Meet Geetu Hinduja the singer song writer who is capturing audience attention with her distinct powerful voice and style of singing ancient hymns, shlokas and others. Sharing her story with Mums and Stories in this Q&A format, Geetu talks on the various transitions she has undergone in life.
- Tell us on your childhood and your best memories.
I grew up at Marine Drive in Mumbai. I had a lot of friends there; we would play with children in our neighbourhood. I used to attend something called a Bal Vihar every Saturday. This was a children’s class run by the followers of the Chinmaya Mission. The memories of those classes & my teacher Mrs. Dhareshwar seem to be a recurring flashback these days. I would also go across the street to a Jain temple & we would sit on the porch sometimes in the evenings & listen to the stories the Jain monks would tell us.
Perhaps these memories are coming back these days because of the direction my music is slowly taking.
- You had an early marriage and stepped into motherhood early enough. Did motherhood change you as a person?
I honestly don’t know whether motherhood changed me or living in a large joint family did. I tried hard to learn to be less volatile & more diplomatic.(I was a teenager when I got married). I am not sure I succeeded. Motherhood was not a planned event, in those days, you got married and then you had children. I enjoyed bringing up my girls and can only hope that I have contributed to their lives in a positive way.
All my children (now grown up adults) are incredibly talented women who are in the process of charting their own course in life. The eldest is a film maker, my second daughter is a business woman & my third daughter is an artist/designer. Both my older daughters are mothers too and they are excellent parents to their kids. My youngest couldn’t be a better ‘Masi’. I guess the trick to all this is to basically nurture one another. I would imagine, that rule would apply to any relationship.
You are an independent woman, a single woman for a few years now and you changed your career path from running an exquisite art gallery to becoming a songstress, musician at the age of 50 . Was the transition far from easy and how has the journey been?
Transition of any sort is never easy, but that is something that I was not focussed on. I would like to live my life in a way that is true to who I am, and that is the trajectory I followed. I loved running the gallery, I made a lot of friends who I am still very close to in the Art World. Music had always been a passion, it happened for me when the time was right.
- Your choice of songs, particularly of Vedic chants infused with contemporary music and strong influential vocals is garnering positive attention. Do you think the youth acknowledge and appreciate traditional songs and chants but it has to be presented in a way that attracts them?
I guess you are right about that. The singing of shlokas happened rather organically. I have learnt sacred verses, texts, etc through the various phases of my life.
I have written a lot of songs in English ever since I was a teenager. I listened to a certain kind of music. All of that helped shape my musicality. I went on to mould myself as a Singer Songwriter who sang original material & accompanied myself on the guitar.
One of the shlokas was recorded in 2009 for a personal reason for my mother & when it was done, we decided to throw it into the mix on the album consisting of original material in English which was slated for release shortly. In the same way I recorded another shloka in 2016 as part of an EP in English. Both the shlokas have had a very positive response since.
- You have a strong persona and sense of style. Do you think women need to accept their greys, wrinkles as they age and weave a style around it rather than trying to camouflage it?
I know what I choose to do, I do believe everyone has to do what they feel comfortable with. One size does not fit all. And everyone’s goals in life are not the same. What I do endorse greatly is getting on the path of ‘Knowing yourself’, and then let it take you where it will. It is important to be comfortable in your own skin & that I believe can happen only with ‘self realisation’. It is a hard one to crack, it is easier said then done. We all find ways to escape our own reality, but it is a journey that according to me is worth it.
- Leukoderma is not easily accepted in the society. How have you managed to deal with insensitive comments from others?.
Leukoderma happened to me again rather late in life. It wasn’t easy to watch my skin in a matter of 3 months go from being blemish free to fresh lesions appearing on my skin on different parts of my body on a daily basis till my skin surface was covered with 70% leukoderma patches.
However around the same time, my youngest sibling was fighting a losing battle against an incurable form of breast cancer. It was a quick journey then for me to put things into perspective. I was also helped greatly in this regard by the support of my youngest daughter, my sisters & a few very close friends.
Yes, a few people were rather insensitive, but then again that’s life. These are the life situations that make you stronger.
- Has the lockdown and Covid taught you anything in particular?
I think it is a little early to tell what the lockdown has taught me.
In the larger scheme of things, yes we should have seen it coming. We have abused the earth is so many different ways. There is so much disparity in the way we live. There is political upheaval everywhere. The pandemic & lockdown have only magnified all the failings in our system. We all need to take responsibility for it, and make changes in our lives to make the world a better place.
On the personal front: I have always been fairly independent & fairly adaptable, therefore in a lot of ways, the fabric of my life remains unchanged. I continue to pursue whatever I did pre lockdown. I have a penchant for learning, so it gives me an opportunity to pursue that without having to worry about producing music with deadlines or setting up performances & working towards that.
- Any health practices, anything you would want to recommend to other mums?
I don’t have some special words of advice, I am only going to reiterate the importance of the wisdom that has come down through the ages: that every individual, no matter who you are should make exercise, passion/work/profession & some form of spiritual pursuit a part of their daily routine along with their regular chores.
- Anything else you want to share as a singer, mother please share.
As a singer, be authentic. As a mother, do your best, and then let it go. A very wise friend told me that we can only try to be good enough as mothers. It is not possible to be a Perfect Mom.
You can check one of Geetu Hinduja’s video here where she is reciting a powerful and impactful shloka, penned originally by Adi Shankaracharya- https://bit.ly/397UhBp