Shriya Gupta - The Nation's Rock Beat
It all goes back to the night when she had to make the ultimate decision. After taking a year gap from her academics, Shriya was trying to find her way into an IIT or NIT. But deep down in her subconscious mind, she knew that she won’t be able to make it into a good college. By the time she had already discovered an inclination towards studying literature, arts and film making. The decision to initiate a conversation with her parents regarding the same did not go well. The conversation led to arguments, then to fights and ended up in tears of disappointment. That night her dad walked up to her room and made her understand that leaving the aim of getting into a reputed engineering college in between is not advisable. Now, there was no turning back. Her father suggested her to complete her engineering for the sake of degree and then afterwards make a choice of her own.
“When you are having an ongoing discussion or an ongoing battle, you come to a point when you realize that the saturation point has been attained for both the parties. And I knew it at that moment, that night was no different. I understood that I need to derive a conclusion now”, mentioned Shriya.
That night she had two options on her plate- First, to let go of her dreams and continue her engineering. And second, to work after four years down the lane and then maybe at the age of fifty she could go back to do something that she really likes and always wanted to. Instead, she chose the second option. She thought why not to do it simultaneously while she was completing her engineering? Why not ensure that she keeps the boxes of her passion and profession checked? Why not try to unfold that imaginary thread by which both the weights can be balanced perfectly?
Shriya realized that there might be so many people out there going through the exact same situation. And that's how she motivated herself and began the journey of her life, balancing both her passion on one hand and her profession on other.
She wanted to build a space which determined a certain perspective of attitude in the people. An attitude or rather mindset that “you can balance your profession and passion together irrespective of all the hurdles”.
THE NATION'S ROCK BEAT
Initially, it was known as “Hyderabad Rock”. The term ‘rock’ was used because Hyderabad is a city which was built on rocks and because the term ‘rock’ gave a funk vibe to it. The second reason behind keeping the name simple was that the team aimed it to be an online magazine space or a Hyderabad daily magazine. The people contributing to the same task were known as “Rock Jammers”.
Eventually while connecting with people across the nation, the name “Hyderabad Rock” was questioned. That's where a name was suggested “Nations Beat” by Shriya along with rock added to the latter part, which would further help them to stick to the pattern or structure that they had created. Later they thought to omit 'Rock' but by then it was too late because “NRB” as an acronym had already gone famous. It had become a brand in Hyderabad and revamping at this point would be a wrong choice.
NRB started with a Facebook page. Initially, they focused only on online and digital media. Shriya and her team started to reach out to people within their friends and family, also to the people they came to know of at different phases of their life who were good artists, photographers and writers. The first phase started with convincing the general audience a lot to join them, as it was a new platform. But eventually hard work pays off. NRB faced a turning point when Shriya got introduced to Srini. The one who opened the Pune chapter for NRB.
The second phase was led by Pavan, who introduced NRB to many artists in Hyderabad. He shared an idea of putting a music band together. At each phase of this process, Pavan gave more than his 100 per cent. They struggled to find a place for practicing together and were facing obstacles every time. At one point, they started practicing at a singer's place with the band and that is how the first band came up - VIVID. NRB was now open to the arena of performing arts.
Just like metal gets attracted to a magnet, Shriya was attracted to performing arts as if she was born to do it. She was mesmerized with the creation of performance because it was so live. One can see art and photography live but those have certain intangible restrictions like they are dependent on the philosophy of “living at the moment”. One can live the art of capturing a photograph only during a certain time. But when it comes to the creation of band, music, dance or theatre, the process of creating the song, the act or the performance which happened right in front of her eyes was really enthralling for her. The entire process of construction of a song, revising it over and over again and finally seeing them perform live every time with the same aura, energy and enthusiasm was something that gave Shriya peace and rendered her many lifelong lessons.
NRB soon started with organizing their own events. The first event was similar to a Ted Talk. It was a platform dedicated to youngsters, who weren’t supposed to have a high prolific profile. The aim was to give them a platform where they can share any idea they wanted to talk about. Pranavi joined NRB as an event organizing head. The Roller coaster ride of amazing events filled the team of NRB with a lot of learning, planning & organizational skills.
As of today, NRB has close to 8 bands and 1 huge dance team, along with smaller dance groups which are a part of ‘Nritya’ i.e. a classical all-girl team. They are looking forward to having an all-boys team as well. Further, they have theatre production team, street play team and an all-girls street play team which is in collaboration with girls from St. Francis. NRB also has a special bomb packet consisting of beatboxers, rappers, magicians and stand-up comedians. It all picked up when NRB started to connect with people in their events.
The major chunk of the success that NRB enjoys today came in when they bought their first shot at Hyderabad Literary Festival, which Shriya owes to her senior Priya Bandhari. She constantly looked out for her. She played a significant part in the success of NRB. Priya was working as an intern during her college days at HLF and there she proposed to the directors about NRB. That ’s how they got on board. HLF has been one of the journeys which taught them a lot. It helped them to move a step closer to the epicentre, where people started recognizing NRB. And this was a complete game-changer!
Within 3 years NRB, achieved what it aimed by moving towards more structured and more organized way of working. That is why they have a community manager Vikasini in place who is doing a tremendous job. NRB is now looking forward to get registered officially. It is planned to achieve before June 2020 . This year NRB completes its 5 years, which is quite a milestone! They are looking forward to having their own office space in Hyderabad. A community space with a lot of creative ideas, art & activities. Shriya states that she is extremely blessed and grateful for the artists and the people who have been the catalyst and helped push NRB at one point or the other.
Shriya said, “I have to give my friends the credit that they have been my backbone in making me believe that I can do it”.
She dreams of living and achieving that day when they have a nice courtyard, has a chef who cooks meals for the entire NRB family and they dine together on a big dining table spread across the courtyard.
“I am ready to trade anything to have all the three meals with the entire family of NRB”
At the end of her interview, Shriya gave a huge shoutout to all the NRBians. NRBians are the people who helped her discover that imaginary thread by which she is helping all of her family members to hold their creative and professional life together, at distance and perfectly balanced. Someone has rightly said, “its your people who make your dream come true”.
Cheers to the NRB family.