Paroma Chatterjee is a simple girl! She loves to at times laze around in the comfort of her pyjamas with her girl pals, in the cosy of her home, as well as switch to being a hardworking person at home, by doing regular household chores. And JUST simply being herself!
When I chanced upon DJ Paroma’s profile, I wasn’t quite sure of how was she any different from a typical 21st century, modern, city-bred girl! She is brought up in Mumbai; has lived the cosmopolitan life, and is a DJ today! It is so easy for us to assume that her journey must’ve been a cakewalk. But when I took a sneak-peak behind the rose tinted glasses, I was in for a shock!
While I was waiting to meet Paroma at the local coffee shop, I was mindlessly penning some questions that I would ask her during the interview. But that wasn’t necessary at all! What I discovered was simply awe-inspiring, and my questions wouldn’t have even got me this close to the number of challenges that a woman in India goes through to become a DJ.
“Most think, it is very simple for a woman to become a DJ. Girls are smitten by the glam quotient; that involves getting dolled up and wearing skimpy clothes. But being behind the console goes well beyond the realms of just getting dolled up. It involves a dint of hard work to get the crowds to groove in the desired manner.” Yes, but it is way easier for a man!” adds, Paroma. In India a woman who’d like to persue a career in DJ’ing would meet with suspiciously darting eyeballs, snide remarks, sexist comments and attitude and the endless list of negativities that follow, goes on! “I have met with all this and more, and have downed it all with a pinch of salt.”
Paroma started out really young! Probably as young as 17! She though life was a rat race, and if she didn’t make a grab for it, all would be left out! Well, She was not exactly wrong! Hence as soon as she appeared for her Higher Secondary Certificate (H.S.C.) exams, she applied for the Airhostess training programme. A few months down the line she found herself working with one of India’s most preferred airlines.
All was going well, but she was beginning to get bored. “I thought that prospects of being an air-hostess was limiting indeed. The scope of growth was negligible.” Things got slightly better when she started flying international in her last year with the airline. A sudden misfortune occurred while she was on a flight. Paroma lost her father, and had to get back. She religiously followed the airline protocol, of opting out owing to a certain emergency. However the airline didn’t pay heed to the emergency. This compelled her to resign from the airline soon.
Soon after she found herself working with Diesel in Sales and client-servicing executive with Reliance Brands. She quit in three months of joining. Once she did, she found herself in a vacuum, and didn’t know what exactly she wanted to do with her life! She hadn’t graduated, hence the chances of a good job was seemingly meek. All she knew was she had to bring the moolah home, and she had to work! “Back then I would often hang with my friends till late at night. Some of the guy friends were DJs too. That is where the idea popped in my head, and I thought it would be best if I could unleash my creative side. I have always been fond of music, but only as a listener, and taking to being a DJ meant that I was tapping a whole new ballpark. But yet, I wanted to try my hand at it and get into the groove.” Paroma convinced her mother and brother; gained their trust and commenced with the course in DJ’ing. Being a girl, marks and grades played a pivotal role in anything that Paroma undertook to learn. “I was the only girl to enter that class. Eyes peered, and people pulled my leg, but I kept going. I would religiously follow instructions that Bob Omulo (my Kenyan instructor) would deliver at class. I would do my homework (yes! Homework).
The course concluded and I found myself working a basic nightclub in the outskirts of Mumbai as an assistant DJ. I barely made any money, but I was immensely content with what I made. I would spend my free time tapping on the play set. Within no time, someone in Chennai noticed me, and I was invited to play at the famous ‘Candy Club’ on the 24th of December in 2011. I guess I made the waves there, and there was no stopping since.”
Today, DJ Paroma has performed
Over 600 gigs from 2012 to 2018.
She has been the official DJ for Sony IPL Extraaa Innings Season 7 (2014).
She has presided as the jury member for Zee TV Sa Re Ga Ma Pa (2016).
Has presided as the jury member of Zee TV Sa Re Ga Ma Pa (Lil Champs) 2017.
Has been brand ambassador for V-Moda and UDG gear (representing India on their world wide websites as India’s top DJ.)
Hopes to come up with a single.
Even though all is going well, the bends and turns in one’s life takes them off the beaten track. “Very recently I was going through a personal upheaval, and my biggest fear was to lose what I had amassed with such difficulty. It was a trying time indeed. I was being watchful and was mindful of what I was doing and saying all the time. But you know when I was spinning, I realized that I got so engrossed that my friends would literally ask me to look and see what I was doing to the crowd! I was shocked and amazed at the response I was receiving. It was amazing!” DJ Paroma also adds “What I realized was that I was making a deeper imprint on the minds of onlookers.”
Sometimes turbulences in life help jeer one towards their passion in the most unbelievable way. And that is exactly what has got Paroma to be what she is today.
On plans of getting together with someone Paroma stated, “It is indeed hard for an Indian man to accept emancipated women in their life. They think that an independent woman is egoistic, but that is just a superficial view. The actual fact is that emancipated woman totally have their heads on their shoulders, know their responsibility well, and will go all out to help their loved ones when in need. Some clichés really need to be dusted away.”
As we bid adieu I realized that this could be the plight of so many women out there, and so much as just a change in thought is required to make the workings of society smoother.
At Kyra and Vir we urge woman to continue with what they are doing and no give up! It is their right to do what they will, and it is upon the society to judge her, but the truth remains, that being emancipated means being more responsible.
Written by Heer Kothari