GHAYMPESAL, Dec 13: Playing the sarangi is passion and also a living for Lal Bahadur Gandharba, 71, from Gorkha.
This has been possible for he is committed to preserving his traditional occupation, playing sarangi (traditional stringed musical instrument) on occasions in particular. The tradition is on the verge of extinction for its preservation.
Not only the noble cause he is committed for, the otherwise neglected profession has brought him a main income source to raise his now nine-member family (one of his sons died).
Playing sarangi is the sole income source for Gandharba, which generates approximately Rs 500 a day. His day starts by playing the musical instrument with the hit 'Hamro Tenjing Sherpale Chadhyo Himal Chuchura' by the legendary folk singer Dharma Raj Thapa.
A permanent resident of Ghaympesal at Masel VDC, Gandharba learnt the skill of playing sarangi at 9 from his ancestors. He has not taken rest from the profession since. During initial days, challenges and difficulties were commonplace for him to raise his family members as he could not earn a decent living playing the instrument and singing.
But, he never gave up and continued to struggle only to see happier days at the end when he successfully supported and raised his family members on the occupation.
Now his sons are engaged in various professions (he has no daughter). His elderly son Eka Bahadur is supporting him by engaging in a job to make sarangi. Likewise, his other sons are engaged in other occupations like teaching, army, business and agriculture. He has bought a plot of land at Ghaympesal with income from the profession.
Having worked previously at jobs in Nepal Army and Radio Nepal, he made a niche for himself as a sarangi player later. "I think my life will pass by playing sarangi. I will continue it until my body allows me to work," said Gandharba.
He would earn a monthly salary of Rs 300 when he worked for Radio Nepal 51 years back.
Not always the profession sees paradise. His income from the occupation is dwindling these days. "I would earn Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 on a daily basis during festivals like Dashain and Tihar," he said, adding, "Now I earn hardly Rs 400 to Rs 500 a day." However, he seems content with it. Having got married at 17, he has 11 grandsons and 9 granddaughters.
His only wish is to record his composition entitled 'Kina Diyo Alchhiko Janma' and rebuild his house ravaged by the earthquake of April 25, 2015. RSS