I have to write something about someone and I do not know what, to begin with. Honestly, after writing the first sentence I sat back for fifteen minutes and scrolled down the comment section on one of Projjwal’s videos on FNO. Someone had asked him to work on his pronunciation. Another person had asked the previous person to try and speak in Bengali, and soon there were two people commenting on each other over just a song played by just a boy. And the song went as:
“Who is to blame, tell me, love?
Who will we blame for the fire?
Amidst the hatred, we must build love,
And let’s be each other’s desire.”


Amid his ‘paradoxical situations’, Projjwal says that poems and songs are like Horcruxes, you divide your soul in them. He grew up in a family where literature, film, and music were the daily customs. Since the age of five or six, he would play in a toy synthesizer and by the time he was in the sixth standard he was playing the piano. A drift from the Bengali ambiance of music to the Western Classical style took place. Considering himself to be the “worst student”, he would struggle to maintain a balance between his education and music. There would be quite a number of obstacles. After spending four years in CSM, during the fifth year, he faced the changes which lay in front of him. “The society around me was changing. The environment, the education system, my own life they were all going through a drastic change. And then one day, I heard a guy shouting in a nasal tone: ‘the times they are a-changing’.” Projjwal started writing, all in English without a guitar.

He says that he has heard a number of Bob Dylan’s songs. It was something that made sense to him. There was also Cohen’s Book of Longing. He began to see and paint. He took up music as a language, a language speaking in which everyday nourished him. The boy was worried about his future, his country’s future, the education system. The system itself deteriorating. He believes that it all has to be taken back in form. He began to paint through music.

I asked him about his story. He told me several things, “…How can I say, there are so many stories…so many stories…I don’t have my own story…” And so he kept telling me a story to say why a story was being told. And somehow as he narrated and he re-told, I realized that his stories, a lot like his songs, were helping me read my story. Well, that is personal! Maybe, somebody would realize it, somebody would not. And probably, that is also the reason why I listened to Projjwal sing. He sang songs about religious fundamentalism, “Why must I hate that tree,/ For it is loved by someone I hate?” He speaks about love looking at love, as love moves out in a song called Suddenly Tonight. His song These Blanks are a straightforward promise of the void in between existence. Like a Milestone, which he had written two years back, is one where he identifies himself as a milestone. “I live by what I think,” he said, “it is important to think first…” I had to know if he abides by what he says if he would preach. He would sing. “Maybe that’s how, as you said, I would ‘preach’.”

He takes inspiration from Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach; he identifies with Bob Dylan, calling himself a ‘Dylan Freak’; he listens to Irish Folk, Bengali spiritual hymns; he wishes to research on Folk song and connect to people; he remains mindful of the surrounding. He keeps vinyl records of Bob Dylan, Kali Dasgupta, Debabrata Biswas, Benny Goodman, Hank Snow, John Lee Hooker, and many more. You might find in his bookshelf Umberto Eco, Boris Ford, Jack London, W.J.Hemmings, Joyce, Tolstoy, Orwell, and a lot more.
He says that he travels within himself and that he would change with the changing times. “I adorn my age, I may sing the blues./ For time is no poor country, to be conquered.”

I had to write about Projjwal and I did not know what, to begin with. And surely I do not know what to end with. All I can say is that I have barely met a person, a songwriter, a singer, and a boy as him; and yes about his songs…they are always somewhere after just now.






“Do you want anything to drink?”
“Okay, water will do…”
“Uhh…do you want Glucon-D with it…”Abhishu laughed.

Abhishu is a person who does not consider himself as a well-trained ‘educated’ musician. He says that he is an ‘uneducated’ songwriter. And he does not know what he is writing about. “Maybe I know after I am done, but until then….I don’t know what.”

Abhishu Rakshit grew up in one of the many Bengali families whose artistic enthusiasm carry them across the various aesthetics of music. Abhishu had his ‘only formal’ education in Rabindra Sangeet from Surangama. As his father had a transferrable job, he was soon encouraged into the Pop and the Folk Rock of the 60’s and the 70’s. Yes, The Beatles and Bob Dylan took over. This was also the time, some time in his early 20’s, around 2004, that Abhishu had started writing his own verse and chorus.

