Imagine this: it is your birthday and you hear the doorbell ring...and what happens next will probably qualify on being listed in your book of memorable moments. A small crowd of singers (minus the traditional Mexican costume and the sombrero) are at the door ready to ring in your birthday as they animatedly strum and sing a medley of your favourite tracks—all of this on request of someone special.
Calling themselves The Singing Kabootar (TSK), this service was started by Shrikant Sreenivasan, a musician and co-founder of the band Coshish, along with his friend, Amanda Sodhi. Talking about the thought behind this start-up, Sreenivasan says, “Today, there is so much stress in everyone’s lives that we tend to not give our best to our loved ones. Distance has become a huge issue in most relationships. This service is famous abroad and we thought Indians too would find this appealing.”
Blazing a trail
It is surprising how some brilliant ideas are, more often than not, born out of the ordinary. It was not any different for TSK. When Sreenivasan and Sodhi decided to surprise a friend on his birthday in a similar manner, they had not anticipated that it would become a business venture for them. The positive reaction of their friend, who claimed, “It was the best birthday celebration I have ever had,” got the duo thinking—what better than using one’s skill to spread joy and happiness and making some money out of it?
Happy with the response garnered by their pilot for Valentine’s Day, TSK officially started their services for Mumbaikars in March this year. Why the quirky name? Sreenivasan replies, “Ours is similar to the age-old concept of delivering messages through pigeons, the only addition is the ‘singing’ part.”
Not just for those who want to express their love on special occasions, this facility also caters to NRIs who look to making their families feel special in spite of the geographical distance between them.
Boston-based M Shetty got in touch with TSK to surprise her family in Khar. She says, “Despite giving less than two days’ notice, they were very prompt. It is evident from the way they conduct their business how passionate they are about what they do.”
Enthusiastic about expanding this venture to other cities, starting with Pune, Sreenivasan says, “We will soon be looking out for NGOs, who can support us in visiting orphanages and old age homes, meeting kids and elderly people and surprising them with good music.” Tariffs start from Rs 3000, with a discounted rate for students. TSK also offers customised packages—if an assortment of songs does not suffice, you can also ask them to present cakes, flowers, chocolates or even handmade greeting cards. They also offer what they call the ‘filmy’ service—you can propose in style by writing, composing, and recording an original song to woo your partner, and TSK will have this filmed, on request.
We asked western suburbanites if they would consider this as an option to express their feelings and received mixed responses. While Bandra-resident Sandya Ragoowanshi said, “Who would not love a surprise like that? I am always on the look out for fun and unique ways like this to surprise my loved ones,” Sakinaka-resident Torsha Banerjee thinks otherwise. She says, “Surprising loved ones with something as quirky as this is innovative. However, being a bit traditional, I would like to keep my emotions private.” Nonetheless, if you are looking to make a loved one happy, TSK will surely make it come true.