Sona Mohapatra, a popular singer, composer and lyricist was excited and honoured when she was invited to for a live concert at the Kota Dussera Mahotsav. But her experience there left her less than satisfied.
On November 2, Sona Mohapatra wrote an open letter on her official Facebook page to JC Mohanty — IAS Principal Secretary (PWD) of Rajasthan.
In the letter, she claims that the organising team that called her there made various requests which seemed more like orders, and didn't give her proper time to prepare for the performance nor did they allow her to be able to perform in the environment she required.
She was also upset about the fact that they quite frankly ordered her that she was expected to visit different commissioners' houses for meets as well as to take pictures.
Sona was not informed about the decision beforehand and as it would have disturbed her performance, she requested that all the guests who wanted to take pictures meet in the hotel lounge, and she would gladly oblige their requests.
In her letter she goes on to say, "Since this was not part of my agreed schedule & I had much more important worries at hand being responsible towards putting up a basic performance for my fans who had travelled from far to hear us being the first priority , I requested for the meetings to be held in the hotel lounge . I think it was a fair enough request considering -
1) I hadn't been informed or invited formally in advance . This is the basic courtesy one would expect as an artiste , as a lady & as a guest .
2) The show & performance was top priority & could be in jeopardy considering the arrangements were vague , we had no sound check time , the equipment for the band had to be checked etc
3) & most importantly I myself was feeling breathless after the long dusty ride from Jaipur. Many families & various officials did show up in the hotel lounge thankfully & I was more than happy to meet , greet & take pictures"
Things escalated when she was told that she had to go to meet JC Mohanty at the commissioner's bungalow. She explained it seemed more like an order than a request and she even goes on the say the organisers were theratened that they would not get to do another show in Rajasthan. However, she stood her ground and went on to do her show, only to receive word that JC Mohanty and his wife would meet her on stage.
Sona explained her situation, with her health, the demands of the performance and even paid respect to the work being done by him and the state. She, however, goes on to say that Mohanty and his wife were angry throughout the event.
She later realised that Mohanty took out his anger on the event managers.
The night after these events, Sona says that drunk personnel were banging on her door and she had to hide in another lady musician in the bathroom only to follow a harrowing escape in the dead of the night.
Sona completes the letter by explaining how India might be in the 21st century but our mind sets haven't changed. She explains that as a woman and a guest, she felt that she would have been safe and well treated. Which was not the case, at this performance. She sends her love to all the fans that attended the concert and boldly states at the end, that she will not let this experience scare her, "I'm not going to run away & sit at home because of this . No . That would be too simple."
For the complete letter, click here.