Rajendra here, also referred to as Rajen, Raj or Naik depending on when and where you, my reader, got acquainted with me!
A chemical engineer by trade and a proud alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology (Mumbai – batch of 1969), my 45-year long career has seen me traverse various industries, holding top executive positions at manufacturing and project development companies in sectors such as chemicals, insecticides, spirits, power generation, plastics and recycling as well as carbon fibre moulded car racing parts. Over the past 20 years, I diversified my career towards management and operational consulting and advisory functions. I felt I had a lot to offer to organisations, startups and global companies that wanted to enter India’s unchartered yet burgeoning commercial territory. I continue to choose such consultancy-based assignments where a company in need could benefit from a turn-key solution that includes a combination of advisory, commercial, human resources, procurement, and establishment services in India.
During the time I built my consultancy repertoire, I also worked on my other love – music. As an avid musician, I have played Indian classical instruments including the Sitar, Harmonium and my favourite and most cherished instrument, the Indian Banjo (Bulbul Tarang). My love for Indian classical music – and years of practice and perseverance! – led me to modify this Banjo and develop special techniques to be able to play Indian classical music on it. Today, I proudly call this significantly modified instrument Pratham Tarang on which I play classical taans as well as raaga-based Hindi films songs using those innovative techniques. More about this in my blog posts. My next goal is to mentor and encourage young and local musical talent.
This project is also a tribute to my beloved wife and partner in my musical journey, Ranjana, who passed on earlier this year, leaving me to continue the journey alone. But I feel her presence, her spirit, when I play, and I hope and trust she will continue to guide me, nod in approval when I play a nuance right, signal with her eyes that it is time to move to the next phase of the performance. She believed in the power of music, of mentoring (she was a teacher herself), and of sharing knowledge, and I can only hope that I can make her wishes come true.
I divide my time between Navsari (Gujarat) and Mumbai, with occasional forays to New Delhi and Melbourne (Australia) where my lovely daughters indulge me and push me to do more with my music and writing.