My marriage was in 1993 and my wife never knew about this craze that I had. Whenever we went out together, I always had a song running on me, either humming or singing. My wife often nudged me to draw my attention to people who were watching me. She found this to be very embarrassing and calls me crazy. I have still not got out of this habit as yet.
On an afternoon in the hot month of May, 1996, my colleague, who is my good friend and I, stepped out for lunch and were walking through the shop floor. This was while I was with my first employer. I never knew that he had actually come out after a hot board room discussion. We moved towards the company canteen silently and I was humming a favourite song that was on my mind, a little louder. I knew that I could hum it even louder as my song would never be heard by anyone 15 feet away due to the din of the machines around. I sang a little louder. A third person joined us while we were on the way. He was part of my colleague's team and on seeing him, my colleague started off with the same topic that had been discussed in the board room. I was still humming and singing a bit loudly. Seeing my casual demeanour while such a serious topic was being discussed by him, he suddenly yelled a question "Why can't you keep quiet?” at me. It really rattled me. I should have been careful I thought. He immediately apologized for what he did, but I too felt I should have desisted from such behaviour that time.
Kolkata gave me a new high in singing. There was a corporate Anthakshari competition, for which I also had mailed in my nomination. I still don’t know Hindi although I keep singing a lot of Hindi numbers. On the night before the competition, my friend and roommate Ankur, spent his valuable time, to explain the meaning of the songs that I had selected for singing. I had written down the script in English. In the first round which was an individual round, I sang three Hindi songs and I got lots of appreciation from the judges for my voice and singing. And then, they started talking to me in Hindi on something else they wanted me to sing along with another colleague. I did not know how to respond. The colleagues with whom I went were also new to me and they also did not know why I was displaying an embarrassed silence when the judges were asking me. I did not want to show any sign of my ignorance of Hindi as I thought that it would go in as a negative point. Nevertheless in the team round, we as a team could not qualify and move further. But, that was the first time, an external judge was complimenting my singing and it gave me real confidence. The very next week, I was on a stage at Kolkata and I sang a Hindi number.