It was just another evening at the Satin Creditcare Network office in Gurugram when the guards heard an unexpected reverberation from the CMD’s cabin. Much to their surprise, and relief, it was just HP Singh playing his newly installed Havana drum set. “This was two years ago. Now I play in the office four to five times a month,” Singh says, and the guards are no longer taken by surprise when he starts working those cymbals and pedals.
The top boss at the non-banking financial company shares that he had always been in love with musical instruments. In school, Singh took part in many musical events, but it was in college that he finally discovered the joy of playing an instrument. He started practising on a kit that belonged to a friend. “He was my first sortie into drums. I would watch him play and then give it a go,” he recalls. Today, it’s more than just a hobby. “It adds to my mindfulness and keeps me happy,” he says.
Holding a demanding job in the financial services sector does not deter Singh from pursuing his passion. In fact, it is what helped him rediscover his beat. “I had stopped playing for a long time after college, but a fast-paced professional life drove me back to it,” he says. He realised he needed a passion besides work, and even hired a professional teacher. “I missed my first few classes to attend several urgent meetings. The tutor was initially patient with my erratic attendance, but he gave up after three weeks,” Singh guffaws. Nevertheless, he remained a persistent student by taking online tutorials. He hopes to find time for formal training later in life.
He draws inspiration from the musical stalwarts of his era such as the Bee Gees, Eric Clapton, Judith Avers and Stevie Wonder. But Singh mostly goes freestyle. “Discovering new beats is like discovering new business strategies. You have a blank canvas in your instruments, and it’s up to you to stitch the right tunes,” he says. He believes it doesn’t matter what the music is, so long as it sounds good to the one listening or creating it.
Singh installed a drumset in his office to destress after long hours of work, and he jokes that he isn’t allowed to make any ‘noise’ at home. He usually plays for 15-20 minutes in the evening when the office is fairly empty. “After a long day at work, this is when I am in my personal zone, away from the responsibilities and worry,” he says.
Singh played in front of an audience for the first time during an offsite office event about two years ago. A few of them organised a small show where they played various instruments. “I played my own drumbeats. It was thrilling. I was nervous at first, but that’s how it starts for everyone,” he says. His passion keeps him high in spirits and works like therapy. “Practice and discipline can help any novice learn how to play,” he says. May we add, an empty office helps, too.