A year ago, when Sajid Shaikh, 18, started learning to compose music, he didn’t enjoy it. Sajid lives in a Panvel shelter home run by the not-for-profit organisation Pratham. Things like an Apple computer, the Final Cut Pro editing software and the recording room were alien to him. Sajid’s mother works as a maid and his father died of tuberculosis when he was 12. The teenager never had the means to think beyond sustaining himself and would sell bangles to make ends meet.
But soon, music grew on him and he began to use computer software to compose music. He was noticed by Muso Magic, a music company, which visited the Panvel shelter, and offered to train Sajid in Australia. He flew to Australia in August.
When he returned to Mumbai in November, things had changed: he was a hero to 20 other boys living in the shelter, who now aspire to become composers like him.
“I never thought I would sit in a plane, let alone going to another country. It was my keenness to learn music and the skills that I acquired at Pratham that got me the chance to learn something new,” Sajid said.
Sajid was a Class 8 drop out when he came to the shelter. He resumed his studies thereafter, and is now pursuing a course in commerce and wants to become a composer.
Pratham wants to replicate the music studio at 20 other shelter homes it runs in the city. “If music can add a zing to their lives why not replicate this model at other centres?” asked Kishor Bhamre, assistant director, Pratham, Mumbai.
“Sajid will train children in the other shelter homes and we will develop studios for the interested children.” Sajid’s friends look up to him. “I never understood the software and was not interested in music. But when I saw Sajid achieving great heights I wished I had also learned it,” said Govind Chavhan, who ran way from Goa and came to Mumbai to meet Bollywood stars.