Sanjeev Raina | Vice President | Archidply Industries Limited | Part Two

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In the 2nd part of the conversation with Rajesh Prothi, Managing Partner, Absolute Factor & the Founder of www.thecherrytree.in, Sanjeev Raina drifts into the formative years in Kashmir, its culture and how it influenced his life.  The undercurrents of Kashmiri influence and its impact on his professional journey.

 

Which region of Kashmir do you originate from, and what are some of your cherished memories associated with it?

I hail from Kanya Kadal, a place that served as a central point for people to travel from one location to another. One of my cherished memories involves playing cricket on the large lawn of our house. We would gather with cousins and friends, relishing the joy of the game. What made it even more special was the fact that we played with a wooden ball called “Beera” in Kashmiri. We didn’t have any leg pads or other protective gear, so you can imagine the simplicity and innocence of those times.

 

Could you share any interesting anecdote from your time spent in the state of Jammu & Kashmir which still makes you smile?

During the release of the film “HERO,” the iconic flute tune became a viral sensation. I remember playing that tune on the flute and mouth organ under an electric pole outside my house, hoping to impress someone. Even today, this memory brings a smile to my face, as it reminds me of the simple joys and innocent pursuits of my younger days.

 

What are your thoughts on the true culture of Kashmir, where diverse communities coexisted before the 1990s?

To me, the true culture of Kashmir can be summarized by the rituals we observed during occasions like Shivratri and Eid. I recall my father’s friends visiting our home on Shivratri, and likewise, my father visiting his Muslim friends to exchange greetings on Eid. This culture of embracing and acknowledging each other’s festivals and traditions never ceased to exist. I believe this is the essence of the true Kashmiri culture.

 

How has your upbringing as a Kashmiri influenced you as a singer and as a professional?

Being a Kashmiri inherently sets me apart, and it has influenced me greatly as a singer. Surprisingly, I only started singing Kashmiri songs after the events that unfolded in the Valley in 1990. It was an emotional outburst that reignited my connection with my roots and allowed me to explore the beauty of Kashmiri music.

As for my professional journey, my upbringing as a Kashmiri has instilled in me a strong work ethic. Despite the saying that Kashmiris are like donkeys when it comes to work, I am proud to witness the incredible success of fellow Kashmiris, which is a result of their hard work, sincerity, and dedication.

I wasn’t an ardent admirer of Kashmiri music before 1990, but the turn of events in the Valley during that time resulted in an emotional outburst, making Kashmiri music the bridge between my emotions and my roots in the Valley.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring singers, especially from Kashmir, who are just starting their musical journey?

My advice to aspiring singers, especially from Kashmir, would be to learn music and pursue a classical course. The knowledge and training acquired through classical music can enhance your skills and elevate you as a singer.

 

The influence of the family plays a very important role in one’s future growth. What has been your story on this front?

I have been fortunate to grow up in a family where I was always cherished and supported. My parents and extended family have always encouraged me to pursue my passions. Moreover, music runs deep in my family. From my elder uncle to my father and even my sisters, everyone possesses incredible singing talent. Whenever we have family gatherings, you can imagine the musical extravaganza that takes place, creating unforgettable memories.

 

Your career graph has been very constant with one particular industry. Is there any particular reason for that?

Although I initially studied computers and started working in that field, I developed a curiosity for international business (import-export). Alongside my job, I took crash courses in Delhi to gain knowledge in this domain. Eventually, I transitioned into the field of international business, and for the past 26 years, I have been working as the Vice President (Exports) in a leading Indian laminate manufacturing company, heading the International Business division. The reason for my consistency in this industry stems from my genuine interest in it and the rewarding experiences it has provided me.

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