Like most youth, he was writing about what he was being told, “you know, that phase you go through, like, shob baje shob kharap. Shob palte debo…and all that…” He would claim that his work was a lot Puritanical and naive back then. “But then, I had to show my work to Dr. Sukanta Chaudhuri…” Most of us have that one person to whom we expose our most intimate work in order to push ourselves or give our work an edge. “…I was writing about war back then, and uncle asked me, ‘have you been to a war?’ I haven’t. I knew what he was talking about…Of course, I was not writing about something that I understood entirely. It was fed by the media. I was not introspecting…” And so he did introspect.

I need not tell you what our education system does to us, I most certainly need not mention what a person pursuing a career as a CA goes through. Hence, Abhishu who was at that time doing his CA was ‘sad quite a lot and wrote quite a lot.’ And hence, came up with lyrics which would remind you of being bothered with…with yourself.

“I like stuff that break the grammar, you know. I mean, form exists to be broken.” Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Maynard James Keenan, Blur, Nick Drake, were a few names which he mentioned while he was talking about form being broken and mended according to the need of the song. To him, these musicians and songwriters were talking about a subject, reality and above all ‘insecurities’. “The entire Grunge movement, you know…The depressive movement against a system, the glorified slacker mentality, economic exploitation, they were all expanding their horizon to the ground realities and I think that is what hit me.” Grunge, which is a sub-genre of alternative rock and which had emerged during the mid-1980’s, is known for chronicling pain. Bands such as Nirvana, Sound Garden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains were the names which had defined Grunge music. “There is a continuous action and conflict, action and conflict…”Abhishu said, while he was talking about its sensation in the mind, “It is thought provoking.”

Abhishu never seemed to be a musician with a ‘preferred single’ taste. He spoke about Radiohead and Daft Punk. “You see, these guys were giving a whole new meaning to Electronica. Electronica is not just about electronics put together to make you dance, no…it can be thought-provoking if done right. There is so much to be read in between the lines. It has its own identity.” Not only Alternative Rock, or Grunge, or Electronica; Abhishu certainly spoke about those bands which we ‘Bong’ kids grew up listening to. “Hey the bands which are so close to us, us Bangalis, Mohiner Ghoraguli…they were a major influence for me. Also the first album of Krosswindz, Poth Geche Beke...ah, it was a beautiful one!” He says that a song should be a bridge between simple words and deep thoughts.

A songwriter of an indiscriminate taste, Abhishu says that it is almost ‘Romantic to think’ that he would live the rest of his life on a guitar and a few notes. The person who is working at the Vidorea Technologies at the moment, is actually the vocalist of a band, a band which is trying to push the elements in order to increase the merits of the song. I won’t tell you the name of the band, but I would also you to not miss out on it. With a little ‘case of luck’ I was able to listen to a few of their songs, and yes the punctuated howl of the drums taking over and the continuous reminder of the restless UFO Club was a psychedelic experience in itself. “Electro Alternative Rock Pop, oi jeta ke bolbo Hyalu…” is what Abhishu came up with when I asked him about the songs.

As a guy who believes in no barrier, be it taste or preference, he wishes to perform all over the world both in English and in Bengali. Although he at times does suffer from the “composers’ death”, Abhishu Rakshit is the Winner of the first season of Maruti Suzuki Colours of Youth. Yes, he is a big deal. I hope that the band is launched very soon, as the line-up seems promising. Also, I would ask you all you definitely check out their album once it is launched. You won’t regret it.

Do check out his song on the YouTube channel Friday Night Originals. In fact, after you are done, do check out the channel. It will treat you with a lot of fresh content, and if you like it, do subscribe.



Last night as I was heading back home, after bidding farewell to a friend who was leaving for Delhi, I scrolled through the YouTube channel of Friday Night Originals. Amartya Ray’s song Little Man appeared on the very first page, and I began to play the song in continuous loop for about half an hour. And the chorus went as:
“And oh! My Little Man.
Let’s run like the wind while we can
The time maybe gone but it will come again
And fate is such a co-incidence.”

