Dhenkanal: He might be visually impaired. But he has never complained to God about his disability. Instead, he considers his disability a blessing. He thinks it has made him stronger to face life’s challenges.
Meet Prafulla, a music teacher, of Palimi village in the Aul block of Kendrapara district, a perfect example of the saying ‘Where there is a will there is a way.’
“Had I been normal, I might have failed to solve the problems that came my way, and wouldn’t have come this far in my life,” says Prafulla.
Prafulla is the third among seven children – four sons and three daughters – of his father Chakradhar and mother Malati.
But destiny played a cruel joke. When he was two years old, he had a bout of illness that left him visually impaired. While children of his age played outside, his world plunged into darkness.
Prafulla’s childhood made him sadder, but wiser. He learnt to live with challenges, sufferings and pains.
At 20, he came to Cuttack to do something in life. He enrolled at the Kalyani Blind School and also started learning music at the Kala Bikash Kendra. However, circumstances forced him to leave education midway.
But he could not give up music. “I started learning music from people like Guru Akhila Kumar Lenka, Guru Niroj Nalini Kumar and Guru Balakrushna Das. I learnt the intricacies of violin from Guru Mohammed Hamid Ahej,” he said.
“In 1982, I got an opportunity to sing in one of the popular programmes of All India Radio (AIR). In 1986, it conferred ‘B’ Grade Artist status on me,” he said. He started teaching music in 1983.
Although Kendrapara is his place of birth, Dhenkanal is his place of ‘riyaz’. Besides Dhenkanal, he has been to Angul, Athgarh, Jajpur, Erasama and Kolkata to teach music.
Prafulla’s students are now earning their livelihood though teaching music and performing at various programmes. Aseema Panda and Shakti Mishra are among his students who could strike gold.
Narrating the problems he faced when he was a student of music he said, “Once I was injured by a bull. Sometimes I suffered bruises after falling into drains. Every time I fell, I got up with determination.”
It is music that has made my dull life melodious. I have a happy family comprising wife Labanyabati, son Sudeep and daughter Bageswaree. Sudeep is known in our locality as a keyboard player, he said.
Prafulla’s dream is to establish a music school to continue his music journey.