Paras Gazmer sees life in a different light and when his feelings find vent in verse, he moves his audience to tears.
The 38-year-old DGHC cultural and information department employee’s love for music is only rivalled by his grief for being born blind. “It is the anguish of being denied the gift of vision to see the wonders of the world that find expression in my songs,” he says.
For Gazmer, a musician, composer and lyricist all rolled in one, it was only the “overriding passion that has seen me through years of dedicated struggle and given me a reason to love whatever I have.”
A guitar player, Gazmer took the music scene by storm with two successive albums—Sajha Ko Gham(the evening sun) and Mero Bhagya (my destiny)—with the latter having been nominated the best Nepali album in 1999 by the Grihalaxami Association, Darjeeling. He has also composed songs for the famous husband -wife Nepali duo, Uday and Manila Sotang.
“I've done everything in the albums but just could not sing songs which truly reflected my feelings,” he rues. But the optimist in him soon takes over when he says he found solace in the fact that he could rope in another blind singer, Iswar Kafley, from Kathmandu, to sing the title song of Mero Bhagya. “Only he could have felt the pain and bring out the pathos and passion in the songs,” he said.
Born in Tindharia, Gazmer was drawn to music at the age of 10 “when I went to the Blind School(Salvation Army) in Kalimpong.” There, hearing his seniors make good music, “I decided to give it a shot”.
From then on, there has been no looking back. “I have not seen what a music notation looks like. And without institutions to teach the handicapped in Darjeeling, I made the radio my guru,” he says, smiling. “It has been an uphill climb, but I look back without regrets,” he adds.
Singing songs and playing music in Calcutta, Midnapore, Nagaland, Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Dhulabari, Dharan and all over Sikkim and the northeast, Gazmer has won himself many admirers. “Everytime I perform, I am told that the audience cannot hold back their tears. But some are moved by my condition. This is not what I want them to associate me with and I usually crack jokes in between to liven the mood,” he says.
Gazmer is currently working on a yet untitled album. His fans might just get what they yearn for— his songs sung by him.