How To Strike A Sweet Note In Your Second Innings

This sexagenarian has made music his second innings charm,  earned a degree in music post-retirement. 

Some guitar time everyday is a must for the 67-year-old
Some guitar time everyday is a must for the 67-year-old

For this 67-year-old retired banker, his second innings has been perfectly sewn with melody and an earnest desire to learn and explore his childhood passion - music. Meet Amarendra Kumar Sinha who made Carpe Diem his post-retirement mantra and seized every moment to soak in music, learn an array of musical instruments and even earn a degree in Classical vocal and tabla. He is now a graduate and proudly flaunts his Prabhakar certificates (Prabhakar Certificates of ‘Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad’ are considered equivalent to B.A. and M.A. in Music respectively. Students graduating from Sangeet Prabhakar (6th Year Diploma) are eligible to apply as TGT/ B.Ed in music in all recognized institutes, education boards and universities as per the laws of CBSE and other education boards) which has been his dream ambition and guess what, he did all of these post-retirement, once again proving that age is just a number. 

The teen that got bitten by the music bug
The teen that got bitten by the music bug

Explaining his companionship with music, Sinha tells us a story that may be familiar to many retirees, “It was the late 60s when music started to fascinate me. As a young boy of 12, I was hooked to Hindi film songs from what you now know as the Golden Era of Bollywood and listened to them on radio, Vividh Bharati to be precise. And while I did that, I tried to sing along in the same manner as the singer. Very soon, the seed had started to grow roots. My love for music grew with me and it was now time to explore musical instruments. I began playing the banjo and harmonium when I was about 16. Next I tried my hand at the Accordion and Hawaiian guitars. In a rather short span, I started playing these four instruments at concerts. We had our own orchestra. But then it was time to take up a job and shoulder responsibilities. Upon joining the bank, music quietly bowed out and went behind the curtain.”

 Sinha was also a sportsman and a good player of cricket, volleyball, and badminton. He played at the district level in the late 80s. “However, it was around this time that I got married and had kids and got super busy being a loving dad to them. Life had kicked in and everything else had taken a backseat; my instruments were lovingly stowed away in the attic. Only the flute remained with me, which I played almost every night. Oh what a calming effect it has on frayed nerves!”

Sinha's flute performance at an event
Sinha's flute performance at an event

Once he  retired from Punjab National Bank in 2015, nothing could stop Sinha’s overflowing love for music. “It was time to bring music back with a bang for which I had waited patiently all these years. I made a head start by learning Indian Classical vocal and the Tabla. Now I have something to count. I graduated (Prabhakar, 6th year) in Classical singing and in Tabla too. It was a dream to have 'Prabhakar' certificates, which I do now! Currently, I am trying to master two more instruments: Spanish Guitar and Violin,” says this energetic musician. 

 Sinha believes that the right attitude makes all the difference. The desire to be the best version of oneself nudges one in the right direction. 

 Sinha did have his share of naysayers. “Some of them tried forbidding me. You are too old to adapt to classical music, they said,” But Sinha pursued his dream. “I had the ability to identify the notes correctly and that helped me a lot. I do not claim to have learnt a lot, but the journey is on!” 

Sinha  began learning Indian Classical music formally at an institute affiliated to Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad. He has learnt ragas for six consecutive years and got the degree of ‘Prabhakar’ from Allahabad which is equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree. His music degree now makes him eligible to train others in music as well, though Sinha remains a learner himself.

“I prefer to learn more and grow further as a musician. I always find myself thinking about the next musical instrument to learn and master rather than joining any school as a teacher. Minting money from music has never been the objective. I just want to enjoy the rest of my life at my own will and sing ‘Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya…’ leisurely.”

Grandson sees a role model in his beloved <i>nanaji</i>
Grandson sees a role model in his beloved nanaji

For Sinha, his silver years are beautiful. And melodious too!” he adds. 

“Apart from learning classical music, trying to sing better and playing classical and film songs on different musical instruments, I try my hand at gardening too. I have a beautiful garden and lawn that I take care of with my wife. We like to plant trees, flowers and organic vegetables and watch them grow. These activities keep me busy all the time.” 

"Although I am diabetic, hypertensive and have multiple stents in my arteries, I do not let illnesses daunt or obstruct me from doing my work. I think music makes me feel fit and fine.” 
- Amarendra Kumar Sinha, 67

Sinha believes music to be one of the best healers at an older age. Do you agree with him? Or, do you have any other post-retirement hobby that makes your older years larger than life? Share with us in the comments section below. 

About the author

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Sreemoyee Chatterjee

Sreemoyee Chatterjee is the content head of Silver Talkies. A curious and talkative storyteller, she loves spending time with and working for the older adults and getting the best for them. Sreemoyee has served as a correspondent and on-field reporter for 5 years. A classical dancer and thespian by passion, she spends her leisure by writing poetry, scripts for stage theatres and listening to countryside music.

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