ROCK ON!

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BMM student Aarish Daruwalla talks about his experience as a professional DJ while he mixes music and study

When others his age were busy playing hide and seek, he was thinking about what he wanted to pursue as a career. “It’s not like that!” he is quick to correct me, “I did play as well, but I used to think about my career moves as early as sixth grade.” He had focussed on two possibilities – being a flight purser or a disc jockey (DJ). Even though he has come a long way from those days, 18-year-old Aarish Daruwalla has not lost the pointed focus. He is an extremely successful DJ, playing gigs across the country, and yet making time to pursue his Bachelor’s in Mass Media (BMM) at MD College, Parel. He’s also certain that he will move to Australia after his BMM to pursue sound engineering and eventually to become a music producer.

“I not only want to be qualified, but also good at whatever I pursue,” says Aarish. He draws his motivation to do well at academics from his success as a DJ. His is a unique position, where his parents don’t pressurise him to study. “They never did. They are very supportive of my decisions. In fact, it was my father who gifted me the state-of-the-art equipment with which I started working,” he says. So, it is not surprising that everyone this diligent boy encounters is supportive. His teachers also provided all the support he needed, guiding him through the university rules on attendance and asking him to fulfill the same.
But what happens when work clashes with something as important as an exam? “I have to be prepared for it in advance. Once, I had exams running non-stop, with a break only on Sunday. That very Sunday, I had to work in Daman. I left for Daman on Saturday after my exam, set up my stuff, finished the party post-midnight on Sunday, and was back in Mumbai on Monday in time for my paper at 8 am.” He adds that these situations don’t happen often, so he gets by.

Fondly remembering his first gig a few months after he cleared his class 10 board exams, Aarish goes on to reminisce about the work that he bagged through his own contacts. “I felt proud when after a few months, some of my father’s contacts approached me… that was the day I felt I made it big!” He hasn’t look back since, in fact he has a team of six people working with him and has constantly strived to upgrade is equipment, to be the best. Even with a large team, there are times when he has to refuse work, since the clients demand him only.

“It works both ways – sometimes I refuse a gig due to prior commitments, but I’ve also seen clients change their event date to accommodate my schedule,” says Aarish. He adds, “My philosophy is clear – everything that comes my way, I will grab with a smile… what I can’t, I will let go.”
This philosophy has landed him with broad experience, catering to smaller birthday parties to larger sangeet and wedding reception parties, to the ultimate – new years eve, where he played for over 2,000 people last year. The other big event in his kitty is playing for Tata Consultancy Services at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon this year.

So how is it that none of this success has gone straight to his head? “That credit goes to my father. He did a great job mentoring and grounding me,” he says. Even with the success and the ability to rise faster than one can think, Aarish is far from complacent. He keeps up with his field by reading prominent blogs and sites about the same. According to him, his greatest strength lies in judging the crowd much faster than his contemporaries, and catering to its wants. But it’s not always study in the day and work at night. Like every other boy, he is crazy about cricket. He does, however, admit that he’d rather stay up watching a DJ concert than a football match… well, that’s permissible! With this stupendous success and more ahead of him, Aarish wants only one thing at any point of time – “I am full of life and that’s how I’d like to be!”

Volume 1 Issue 10

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