In each issue of beyond the I, this column presents a first-hand account of a visually impaired person's experiences in the 'real' world. Here, Diwakar Sharma writes about his emotional, spiritual and physical growth during his time as a 'Little Champ' in a popular music show on television, where his disability did not
in any way dampen his enthusiasm.
I went to Mumbai to try my luck at Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champs. From the top 46 kids I qualified for the next round, competing with the remaining 22 children.
I then qualified to the top ten of Little Champs. From there, the real battle started.
Each of the two episodes were fun, because on Thursday one would get double promotion and qualify directly to the next round and on Friday those who were shortlisted would perform in front of a live audience and one of us would get eliminated. In this manner, we sang different songs in every episode.
When we reached the top six, I got eliminated for a short time because that day I had fever and my voice started cracking. But it was decided that out of the five kids who had been eliminated, one could return to the competition through public voting, which was through SMS, telephone or e-mail.
I performed again and was voted back. I then fought till the end of the competition. Every week, through voting, one participant would leave.
I am indeed most thankful to Little Champs for changing my voice style and also for making me versatile.
The public and the judges thought that I could not dance and perform live. They thought of me as someone who could sing only one kind of song.
It was true that initially I could sing only one kind of song, but towards the end of the show, I started singing many different numbers. I sang two or three songs of Himesh Reshammiya, including Aashik Banaya Apne and Bardasht Nahin Kar Saktaa. The judges agreed that I had changed myself and it was certainly working well for me. I was also told that I had now started swaying to the tunes I sang. Good heavens! I think I had started dancing more than anyone else towards the end of the show.
The most emotional episode was the one when we sang for our parents. The song I chose was Ik Pyaar Kaa Naggma Hai and everyone, including the judges, started crying. Only I had no tears.
My experience in Little Champs has been the greatest one of my life.
The things that I have learnt in these four or five months are very precious to me. This show has taught me how to interact with the audience and not just stand like a dummy. I have gained both height and weight.
I am very thankful to the judges, the music directors of the show, guests such as Ismail Darbar, my parents and, above all, God.