The numerous trips that he makes to various departments of the Regional Transport Office (RTO) to serve tea to the officials do not tire him at all. Irrespective of how his day goes,there is something exciting to look forward to at the end of the day. Prakash Raghunath Jaul,a waiter at the RTO,waits for evening time,as that is when the kettle and tea-cups in his hands are replaced by the pakhawaj,an instrument he started learning three years back. On Sundays,his weekly off,he visits his Guru Pandit Tukaram Anna Bhumar for music lessons during the first half of the day; the rest is spent practising the instrument at the temple near RTO. In the past,he has been a part of the Tukaram Dindi in the city. Very recently,he was one of the pakhawaj players who performed at ‘Taal Ninaad’,a musical programme held in Sholapur.
Jaul,who hails from Mumarshi village in Raigad district,has studied till Std IX. Due to financial problems at home,he came to the city around a decade back and has been working at the RTO canteen ever since. I do not wish to change my job because here at the canteen,my food and stay is taken care of by the canteen owners. If I switch my job,I will not be able to save money for my brothers and my parents, says the 22-year-old waiter. Besides,he says,that his current profession allows him to devote time to the pakhawaj.
Putting aside a small part of his income every month,he managed to save enough to buy a pakhawaj for himself,around three and a half years back for Rs 2000. That’s when he joined the music class on a fee of Rs 300 per month. The reason he gives for his love for this percussion instrument is,”I have grown up watching my father playing this.” Jaul,who stays in the canteen premises,works from 10 am to 7 pm. Everyday,after work,he plays the pakhawaj for more than an hour,which,he says,rejuvenates his mind for the next day.
Ratnakar Joshi,senior clerk at the RTO for the last 26 years,says,I have seen this boy since his childhood. He is extremely hardworking. I have seen him play the pakhawaj a number of times; it’s mesmerising. But,I feel,he needs proper guidance on how he can take this further. Otherwise,his talent will be wasted.
Jaul visits his village once every two-three months. Whenever there is some religious function in the village,he is invited to play the pakhawaj. However,with a salary of Rs 3500 a month and the responsibility of his younger brothers and parents on his shoulder,he is quite unsure about the extent to which he will be able to pursue his hobby,leave aside making it a source of income. As of now,he is content with mastering it.