Boy, is he growing? Some people, they say, are born to achieve. Namma Mysuru’s Ananya Vasudev R M is one such promising personality who is destined to go places in the years to come. At first sight, he may not impress you, but when you dig deep, he is more than what you think. He can talk on science, environment, wildlife, human-animal conflict, Carnatic music, Hindustani music and what not. The list can only grow from here. A few months shy of 25, Vasudev is a busy man these days. Though his hands are tied with a tight schedule, this man is not the one to complain. If he says being busy gives him a kick, it is not without a reason.
Born in a typical middle-class family that always stands for virtues of life, Vasudev couldn’t have asked for anything better. Father G K Raveendrakumar, Assistant Director at AIR, Bhadravathi and Dr M R Mandaravalli, both writers, know what their son wants. Time and again, Vasudev doesn’t forget to mention his parents’ influence on him.
A post-graduate in Earth Science and Resource Management from Kuvempu University, Vasudev’s early days dot back to Karwar and Dharwad where he studied till class V before the family moved to Mysuru. After completing PU from Christ PU College, Vasudev was Yuvaraja’s College to pursue what he liked the most. That he stood first in the final degree came as no surprise.
Vasudev has been a wildlife enthusiast since his childhood. “The scenic beauty of Karwar and Western Ghats might be the reason. When I was in 9, I participated in a summer camp conducted by Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden. There they taught us many aspects of wildlife, behaviour of wildlife, need of conservation, etc. Later in BSc, Environmental Science was one of the core subjects which enriched my knowledge. From then I used to participate in almost all the seminars regarding environment and wildlife and most of them were ‘Conservation Speak’. Many officers shared their practical knowledge and challenges they faced. This made me strong in my approach towards wildlife. I have involved in many search and rescue operations of wildlife and human wildlife conflict management.”
If you think this man is all about science and nothing else, you are mistaken. He is also doing well in music. He has learnt Carnatic, Hindustani and tabla. His performances at various concerts have come in for praise.
Vasudev is able to strike a balance between two different worlds – science and music. He proudly of boasts of the project on elephants that has won him accolades from all quarters. Though he is active in many areas, Vasudev is firm when he says he wants to find a solution for all geo and environment-related problems that the world is facing. In the same breath, he says, “I want to achieve more in the field of music as well.”
How do you look at your career 10 years down the line?
It’s too premature for me to say about my future in 10 years in this changing world .Right now I am active in various areas. I want to be a solution for all the geo and environment-related problems which the globe is facing. I want to achieve more in the field of music.
Tell us something about your academics.
I started my primary education at Government School, Police HQ, Karwar and completed 3rd standard at Gyan Mandir School. I continued 4th and 5th standard at Pavan English Medium High School, Dharwad. I completed my higher primary education at Gnanaganga Vidya Peetha and Rotary West Mysore Schools. I studied High School at Bharateeya Vidya Bhavan, Mysuru. For PUC, I chose Christ PU College, Mysuru. I did BSc in Chemistry, Earth Science and Resource Management and Environmental Science from one of the oldest and best institutions – Yuvaraja’s College where I got 1st rank in Environmental Science. I came to pursue my Masters in Earth Science and Resource Management at Kuvempu University, Shivamogga. I had to study at various places because of transfers of my father G K Raveendrakumar who works for All India Radio.
Could you recall your childhood? How much did you enjoy?
Most of the best moments of my childhood were at Karwar and Dharwad. Karwar is a coastal city where I spent most of my childhood. I used to play in the beach building hills in sand. My parents frequently took me to beach and one compulsory thing was a cone ice cream at beach. Dharwad gave me best friends. I can happily say my childhood was a gifted one and I should also thank my parents for providing me a wonderful childhood.
Your parents are a big name in the society. What kind of support you get from them?
Yes, my father is a noted poet and writer who has brought 13 collections and works for AIR Bhadravathi as Assistant Director of programmes. My mother Dr M R Mandaravalli is a noted writer who has brought 6 collections. My parents give me both moral and financial support. They correct me whenever I am wrong. Analysis of many topics will be a common talk at our house which has improved my analytical thinking..
