His first award weighed a kilo more than him and his latest achievement is a sheet of paper. It helps that Truptraj Pandya (6) was born with a dexterous pair of hands.
On Wednesday, Truptraj Pandya (6) received a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records proclaiming him the world’s youngest tabla player.
The Mulund boy has unseated Orissa’s Rajat Kumar Mishra, who was seven when he made the record. The certificate-which sits proudly in his living room with other awards, including the Baal Kala Ratna Award-acknowledges Truptraj for playing live at the All India Radio at the age of three years and five days, and at Doordarshan Sahyadri when he was four. During the radio performance, he “had to be hoisted on to two cushions to reach the tabla”, said his mother Veena. His first public performance was at the age of two at Somaiya college.
Truptraj, who loves playing for classical and devotional songs, was only 18 months old when his tryst with the tabla began. “He would often listen to his grandmother sing devotional songs. Once he gave her company by hammering away on two aluminium dabbas,” said his father Atul. Another time, he woke his parents in the night and insisted on playing the dholki-a gift from his aunt. This noctural bout moved his mother to tears. “We realised that he was born with a sense of rhythm,” said Atul.
In 2009, Atul sent a video clip of his son playing the tabla to the Limca Book of Records, but they replied saying they do not accept entries of children below the age of 12. Atul then forwarded it to the Guinness Book of World Records, even as his staff members laughed at the prospect and they approved it. Later, Soon, after Truptraj delivered a series of tabla performances including one in a stadium in Thane in 2012, Atul realised that he should encourage the prodigy by applied to the Guinness Book. “I began the application procedure last year during Ganesh Chaturthi and we got the confirmation this Ram Navami,” said Atul. The child prodigy, who has performed in more than 50 public concerts, said, now trains under a professional “I want to be a tabla player and a cricketer when I grow up.”