He breaks your stereotype thinking, to become versatile - Suraj HM

We listen to a lot of people who say, "you cannot achieve if you focus on multiple disciplines". Read about this versatile persona, who stands as an example for multiple achievements at an early age of 22!
IJ Kavyashree
Published on: 14th December 2015
Meet Mr. Suraj HM, a multi-talented, young man, who, once used to dream of becoming a celebrity, today, has created a story for himself with a huge list in his bag of achievements. By passion, he is a Percussionist, well versed in playing instruments like Tabala,Tumba, Dholak, Drums and Jambe. He is also a choreographer and a cartoonist, having created his identity in all the above disciplines. There is more in the list. Let’s know more about what he does and how he happened to achieve!

IJ Kavyashree : Suraj, it isn’t easy to have attained this level of success, in the field of music, without much of practice. Could you share a little about your journey with Music?

Suraj HM : My father took me to a teacher when I was 4 years old, to learn Tabala. Unfortunately, the teacher refused to teach me, as I was too small a kid to learn music and also, my hands were very small to play the instrument. Hence, my father joined classes, and his learning started as a Tabala student. I used to watch my father practice daily and so, my learning started here at home. After a few days I started playing the same notations as my father used to practice at home. That was the start of my music career.
Suraj HM
Once there was a function in our school, where famous light music singers were invited as guests, one of my favorite singers was Late. Sree Raju Ananth Swamy and he was also present there. My dad bought me a set of tabala, made me sit next to him to play tabala for his songs, I started playing, Raju sir was amazed seeing me play tabala on the podium and he said, whenever he had a concert in that locality, I had to be with him for playing tabala. I happened to give 3-4 concerts with him and that was a privilege to me. I finished my junior exam in tabala, when I was in 7th grade and I still wonder how I could do this, without having noted down any of my lessons in a book. I still don’t maintain a book, but I have already cleared visharada exam, a higher level of examinations in tabala.

IJ: That’s incredible to know. So, how did the other part of your life as a dancer begin?

Suraj: I was an above average student in school and also, actively participated in all cultural activities, school level, district level & state level. I loved being with people and learned as many things as I could. That’s how, I got the interest to dance and started watching videos of best dancers and used to practice at nights when everyone slept. My father did not like western dance or culture to be learnt, so I had to secretly practice it when no one would be at home. It was then my parents got to know that I dance when they saw me performing on the day of school’s annual function. Now I know percussion, singing, drawing and dancing.

IJ: A lot of youngsters face challenges in working towards their passion, since the parents are more focused on academics. Did you not happen to face any such challenges?
Suraj HM
Suraj: It’s obvious that challenges are bound to be faced when we are walking towards our dreams, especially, when you are a student. When everything was going really well and happy, almighty wanted to put us in the “game of thorns”, it was a biggest blow to the family. We were “frauded” by people around, we got threat calls and I was about to get kidnapped but they failed twice. I would like to thank all my friends in my PU College who supported me a lot during my bad times. I learnt to respect friendship from those days and I still follow it. Everyone had lost hopes and we were all in the position to end things in our live. Everyone’s frustration would be shown on me, my father used to scold me every day, and I decided not to have a talk with him and for next 2 years we never had a proper conversation. What do I do for my expenses? This is when I started to choreograph dance for other school students or any other college guys, and used to manage my expense with that money. I and my sister started to give public programs with my sister’s friend’s team who is a well known singer in sandalwood industry now.

IJ: How about your education? Any particular inspiring experiences or incidents in your college days you wish to share?

Suraj: It was then a second blow in my life, final year of my degree B.Sc computer science.

Due to university’s mistake, everyone in the class were failed in one or two subjects. I had to wait for a year to clear the papers. When I was in second year of my degree, my friend had started a robotic company called Credence Robotics. I too joined hands and decided to conduct a robotic workshop. I was given the role of a manager for this startup company and this was the first event I had taken responsibility of, I took it very serious, used my contacts and was able to pool in 40 teams at first with 0 investments. This event was a great success and we continued with other workshops. When I got to know that I had to wait for a year to write my subjects to get it passed, I only had this work of organizing workshops, give programs, and I was learning drumming too. So, nothing apart from my programs and workshops.
Suraj HM
IJ: So, How did you happen to get such a wide exposure of the society and connect to so many entrepreneurs?

Suraj: There was a meeting fixed by my friend to collaborate with a company called Xovian, and I call this point of time, the ‘turning point of my life’ and I would like to mention the names of the officials with whom we had the meeting, Sujit Lalwani sir, Bharath GC sir and Mohan BN sir. There started the journey with them! After the discussion on the collaboration, I happened to know about a platform founded by Sujit sir, for the growth of youth, which bridges the gap between industry / corporate and students, called as i3 - influence-inspire-impact, a very different concept, students will get exposed to various fields and they will get to know something about every field. I had to go for a program in Pune, I was in a dilemma, whether to attend the concert or to join i3, I thought for a day and then decided to join i3. Money was the problem that time. so again choreography was the way and also mom supported it and my dad was as usual totally against it.

The conference based workshop started on the 5th of March, 2014 with 0th conference. The first few weeks, we were given themes and accordingly, we had to implement our project, number of impacts in an innovative way would matter a lot and I could do a very few impacts close to 100 as I was not that serious about it. I saw other delegates receiving the ‘delegate of the week’ award for their best implementations. Not only did I execute projects, I also happened to meet a lot of achievers. It was during the fifth conference, when I was triggered by Mr. Ashok Shankar Rathode, founder of OSCAR foundation. I impacted 800 slum kids for that week’s theme. I was also nominated for the tag of ‘delegate of the week’, for about 5 different weeks’ projects. The best projects were, health and hygiene, digital India, women empowerment, 36 meals, PROJECT S.H.A.R.E, connect with NGO.

IJ: What do you feel is the biggest achievement of life, having yourself involved in various platforms?

Suraj: There is a hierarchy in i3, according to impacts done in all projects, where the highest position was True IUITE. Only 5 among 100 would get this. Slowly certificates were given, my father had a look at me and signalled me asking about my certificate and saying that I am fit for nothing. It was the final 5 calls, everyone had got the certificates, it was only me and 4 other people without one. Then, there was a call from our lovely mentor, the inspiration himself, Sujit sir, who called out my name. There was applause from the crowd, I ran to the stage and was also searching for my parents. I could find only mom and sister in the front rows, I searched for my father and I saw him at the end of the auditorium. He was applauding for me from there, to hide his tears from me, that day I actually felt that I made my father proud. I received the certificate with my parents and is the biggest achievement I believe!

IJ: What after i3? Your current projects?

Suraj: After i3, I got a lot of opportunities as a judge, mentor, speaker etc.

I was invited as a mentor and judge for business plan competitions organized by PESIT university, MLACW college and many more. I joined MBA after i3, to know the theoretical portion behind entrepreneurship. I was also invited as a guest speaker for i3 season 1, Hyderabad.

I got connected with one of the counsellors, Mr. Ritesh Goyal, the youngest chairman, and a very good brand manager and presently, the college GIBS B-School is one of the different concept college which is purely designed for students. I am the trustee head for GSF and GBF. I’m also the CMO at innify.com, which focuses on lodging factors, for people from anywhere, around the world. IJ: Your message for today’s youngsters would be?

Suraj: Focus on your dreams. Be firm with your decision and don’t care for what others say as far as you know you are right! Connect to right people who can guide you.

Today, Suraj shows how an individual, with right platform and guidance can achieve anything one wants to, in spite of the challenges he or she faces. He stands as a hope for many, who have similar dreams!
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