‘My Soul Dances to Music’: BSLV Prasad, Journalist & Music Aficionado
Journalism in India has evolved into many platforms since its birth as the nation state in 1947. Unlike any other democratic country in the world, India journalism is flourishing in all the platforms: print, radio, television, magazines, online, apps and social media. Journalists who have adapted to the technological shifts and adopted the skillset have survived, and one among them is BSLV Prasad.
BSLV Prasad has been at the cusp of journalism’s evolution from print to broadcast media. Today, he is one of the leading television journalists in India’s national capital. He started his career with India Today magazine in Chennai when it was known as Madras, and remained in the profession unlike his peers by cultivating a simple lifestyle for he wants to be in public service through the Fourth Estate. He lives in a simple life: focusing on his profession, and devoting his time to his family and music.
People’s priorities in life are usually to own a flat or a bungalow, buy a car or motorbike, invest in gold and land, buy shares in a company or own stocks. But Prasad made the biggest investment in his life by buying a piano. ‘My inner souls says this is important than buying a house or a car,’ Prasad noted. ‘Not having money and buying is an adventurous thing I did in my life. Musical instrument is the only priceless possession I have… passion towards instrumental music.’
Will and wish: Prasad owns a Kawai T600, Made in Japan for he wanted to create a musical ambience in his rented apartment for he sensed a musical inclination in his son. ‘We should create atmosphere to nurture his latent talent…time will not permit if we delay. Our son is learning, he will nurture his talent, we are providing that atmosphere, the tool of the music. The benefits are maximum by giving an early introduction to music. The benefits to the brain are immense,’ he observed.
NATURE v NURTURE:
Prasad’s son was born with a tongue-tie. When he took his son for diagnosis, the dentist diagnosed and tongue-tie was released, and the speech returned. ‘We were all thrilled,’ said Prasad who had a fear that his son could have been speechless.
How did he sense that his son has a proclivity to music? ‘When we watched television or listened to some songs, I noticed my son was moving his limbs in a rhythmical way.’ That clue from the motion of his son’s limbs made Prasad to pay attention to his son’s reactions to the sounds. At one point of time, Prasad also had a thought to become a professional singer but the pull of journalism was fiercer than Carnatic music. ‘I used to sing in my college days, as a student I was fascinated with music. Musical sense I had, I was damn sure my son got that musical sense in his DNA,’ he recollected.
BSLV’s Prasad son’s name is BSLN Rama Swaminathan. He has been selected from the third class to represent his class for singing at the festive occasions organised by his school: Raghubir Singh Junior Modern School in New Delhi.
MUSIC IN INDIA:
Unlike in the West, learning classical music in India, Carnatic and Hindustani, is still based on guru-shishya parampara though there are institutes devoted to imparting music. Prasad reckoned that for an Indian to learn music there are many constraints. “If you are blessed – someone will come to you or you to him… finding the guru is the biggest step. That is why in India there is a story behind every professional classical musician. One day I was walking on the road, I met him on the street who asked me for a direction …. And all that. Encounters. Interference of providence … these kinds of stories we listen.’
Prasad believes that fine arts is god’s gift and one should have an interest in music if one wants to become a professional practitioner: sruthi, laya, tal … should be there in the person. He noted, ‘We have to hone it if we have some mettle. You cannot chisel a diamond out of stone…?’
‘My soul will dance to the music … sometimes I hum to myself. If anybody sings or plays an instrument, I enjoy. I propagate the message of music or about that person’s music. I never ever feel jealousy. I always feel if he or she is blessed, if you don’t have that,’ reflected Prasad.
Prasad was born in the Palanadu region of Andhra Pradesh: Palanadu is in southwestern Andhra Pradesh covering Gurazala in Guntur district and Markapur in Prakasam district. He has lived and worked in Madras, Hyderabad and New Delhi.
Old age is inevitable to every human being, even if that person is exalted and haloed such as a sanyasi or baba or guru. Prasad inferred that music will keep him and his other half a great company. ‘When in old age, even if you are married either you or your spouse will be left alone. In old age, music will accompany me, who else?’
To be on the side of righteousness: dharma, is the guiding force of Prasad in his personal and professional life, even if that warrants hardships and material deprivation.