I met Ehsaan for the first time at a closed-door event for entrepreneurs and had decided then that I will be doing this interview. Not only because he is a celebrity but also because he didn’t behave like one.
‘Pure-hearted’ was the first thing that came to my mind after having this conversation with a man who has given our country such immensely beautiful musical moments. From Mission Kashmir (No! Dil Chahta Hai is NOT his first movie :)) to Rock On 2, it has been an enriching journey for Ehsaan who, like every other human, has gone through his share of ups and downs to reach that stage of his life many only get to live in their thoughts.
For someone who “constantly wanders” and is one gorgeous man wishing to live a life for others when his “calling comes”, there cannot be anything that does not make him a Gorgeous Wanderer…
Here’s a no-strings-attached intervew:
What has changed in over 30 years of your music journey?
Everything has changed in 30 years. The world has changed. I have changed. My music has changed. My guitar-playing has changed. My personality has changed. I have become more aware and developed a Spiritual side too!
But if you had an option, would you want to rewind these years…
No, actually I wouldn’t want to go back. What I was 30 years ago, I don’t want to be today. What I am today, am very happy about it.
Do you think you are successful?
Of course! Success is not only about being successful in the profession you choose. Success, for me, is also growth as a person and how do you make yourself more aware. That is the real definition of success for me.
But do you want more from life…
I have got a lot from life and am very happy with that but yes I am never satisfied with myself. It always is a journey where I want to better myself; I want to do so much more not just for myself but for other people too.
What is that one thing you really wanted to do in your life but didn’t get a chance for?
Honestly, I can’t really complain because a lot of my dreams that I dreamt, have come true and it’s a rare thing. I had a dream of having lots of Guitars and I got lots of Guitars. I dreamt about travelling the world and i do that. And about becoming a rockstar and being loved, well, I think I managed that too.
But there’s always more to life. There’s a part of you that is still searching for some answers.
What makes you wander?
I sometimes find life is pointless in a way. You do good, work all your life, there are achievements and learning and at the end of it you just die! I wonder why people have to suffer so much. There are people who are sick and are not able to deal with it. There are those who have been labelled mad and thrown out of homes. I wonder why humans have to go through all that. I don’t understand it. And if they go through so much then they need more people in this world to help them. It’s really sad and I wish I am able to help such souls at some stage of my life.
So, you do charity?
I do charity but prefer not to talk about it. I like to help those who can’t afford medical care. There is so much more to do. I know that my calling will come one day and I will have to do a lot more for people. So, I have to be prepared for that.
What has been the worst moment of your life?
I don’t think I can point out only one. There have been a lot of bad moments but none of those were as bad as for me to not survive them. There are times when you are at the bottom, feel depressed, and you feel that your life is kind of over and you can’t do anything more but you eventually come out of it.
But has Ehsaan Noorani ever touched the lowest low of his life…
Sometimes, we emotionally tank out. There are emotional problems in one’s life. Sometimes you get depressed because you are tired physically, I mean there are all sorts of highs and lows. What you really realize at the bottom is that your can’t go down any further.
Whom do you fall back on in such times…
I have become a disciple of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and have been following him since 7-8 years. I do his Sudarshan Kriya and meditations. I do meditation every day. It has helped me a lot. It has almost made me take a rebirth into the person I am today.
Playing music is like also like meditation. Though it becomes stressful when you realize there are commercial attachments to it.
It is said that Cats have healing powers, is that why you own one?
No, I was never fond of them. Gori adopted me. I find her extremely quirky and entertaining. Yes, they have a Zen like quality which is healing.
What do you feel when you meditate?
I feel blankness and peace. It’s when you are thinking nothing at all.
Do you, at times, create music only for yourself?
Commercial music is meant to be created for everyone. If I didn’t create it for myself, if it doesn’t satisfy me and I am not happy with it then I won’t let other people listen to it. If am happy with it, I, then, let everyone listen to it. It is self-satisfying but you can’t be selfish about it.
So you believe in the saying “you have to be happy to makes others happy”…
Not necessarily. I think you have to be empathetic, understand the problem and then help. I have known so many psychiatrists who are helping out but they themselves are in bad problems. So it’s not about being happy, it’s about being selfless. Everything comes down to one’s self during depression & problems. That’s the time one should think less about his own self. This paves way for you to help others even when you are sad.
Best moment of your life?
Oh! There have been many. A good performance gives me a great feeling. But I’d say, winning the National Award gave me a high.
There’s so much positivity in life and I relish the smallest of moments. Like yesterday, I met somebody at the airport who told me that my judgments in the reality show ‘The Stage’, give an emotional support to the contestants. He said that it’s a rare virtue on television and thanked me.
I may find a hundred sad moments but if I find that one happy moment, it is more important and satisfying than anything else.
What if you were not a musician…
(With A Rise In The Voice Tone) Oh! I would have been an Air Force pilot for sure. I have always wanted to be one. I finished school and figured the Air Force recruitment procedure but life had other plans for me. But yes, I envy, ENVY Air Force Pilots. I am heavily into Aviation.
Oh! So, do you know how to fly?
(Laughs) No, but I want to learn. I hero-worship the Air Force Pilots.
What if they think the same about you…
(Smiles) Yes, may be.
Tell me, how does Music make you a wanderer?
I am constantly wandering and my mind is never at one place. My mind is constantly travelling. And unless you have a sense of imagination, you can’t be a good musician. You have to have a very vivid one. Like, most of the musicians do have. It is the closest you can get to your soul because when you perform and compose music, you lose yourself. The personal self is the only block between you and your spiritual self. So when you let yourself go, you come closer to the soul.
So, you are closest to your soul when you are playing…
Yes. And also when I am meditating, of course.
What does Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy mean to you?
Unity in diversity.
And what would be your message to the young aspiring musicians…
It is tough. Whether you are a musician, an architect or engineer, it is not easy to be anything. In case of a musician, you will realize that there’s a constant learning. It’s a learning process from the day you start till the day you die. If you are tying yourself down with the options then you are losing out the whole world out there. You have to grow all the time.
All Pictures Are Personal Copyright Pictures Of Ehsaan Noorani.