Are you under any kind of pressure that you need to carry on the family legacy?
My parents have never pressurised me. They have told me that the culture in heart should never change.
You have done a project on behaviour of elephants. Could you explain?
Music is the sound of nature. In other words one can see nature through music. Each and everything is music, the chirping of birds, rustling of leaves etc. We have music therapies in many lead hospitals for human beings. But there are no such therapies ever successfully introduced to wildlife. The therapies mainly depend on the response of a person to music. For example some may love Hip Hops. Some may love rock and some love melodies. Understanding the response of an animal to the music is challenging. I took “Behaviour of Elephants to music in captivated condition and acclimatization” as my dissertation work at B.Sc. with the support of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) I worked at Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary. My research elephant was ‘Kanthi’ a Dasara elephant. As I was into Hindustani classical music I knew the qualities of different ‘Ragas’. Like Veera ras, Shringaara ras, Bhakti Ras etc. I used to correlate the behaviour of elephants with these qualities of ragas and I could calm down the elephants whenever they were in stress. I would like to say one important thing that calming down an animal is very much important to treat it or to bring situations under control (human wildlife conflicts) and most challenging too. When they are stress free the animals respond to the medicine effectively. I could calm down 5 pachyderms through music during my research many a time. So music can act as parallel medicine to the main course of treatment and also will be most effective in handling elephants during ‘Masth’ period.
You are also into music. How is the journey so far?
My father was interested in music and my mother was my first guru. She taught me singing when I was 2. For a few months, I learnt Carnatic music from Doddamani at Karwar. Later on I was attracted to Hindustani classical music especially Kirana-Gharana style. I am a disciple of Pt. V.G. Patil (Karwar), Pt. Sreepad Hegde(Dharwad), Pt. Nagabhushan Hegde (Mysore). I learnt light music from AIR Music composer G Pushpalatha. I cleared Hindustani vocal junior examination. I love tabla very much since my childhood. I am a disciple of Pt. Ramachandra and Pt. Bhimashankar Bidanur who are disciples of Pt. Shree Puttaraja Gavayee. I cleared tabla Junior examination with distinction and stood second in the Mysore Zone. I cleared Gandharwa examination conducted by Akhila Bharateeya Gandharwa Maha Vidyalaya, Pune with distinction. I got an opportunity to perform both music and tabla at various places. One such opportunity was I could represent Kuvempu University at South Zone University level competition. Music has helped me in modulating and controlling my voice.
You are fully occupied with something or the other. How do you manage your day-to-day activities?
I have a busy schedule which I happily manage them effectively. At present I am working as a guest lecturer at Government Science College, Bangalore and I work 3 days in a week. I am also a casual announcer at AIR Bhadravathi and I host a show Nimma Laifu Namma Duniya. Wildlife is a passion and whenever my presence is necessary I attend it and rest of the time I use for my music and for International Association for Geoscience Diversity works for which I am an International Ambassador (India).
Positive and negative sides of Ananya.
Let me start with positivity. I am adventurous, dedicated, determined, sincere, go-getter, patient. If I have to look at my negative side, I am little sensitive to certain issues.
Some of your achievements.
International Ambassador (India) at International Association for Geoscience Diversity.
Member at International Geoscience Education Organization.
Resource Person at 7th International Earth Science Olympiad.
MAP HUNTER -2015 award by HERE MAPS
B Grade drama artist at All India Radio Mysore
Participated in National level music competition twice conducted by All India Radio (2011 & 2013)
1st place in ‘Sahyadri Sirigandha’ twice (2014 and 2015)
1st Place in ‘Sahyadri Utsava’ twice (2014 and 2015)
Nirankushamathi Gold Medal Award -2016 for excellence in curricular and extra-curricular activities.
What is so special about Mysuru?
Mysuru is a cultural city which supports artistes from different areas. Its climate and nature motivate you to do good things. People are so kind enough to support and appreciate good works.