortunately I don’t. But it is on the top of my bucket list. It is a beautiful and melodious language that I would love to learn. And knowing another language will definitely help me in broadening my study of music and literature.
Does not knowing the language, in which the song is sung, affect your overall experience?
I don’t think so. I don’t understand Spanish but I thoroughly enjoy the Spanish songs by Ricky Martin. And I think that is the beauty of music. But yes, the moment I found the translation of the lyrics online, my experience was greatly enhanced.
As a parting shot, tell us a little more about your new book.
The book is called Laypashchima. It is written in Marathi and is about western popular music forms like rock, pop, hip hop, etc. But it isn’t a book that gives you a lot of information about the music forms. It does give you information but more about the sociological setting and importance of the music forms. And that too in a creative way. Because I’d like to look at myself as a creative writer. And if you aren’t comfortable reading Marathi, the book is shortly going to be translated in English. You should definitely read it!