Memoir: Where All My Music Travelled

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Presenting the experience shared by Mr. Rajinder Kotwal, a 70+ Mumbai based musician. He has been performing on the Harmonica and Spanish Guitar for the last 50+ years and still loves to share his passion for music with people of all ages. Mr. Kotwal has shared a small story on how has music been an inseparable part of his life journey right from childhood till now, while he moved across the vast expanse of the Indian sub-continent,  right from Myanmar to Amritsar, New Delhi and Mumbai.


In 1965 we came from Myanmar after there was a Revolutionary Government, and since the businesses and shops were nationalised, most of the foreigners headed to either England, Austria or India. Since our family was deep rooted in Punjab, our parents decided to come back to Amritsar in April 1965.

Although it was late for admission, I somehow managed to get admission in Pre University Prep as it was called. Very soon I became popular in college as I could play songs on my harmonica and Spanish Guitar. During the Indo-Pak war in 1965, NCC was made mandatory in our college. We were issued khaki pant and grey coarse shirt and trained to do night patrolling with a lathi (wooden baton) and keep a night vigil. It was a new experience and a totally contrasting experience for me, as till then I had spent a peaceful and slow paced life in Myanmar.

After few days, it was announced that India had won the war and our forces had entered the Pakistan border and near Ichogil canal, Lahore. Before their retreat, it was decided that our college would host an entertainment program for the army jawans (soldiers). Our principal Mr. Prem Singh shortlisted me as part of the bhangra team. Early morning we were all ushered in a military truck, which took us to the venue. It was a beautiful sight everyone was rejoicing, and then began the bhangra program; everyone dancing with bottle in their hands and General Rajinder Singh was all delighted. Then my turn came I played few Bollywood old songs and played guitar to accompany few soldiers who sang with full gusto.

Later during college I got opportunities to perform at Kirori Mal College, Delhi University, Yuv vani, other colleges and Shree Mataji’s programs (Sahaja Yoga) and so on.

Ever since I moved to Mumbai, I represent Mouth Organists Mumbai (MOM) and have performed on several imminent and popular platforms.

Every time I have to do a live performance, I feel as excited as my first performance at college. Music makes me feel young and alive.

Let’s see where my music travels from here.


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