I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce to each and every one of you to the members of family Taal Inc. To make this a first-person narrative, I’ve asked each member to write/shoot/record a little something that encompasses their journey with us.
To start off we have the humble tower of talent, Mr. Gandhaar Amin. Here’s what he had to Say…
MY JOURNEY WITH TAAL INC
Till about three years back, I was an ‘Indian Classical Flautist’, and the only music that I played was in the practice room in my house, sitting alone or at the most with my dad. I did not have any idea of the huge world outside the boundaries of Indian Classical music. Then, three years back, this guy came and sat next to me in the college canteen, and said that he was a guitar player. At that time, as far as I was concerned, a guitar player or a drummer was someone who got high and played substandard music in front of an equally high audience. For some reason, I said yes to him when he asked me if I would come ‘jam’ with him. I told him I knew how to play the flute, I also knew how to practice, but I had no idea how to ‘jam’!
Anyway, so that is how I got introduced to the world outside of Indian Classical music. Soon, I started getting introduced to a lot of musicians and different kinds of music. That is when I heard of a band called Smokestack, which was supposed to have an amazing drummer. By then, the image of a guitarist or a drummer in my mind had changed quite a bit. So, I decided to go to a Smokestack concert, mainly to check this drummer out. I ended up having a nice time, and the drummer was actually out of this world. So I decided to have a chat with him after the concert, and he seemed extremely humble and warm for a musician who was pretty well known in the local circuit at least! That is when I asked him what his name was.
That was how I got introduced to Varun Venkit. For a year or two after that, Varun was this amazing musician who was much senior to me. I went for a few more concerts of his with various bands, and that was around the time that I started genuinely admiring him as a musician. Then, about a year back, I got a call from another local musician, with whom I had gotten acquainted at some concert. He had made some music and wanted to collaborate with a few other musicians to add some flavor to his songs. When I found out that one of those musicians was Varun Venkit, it took me less than a second to say yes. That is when Varun and I officially got to know each other. That was also when I got to know what Taal Inc. really was. After doing a few shows together in this band, Varun asked me if I wanted to be a part of Taal Inc. He made it very clear that this would be a one-off thing where he would gauge if I and the flute fit into the whole thing.
So a few days later, I ended up going to Varun’s place for a rehearsal with the Taal Inc. rhythm ensemble. And I would not be exaggerating at all when I say that I have never been received into any group with so much of warmth! I was immediately made to feel at home. I went for a few more rehearsals at Varun’s place and at One Life Club. This concert took place at a popular venue in Pune, followed by a party at Varun’s place. That night, when I was lying in my bed, I knew that I had found the road that I would be following in life. I was completely overwhelmed by the energy that the group had as a whole. I was overwhelmed with how these 8-10 people came together and showed me what being a musician and life, in general, was all about. And I was overwhelmed by this man called Varun Venkit. That is when I made a decision that I will learn as much as I can from him, in any way possible.
Then came NH7, which is an annual music festival held in Pune. The Taal Inc. rhythm ensemble was to perform there, and I was told that I would be playing with them again. Naturally, I didn’t have to think about whether to say yes or no. When we were preparing for this concert, I ended up making some friends that I instantly knew would be with me for the rest of my life. The friendship with Agneya and Dhir was natural, more so because of them being of roughly the same age as me, and two of the coolest guys that I’ve ever met. Amar was the most genuine and warm person, and him being the only ‘non-drummer’ in the group got me closer to him. Anybody who meets Abhijit once cannot help but become good friends with him. And I had played with him a few times before. It is utterly impossible to not fall in love with Solonie, and I fell for her too! And then there was Varun, who I realized wasn’t just an out of this world musician, but also an amazing person. I realized that I had a lot more to learn from him than what I had thought before.
After NH7, I became an integral part of Taal Inc. (or so I would like to believe!) and Taal Inc. became a big part of my life. I had found an amazing band to play with, great people to learn from, and some of the best friends that I’ve ever had. I also ended up forming separate bands with Amar, Dhir, and Agneya. Having spent quite some time with Varun by then, I soon fell in love with drumming and rhythm in general. I started playing some drums during rehearsals, took some Djembe Drum Lessons with Varun and soon, I was a proper student of Varun’s. Before I knew it, I had done a show where I played only a drum and didn’t even touch the flute! This love of drumming further got me interested in drum circle facilitation. And Varun, as always, was more than willing to train some of us as drum circle facilitators.
So, it has been a magical journey so far, and I hope it goes on forever. I’ve still got a lot to learn from Varun and Taal Inc. Having the feeling that you’re following the right path and then walking along that path with such amazing companions is the best thing that can happen to a musician. So all I can hope for is to learn as much as I can from Taal Inc. and hope to give back to it in whatever way I can!
Come. Drum. Be One.