Amartya Ray is one of the Independent musicians of the city. A recent graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Heritage Institue of Technology, Kolkata, Amartya’s journey as a musician probably dates back to his early years back in school where he was pretty much into “Rap music and shit”. “There wasn’t much of a music scene going on in school, you know. However, towards the end of class 11, a new kid enters school. Soon I saw the people around were picking up guitars and playing medley and various other stuff. I too took up the guitar and would play, you know, the very basic chords like C major and G major. It was fun. And in no time, music took over my entire life.”
And that it did. His music, as he would say, has no specific style. At times it has the Dylanian harp hovering over it, at times it inclines more towards Jazz and Blues, and sometimes it is just a few notes and an empty voice. I have been an audience to a few of his performances. And the way his music drifts from the string to the key is almost elevating. You could actually spend an evening listening to the boy’s songs, and I know you will recall quite a lot of what you have left behind.
To be a musician was never a purpose of his life. However, as a kid, he did get introduced to quite a number of the timeless legends, like Pink Floyd, Guns N Roses. “In fact, let me tell you.” he says, “my mother would sing me Hush My Baby, Baby Don’t You Cry, as a lullaby when I was a kid…so…yeah…when Rock takes over the mind, there’s nothing else.” And his song House of Cards reverberates the subtle family ties we all grew up with. Amartya Ray does that, he picks up the usual nothing and gives it a nostalgic resonance.
Like any true musician, Amartya Ray does not have one musician or a particular genre influencing him. Although he does say, “I will honestly tell you, I see Leonard Cohen as a mentor. The man writes so damn well…I mean…he is so great.” The last time I had listened to one of his originals Runaway From the Sun, I was reminded of something by Cohen Hey, That’s Not a Way to Say Goodbye. Amartya Ray sings about all that comes out of the heart. He sings about family, long gone friends, psychotic girlfriends, and mostly he talks about what he feels. “You know, songwriters are extremely intimate people. Like I write…I write what is very personal to me. You know. And I somehow feel that people would somewhere find something similar in my stories. I don’t know, I just tell my stories.”
Amartya Ray’s very first band Whitenoise, quite a popular one in Heritage, was a band of many dimensions. I have heard stories about it when the boys would walk down to their practice arena, and Amartya Ray would walk around and stop in the corners to get the proper sound. Like him, the band too never followed any specific genre. Sometimes there would be heavy breakdowns and sometimes a double-bass drumming. “I could tell you all about it in one breath…my inspirations, what we played, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, I could say it all in one breath.” Other than being an active member of the band, which was like a second family to him, Amartya spends a lot of time playing all by himself. At any emotional moment, happy or sad, he takes up his guitar and strums it all out.
The boy creates his songs through emotions. “I just take a lot of time to think.” He lets his emotions carry him, he lets reason carry his music. He makes sure that he has a good reason behind putting a chord in a place where it is. And the time taken is then well utilized to create something much more transcending. His song What I Need is one of those songs which give you the trigger of your presence. The song simply talks about what someone needs in life; after all only, you know what you need, Amartya only lets you know what he needs.
Amartya is a singer sincere to his songs. If he is satisfied with is work, well that is just “Blowin’ in the Wind…I just do it, I like it. I like music.” is what he will tell you. He goes around with a guitar and a harmonica. He finds weird connections in between lyrics and music, and hence his songs come life. He is currently waiting to play his song Sleeping Gypsy in front of an audience. This wild rover piece talks about a traveler who falls in love with a place and decides to live there for a day more. Yet his quest as a traveler tells him the truth that his life is on the road. “I so want to play this song in front of people, I cannot wait for it.” Maybe someday, just as a traveler, Amartya would play in his dream city Paris. And maybe, one day soon he will be humming his notes in both Bengali and Hindi. It would be quite a treat.

And as I returned home on the last loop of the song Little Man, I realized that my times and my generation is quite a crazy, amazing one. It is heartful, it is insane, and it is so very desirous of everything at one time. It never utters a commonplace thing and yet it suffers from the very common emotions. But the only thin line of difference is that…well, I will only say this, my generation is young and Amartya Ray has it written on his guitar, “All The Children Are Insane.” (Jim Morrison, The End).