Life experiences, the books they have read and their travels play the muse for the three-man band ManaKarma
The previous year gave everyone ample time to reflect on the road not taken. It was the same with Nitin Navratna, Sumantu Kaushik and Ashwin Naidu.
The trio used be engineering batchmates in JBIET, Hyderabad; they also had a band ‘Rev’ and performed regularly. “While in college, we notched closed to 25-30 gigs between 2005-09, playing both Hindi and English numbers,” laughs Nitin, the band’s vocalist.
Though the band catered to public tastes and played covers, Nitin was always writing notes on what could some day turn into lyrics. Though careers eventually took centrestage, they stayed in touch and wondered if they would ever jam again. “To this, Ashwin, who was our bass guitarist, would always say, ‘ManaKarma’, which in Telugu means ‘Our destiny,’ — that if it was in our karma, we would re-band,” reminisces Nitin.
In 2017, work took Nitin to Indonesia and entailed a lot of travelling. “I was always writing whenever I had the time, in between flights.” When Ashwin visted Indonesia in 2018, he and Nitin had a chance to jam again and they began to explore the idea of their own music.
Nitin pulled out all his notes and crafted a song called ‘BinTan’ about his experiences in Indonesia; together he and Ashwin composed around 5-6 songs in those few days. They sent it to Sumantu, the group’s guitarist, and he fine tuned it.
In 2020, they decided to finally get their music going even if it was virtually. It was Nitin’s wife Nalini who set the wheels in motion, roping in Ashwin and Sumantu to complete ‘BinTan’ so it could be launched in time for her husband’s birthday in May 2020.
“She knew we loved the process of making music. Our goal was not make it big in the music industry, but at least create at least 200 songs before our time was up — just put our songs out there for people to listen to and come up with their own interpretations because our music is about our life experiences,” says Nitin.
Current affairs, the books they’ve read and the places they’ve travelled to are all grist to the ManaKarma mill.
Though Nitin is based out of Singapore and Ashwin and Sumantu are in the US, ManaKarma has three songs out and another seven lined up, with an album in the making once they are able to meet in person at a recording studio.
ManaKarma can be heard on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes and Youtube.