“When I was 9 years old, my parents started drifting apart so they decided to send me to my grandparent’s house to keep me away from the tension. I studied at Poddar for about 2 years and then shifted to boarding school when I was 11 years…and i hated it. I was miserable. I was a closed off kid who wasn’t really social or good at studies and I just wanted to leave. The only thing I really loved was music, but there was this one audition I took in boarding school where I was rejected and I decided never to try again. I moved back to Bombay to a small school which had only 6 students in my class.
There was this one time when there was an event at school and there was some money in a drawer that I stole. I then went across the road to an alcohol store and bought my first beer from that money. I started stealing from home as well and thats where it all started. It got worse when I went to college…I didn’t know what to do with the new found freedom. There was a pub opposite Nationals where my friends and I would just go and drink all day. In order to support the alcohol I started stealing bigger amounts from my mom. I ended up getting caught a couple of times, went to a shrink, stopped for a while but relapsed soon enough…I would even drink alone. My stealing became worse too. My father had remarried so I stole my step mother’s jewellery and sold it off for almost peanuts and again got caught. They removed me from that college and tried to take control of my life…but It was a little late. I had begun to smoke weed and hash with my college seniors. Over time that progressed to chemicals — anti epileptic tablets. People said half a tablet was enough but I would take 2, then 5 then 10 until I was taking 30 pills a day. I shifted to a having bottles of cough syrup that had opium in it….and I was hooked.
During this time, my mother refused to give me any extra money so I decided to drop out of college when I was 18 and got a job to start earning. I even had a girlfriend who tried really hard to get me out but it didn’t work. I was part of a band, but because of my drugs I left that too. My mother also remarried and moved to Dubai so eventually I had to stay as a PG in Bombay. I got thrown out of 3 different PG’s for stealing and drug abuse. I’ve gotten into shit with the cops for stealing as well. My mother would send me money from Dubai but because I was so addicted, I would spend all of it too soon and then just starve for days together…it was terrible.
At 21, I had reached a point where I was spiralling towards never looking back when my mother flew down from Dubai and reasoned with me to check into a rehabilitation center. I decided to enrol myself in one such centre a little outside Bombay and that’s what changed my life. I was there for 15 months where I was given freedom to write and pursue what I wanted. I started song writing and singing and even worked there for a few years after.
It was difficult coming back to Bombay and start fresh. I was terrified and for the first year I just focused all my energies on work. I got a diploma in Sound Engineering, worked with Channel V, Web 18 and still focused on my music. A few years later… after I had sent out my work to almost everyone I had a breakthrough. I got to sing 2 songs for a movie and I haven’t looked back since.
What’s it like being sober? I’ve been sober for 13 and a half years and I can say it’s the reason I’m happy today. It’s the reason I’m grateful today. For my family who has loved me through my best and my worst and in fact loved me harder when I was so difficult to love. For the hundreds of second chances I got.
Today I’m living my dream of being a musician and I’m engaged to the woman of my dreams who accepts my past and loves me. My message? Using drugs is not cool…being dependent can ruin your life. It’s never to late to turn it around so don’t stress about what people say. Those who love you will no matter what, and that’s all you really need.”