Shalini is born into a family of musicians. Her forefathers were singers in the king’s court, and the musical legacy was carried on by her great grandfather and the successive generations. They follow the ‘Dumraon’ and ‘Darbhanga’ Gharana – a glorious tradition of Hindustani classical music. Her father is a music teacher, and so are her uncles and cousins. With such lineage, her home provides an environment conducive to ‘melodious’ learning.
Another side of Life
However, before Shalini’s formal training in music could begin, her younger brother was diagnosed with a genetic disorder. His health deteriorated with time and he passed away at the age of 4. Since they were still too young, Shalini’s younger sister, Shreya, was sent over to her grandmother’s place while she stayed home. She witnessed her parents endure an unbearable loss. The medical treatment had exhausted their savings and it took them a few years to recover, both emotionally and financially.
Shalini was 8 years old when she resumed singing. Along with her sister, she began performing on stage and in ‘jagraata’, an overnight devotional recital dedicated to the Goddess. It was Shalini’s way of contributing something to the family. Their age attracted huge gatherings and they were showered with money. But for every performance, the sisters received Rs 500 each while the rest of the collection was taken away by the musical groups. Noticing the pattern, her father advised them to concentrate on their studies and return to music with a sound academic foundation.
Real and Practical
Shalini had cleared the Jamshedpur audition round for ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs’ but remembering her father’s advice, she decided to stay back and focus on her studies. After the class 10th exams, a second opportunity came in the form of ‘Sur Sangram’, a musical reality show on a popular Bhojpuri channel. Being the youngest contestant on the show, Shalini gained popularity and reached the finals. A year passed in the blink of an eye. Her musical career was about to take off when she received a setback in her Class 12th results. Disappointed with her grades, Shalini couldn’t cash in on the fame and admiration from the show. Keeping everything aside, she aimed at a good educational record.
Shalini finished her graduation and decided to pursue her Masters in Hindustani Classical Vocal from New Delhi. With the money that she had collected from musical shows, she also supported her sister’s higher education. After completing her Master's, it was time for Shalini to build a career in music. She approached many music companies and distinguished personalities for work. But before she could explore the possibilities, her parents contracted the coronavirus while they were in Delhi. ‘Quarantined’ in a room, the family struggled to help each other. Owing to her parent’s health and paucity of funds, Shalini returned home in the small town of Argada, Jharkhand. Her sister picked a job to support the family financially and Shalini was expected to follow the tradition of becoming a music teacher. Determined to find her path, and confident that the right opportunity will come soon, Shalini dedicated herself to the service of her parents.
Since music was akin to breathing, Shalini sang all the time. On one such day when she was singing in the kitchen, her sister recorded a video and insisted that she upload it on her Instagram page.
Shalini hesitated because that video was the humblest representation of her life and home. But with a limited reach of her digital content, she thought nobody may even notice the post.
Waking up to a Viral Video
After 21 days, Shalini woke up to a deluge of notifications. Assured that either her account was hacked or the phone needed urgent repair, she was surprised to see that it was neither. Her video had just gone viral! Crossing more than 25 million views, Shalini's post was an instant hit among music lovers across the country. The video became a benchmark in honesty and humility. People were impressed by her simplicity and exceptional talent. A girl crooning a chart-buster while attending to the chores.
When Opportunity Knocks
While the world took notice of Shalini with a viral video, it had been a long journey for her. Her musical legacy and formal training finally offered her a golden opportunity to embrace a bright future. Flooded with offers, Shalini is now a renowned singer with a significant following. She’s performing in concerts, signing contracts, and receiving recognition on diverse platforms.
Shalini is inspired by the seventh form of Nav-Durga, the fierce ‘Kalaratri’. As the destroyer of demons, evil forces, and dark times, the Goddess bestows auspiciousness and blissful times upon Her devotees. Shalini’s dedication to the Goddess makes her fearless and brave in the face of any situation. She believes in the power of good thoughts and good deeds, and trusts the Universe with its plans. Shalini’s sincerity and devotion to music are reflected in her hard work and soulful voice. Her simplicity continues to win the hearts of millions.