How easy is it to live in a shadow of another person? Yet Dev Narayan Pradhan finds himself blessed when people around refers him as ‘second Narayan Gopal ’. Lord Ganesha is always worshiped before any occasion and in nepali music it is said Narayan Gopal, the greatest and the biggest exponent of nepali music is remembered. To be associated with such legendary voice is my biggest gift I have ever received, says Dev Narayan Pradhan.
His evergreen song ‘Kati kura nabhanera nai metha metha huncha’ from his only solo album released some 15-16 years back was a big hit among school goers like me. To meet this man of golden voice was no more than an opportunity un-expected. Occasion was the Maghey Mela opening at Rongli and he was among few invited singer guest on the occasion. It was good of Bhanu Daju (Bhanu Gurung), a musical talent from Sikkim who happened to be my wife’s family member and Sunil daju, my wife’s twin brother who brought Dev Narayan Pradhan at Bikash daju, Suni’s elder brother at Sungdung for an overnight halt. We were all celebrating Tamu Lochar out there.
I have seen his (Dev Narayan Pradhan) photograph from his nepali album when I was at final years of my schooling. What I remembered was a man in black suit with a pencil-touch moustache catching hold of a microphone. The man before me that evening was an elderly person, a simple soul and his better half as easy going as him. All of a sudden there was a buzz among the family members of his arrival all preparing to be introduced. Me too was in a line and believe me I wished to touch him. I have heard about him but to come across him where I could feel his breathing was never thought upon. Bhanu Daju introduced me to Dev Narayan Pradhan. The next 16 -17 hours he stayed with us was no more than a magic moment I will treasure a lifelong.
There was off course a music session till late evening, Dev Narayan Pradhan singing few of his personal song and naturally his master’s song too. Bhanu Daju in guitar supporting the legend; Tamu Lochar, the Gurung New Year had begun. I could see people sitting around clapping and making merry of the golden moment I would better call it. There was an exchange of songs, I felt it great that most of my in-laws are good singers and everyone enjoyed the moment. Suraj Daju even sang Dev Narayan Pradhan’s song which he could not hold his smile back. I was all capturing the moment in my cameras as I always do.
The next morning, our relationship too had changed, I was more comfortable calling him ‘daju’ and he did not hesitate to call me ‘jawai’. Being associated with media, when I was talking with him, I could feel I was taking his interview. He shared many on his musical journey and for a listener like me it was like reading a book. According to Dev Narayan Daju, his failure to come across in person with Narayan Gopal always pinches him. He was in touch with Narayan Gopal through letters and Dev Narayan Daju even had send his music cassette but the legendary singer passed away couple of days prior to their proposed meet. Daju went on to say he was in touch with Narayan Gopal’s wife for the long time till her death.
I wanted to know from him about that particular moment when in a programme on Narayan Gopal at Kathmandu, his song brought Narayan Gopal’s wife in tears. He said, he had always sung with passion and ‘with a feel’ and it was that feel of a song that brought her tears. During that programme, he was given a security and whenever he and his wife visited, security guards also followed them. It was something very strange and a proud moment for us, he recalled.
Born to a family where his parent died when he was a child, Dev Narayan Pradhan did not complete his schooling. Music being his pleasure passion, he followed it and today he has status of his own.