Parvathy Manjunath is a 21-year-old who personifies the title of ‘Active Woman’. Her interests lie in a wide range of activities – singing, painting, sketching, designing, recycling, gardening, and cooking. Born in Kochi, Kerala, she shifted to Bangalore along with her family when she was 13 and is currently pursuing a degree in BSc Interior Design.
In this interview, RJ Shilok requests Parvathy for a song and is stunned by her mesmerising voice. The verses brim with emotion. Parvathy began singing at the age of 2; she says that her first words as an infant were, “sa re ga ma pa”. She first began her training in Carnatic music in Kerala from Dakshina Murthy Swamy at the tender age of 2-and-a-half. She later went on to learn Hindustani music from Ustad Fayyaz Khan in Bangalore.
Music has helped transform Parvathy’s perception of the world. Her love for music helped her connect to Mathematics since she began to see the world in musical patterns. It has taught her to be more open and receptive to the world.
But, there have been some sour notes on this journey. She was ignored by her friends for a very long time since her right arm is shorter than the left. Her family decided to move to Bangalore to shield her from this treatment. Here, she joined Shibumi School at Somanahalli Village for her education. The place taught her to be independent and the importance of self-respect. Post-Shibumi, she says, no physical challenges have come her way.
Inspired by her father, who chose organic farming over working in the software industry, Parvathy is very concerned about sustainable development. She feels a natural pull towards eco-friendly art and recycling. She believes that these themes will continue to be integral parts of her work in interior design as well.
RJ Shilok asks her when she feels most like a woman. “When I am menstruating, and when I wear a sari,” Parvathy replies. “I am also reminded of my femininity when I have to walk alone on a street.” She talks passionately about deep-seated internalisation of social norms and gender roles. However, she says, that she has stopped getting stressed about discrimination against women. “They will always have a problem with whatever you do. It is your choice to listen to it or not,” she says. Appropriate parenting, she says, is the crux of the solution to moving past issues of social discrimination and gender bias. Parvathy believes that she is blessed with complete parental support. Her parents have never restricted her from acting upon her choices. Furthermore, her notion of equality is practical and interesting. She believes in providing people with resources that fulfill each of their unique requirements.
Her message to all women is, “Do not back out. A difficulty is just God testing you.”
Productivity and environmental sensitivity are at the top of Parvathy’s list of priorities right now. She finishes the interview with a perfect gift – a Malayalam song. The vibes of her music linger in the studio long after she has left.
Written by Vybhavi Adiga.