Do fight with time, make friends with time: Usha Uthup

Gandhinagar: The Unitedworld School of Liberal Arts & Mass Communication (USLM), Karnavati University kickstarted its virtual festival ‘Out of Syllabus’ with an energetic session involving the legendary singer, Padma Shri Usha Uthup.

The pop diva lit up the inaugural session with her unique style, oomph, infectious optimism along with her trademark gajra and bindi. In a conversation with Preeti Das, additional director, USLM, she enthralled the students and faculty of USLM on Thursday morning with her music and anecdotes.

Calling herself a “compulsive optimist”, Ushaji asked the audience to not dwell over the past but live in the present. “2020 was a year when many of us lost a lot of our loved ones to the pandemic. But I always believe in spreading positivity and smiles. I am like a tennis ball the harder I hit the ground the harder I bounce. Don’t live in the past, don’t leave anything for tomorrow, live in the now. Today is fantastic. Tomorrow will be even better,” she said during the opening session of the three-day festival.


Her cheerful disposition rubbed off on to the audience, which danced, clapped, sang along, smiled and even teared up a bit when she sang many of her blockbuster songs including Rari Raro from Sadma, Lallan Fakir – which talks about religion, reason and gender, Shaan se, Rambha Ho, an Assamese song, a song that became popular during the pandemic and a Haryanvi song – Bhajan karo jawani mein, budhapa kisne dekha hai.


In her glorious career of 51 years, she has sung in 17 different languages. “Every language has a certain musicality of its own,” says the singer who has created magic in every song that she has sung. On being asked her opinion of the fusion in folk music, she said, “Don’t lose the essence of folk music when you make a fusion. Best fusion is when you do not need to tell people that it is a fusion.”


For a successful singer who started very young and with no formal training, Usha ji has managed to stay relevant for over five decades and across generations. “Do not run away from or fight with time, make friends with time, accept change. I have adapted to technology because of my love for music and people – they both mean a lot to me. I learnt everything on my own so that I can create good music and stay in touch with people. Like the song I sang – do whatever you have to do today, budhapa kisne dekha hai?,” said the singer who has won many awards including the prestigious Padma Shri title.


On a parting note for the students of USLM, the powerhouse performer shared her secret of staying happy always: My love for singing kept me going during this pandemic. Music and people make me happy. If my audience is happy, I am happy. I do cry during tough times – it is cathartic. Pain shared is pain halved. But do not get depressed. Always look for the good side.”


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