Who says dreams can’t come true? Following the adage ‘Pursue your passion no matter what it takes’, a small time musician Raju Rao seems to have set an example of sorts difficult for others to emulate. One hand on the synthesizer, the other on a keyboard, he works passionately in his home-studio in Bhopal. He makes his presence felt at light music shows here. Not only does he accompany visiting music stars, he also plays and sings solo in marriages and events where he solely gives out an enthralling performance. He never leaves an opportunity to make Bhopal hear a new song. Behind his shades are eyes that can’t see, yet behind the lyrics is a heart that never lets his visual impairment come in its way.
He rapidly scans sound files using a screen reader. The speed at which he works amazes those of us who have sight. “I used to waste a lot of time going to and coming from studios, technical problems in the system, and waiting “One day my wife said, ‘Don’t worry about the money. Let’s create a studio today.’’ ‘’That was seven years back and after that there was no turning back,” he says. When people came to know that he was planning to buy a computer, they used to make fun of him saying “how can you see the cursor and operate the mouse?”He used Jaws software to work on the computer, which he picked up all by himself. His dogged determination produced results in one year, when he recorded his own song and music. .“There were a lot of difficulties, but when you try and try again you succeed. His detractors cried in disbelief “you are feigning blindness “In fact Raju has memorized the position of all the keys on the keyboard. Surprisingly he did not get any formal training in music or Braille.
He prefers not to talk about his past. He says he learnt to play guitar as a child. His mother appreciated it and coaxed him to play better. One day, a priest named Franklin Rodriques heard him and invited him to play in a church somewhere near Bhopal. After that he became a professional. He moved to Bhopal after getting married to Pramila in 1998. It was an arranged marriage, in which Pramila with the support of her parents took the bold decision of accepting a visually impaired person as her husband, and supporting him wholeheartedly all his life. In her words “a blind person is also a human being” No wonder, behind every successful man there is a woman, and Raju attributes all his success to her. He counts the day he got married to Pramila, as the happiest day of his life.” My wife knew I loved music, and she did everything possible to help me in my work “says Raju with pride. Their daughter Sanjana has inherited musical talent from her father, and is giving voice to melodious songs, which are available on you tube.
Mr. Rao’s big break came in 2010 when he participated in a popular television talent hunt show. “Mumbai is an ocean of music,” he says, “I gained confidence. I began to sing ghazals and sufi
music. People liked it. It was Pramila who prompted me to compose songs, so I started doing lyrics, too. The multi talented independent musician also started penning down his thoughts in the form of songs, which have captured many hearts .Raju has made a place for himself by participating in reality shows like “India’s got talent “and “Mele ka big star season 2”on Big Magic TV. The judge’s comments in praise of Raju are fabulous. The videos are available at https://www.youtube.com/user/rajuraomusician
He has performed with noted singers like Ghulam Ali, Kavita Krishnamurthy and Anuradha Paudwal among others. Recollecting an interesting incident he says “I had composed a song for Kavita Krishnamurthy to sing, she came to the studio for recording, and took my advice how to sing it “His all time favourite remains Jagjit Singh whom he met in Indore once. He has also performed for Doordarshan’s Urdu ghazal programme.People have never been rude to me because I am blind. Most often, they don’t know who is playing in the shadows behind the lead singer. Nothing scares me more than an indifferent audience,” says Mr. Rao.In a message to upcoming artists, he says “don’t be scared of difficulties, have patience and don’t give up” “It’s been hard to come this far. If I need to go further, I must shift to Mumbai, but my roots are in Bhopal”