The curd never became sweet but the music did…


With what words do you describe a musician who devoted his whole life to the pursuit of good music but could not see the day to bask in full, unbridled glory of his achievements? I guess that unfortunate would be the right word to describe Late Nupur Bordoloi who left for his heavenly abode having got but, just a glimpse of a prolific and international music career. After all, how often it is that Assam or the country for that matter, sees the emergence of musicians, who can be termed as ‘export materials’?

A gentle giant, Nupur earned many a nickname during a short but none the least, eventful music career with tenga doi (Sour Curd) being one of them. And though the tenga (sour) tag stuck throughout, his music had always been sweet from the very beginning. It would be wrong to classify Late Nupur just as a keyboardist and ‘maestro’ would be the right word to describe a person of his stature. He was one of the most talented musicians that the region has ever produced and he had been part of some of the most popular and trend-setting musical initiatives of Assam, as well as the north eastern region. In a region lacking in trained musicians, Nupur was amongst the very few graded Western Classical musicians and his journey to International stardom was cut short as he had to fight a losing battle with an adversary like blood cancer.

Despite maintaining an unerring belief in the higher power till his very last moment, life had been grossly unfair to this pioneering musician. During our last meet when he had just recovered from a deadly dose of malaria leaving him totally weak, his faith seemed to have increased manifold. And during our entire chat, while he talked about the importance of faith in our materialistic world, the words of a Khasi guitar strumming crooner kept flashing through my mind,

“Tell a man to paint a picture,

To paint in sorrow, paint in pain.

I will look through the eyes

Of a world driven insane.”

I remember Nupur saying on many an occasion during his last few days, “We are living in such a beautiful world. Man has become so destructive that paap (vice) has engulfed us from all sides. I pray that the pristine glory of this world remains intact and retains, at least some, if not in entirety, some of its earlier glory”.  The paap must have become really unbearable and he left soon after but similar to his nature, he saw to it that the transition from his physical state did not cause any problems for anyone.

An arts graduate from B. Barooah college, Nupur’s music genius had been recognised by a lot of organisations in many places throughout the country. In 1993, he was adjudged the best accompanist (national category) in a nation-wide music competition organised by Mood Indigo, where his band Dorian Platonic had gone to participate. In 1996, he was awarded B-high grade, as a western classical musician of piano accordion, by All India Radio. He had composed music for the award-winning and trend-setting television serial, Preyoxi. Some of the music albums which he had composed are Angelica with Dilip Fernandez (1994), Rosti (music arranged by Bhaya-Mama), Anamika (Zubin Garg), Sinaki Logori and Pahi (Kaberi Goswami), Najaba-Najaba (LIVE by Kumar Bhabesh and Jayanta Kakoti) besides numerous other compositions and Bihu albums. He had also composed the music for an English album, Friends in Touch by Dhruva Sarma.

The musician who loved to admit that he, in fact, loved singing was never happy with the western music scene in the state and his deepest regret was of the fact that people in the State had failed to understand the real beauty of this particular genre of music. A fan of legendary composers JS Bach and L Van Beethoven, Nupur wanted to cut an instrumental fusion album of folk and western classical music which would have again, been a first of sorts. “It all depends on Deepak Baba and Maa Saraswati”, I remember him saying.

And as I followed his mother inside his strikingly sparse room where sunlight had long stopped flowing, Nupur’s visage in the portrait hung along side those of other Gods, evoked a sense of peace and radiance which illuminated the entire dreary surroundings. The person who promised to make a mandir in Deepak Baba’s name seemed to be at peace with himself and with the world which ironically, had always snatched so much from him. I just pray that his soul rests in peace, wherever he may be.

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Posted on January 15, 2010, in Concerts/ Reviews, Day-to-Day, Musicians/ Bands, Personalities/ Interviews, Taking NE sounds to the world and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. today on NETV there was a short program- tribute to late nupur bordoloi which reminded me of my very old friend. whom i met in 1991 as we’ve invited Dorian Platonic to Naharlagun,Arunachal Pradesh to perform a show.prior to that I’ve heard about him in1988 at Kohima, Nagaland that there is a keyboard player who can play throwing the keyboard backward, with his toung, elbows etc.so we’ve invited Dorian Platonic to naharlagun where they (including Rajiv Barua on guitar, Pritam on drums and hriday as a vocalist performed so well esp. nupur with his unique way of playing keyboard. perfomed many numbers. he was such a soft spoken person. may he come back to earth as a human being again and show his unique way of keyboard playing to the whole world.May his soul rest in peace till then.

  2. i still remember him asking “what number shoes does he wear,next morning after the performance,while we sat for breakfast in then HORNBIL HOTEL, Naharlagun.C-sector, as he was taller than average people. he replied in Assamese so gently-” nou number(number nine)”hope somebody will upload his unique performance on youtube,he will remain in our heart forever.

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