In the past years, “Essence of Qatar” has basically concentrated on featuring exceptional talents within the State of Qatar. Today, we want to showcase an extraordinary talent from India. This is the story of “WOW Karthick” a differently abled person who has recently featured in Zee SA Re GA MA Pa 2023 series and is already creating history. He has touched the hearts of millions of viewers through his music.
We had the privilege to talk to Karthik’s mother, Raji Krishnamoorthy , a resident of Chennai who has been instrumental in identifying his talent. If Karthick is what he is today, it’s because of his sheer endurance and commitment to music and of course, the extraordinary support of the family.
We bring you excerpts of the interview with Karthick’s mother.
(1) As a mother, what were the challenges in bringing up a kid like Karthik and when did you first identify his hidden talent?
When Karthik was first diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorderat the age of two and half years that was when we experienced the life’s greatest shock and since then our life changed into a roller coaster ride. There were no proper medical facilities or special schools offering education and therapies for treating children with such disorders. With a little support from other parents who had similar children , we had to bring in specialists from a few outside countries and as the technical knowhow and knowledge of the specialists were at a primitive or rather initial stages of development , the treatments were not really beneficial.
• He had no eye contact
• Karthik was not responding to our requests or commands,
• Very limited comprehension
• he had problems in eating and digestion,
• he was very hyper
• sensitive to certain smells, sound, colour, and foods.
• hyper active and other repetitive behaviors typically attributed to children with autism
We first identified his hidden talent of singing when he was around 3 years . Whenever we used to play songs whether at home or when he took him out for a drive, Karthik used to listen and pick up the tunes and started humming the tunes. Though the words were not very clear in the beginning it developed slowly over a period of years. He started to sing first rather than speak first.
(2) Tell us about your family & how they have been instrumental in helping Karthik achieve his dream?
My mother was the first to notice Karthik’s humming and she started encouraging him to listen to songs frequently and helped him to memorize a few tunes. She was taking care of him at home while we were off to work.
Karthik has a twin brother Vignesh and Vignesh had exhibited so much of understanding of Karthiks’s situation and had compromised a lot , giving up his needs and life’s small pleasures at that young age observing the much needed attention required to support Karthik.
Karthik’s father used to take him every day to either a park or beach to exhaust his physical energy that helped control his hyper activity , build his stamina and improve his physical well being.
Even today he takes Karthik to gym regularly and karthik loves to go to the gym and work out.
(3) How difficult or easy was it to get into Zee Sa Re Ga Ma? Did Karthick enjoy the platform?
Karthiks had to undergo 5 levels of audition before being selected to Saregamapa. He had to compete with thousands of contestants to get into the top 13.
The judges had to understand and appreciate his talent to select him.
(4) What is your biggest fear in life when you think about Karthick.
• Who will take care of him after us.
• How will he earn a livelihood and be independent
• What will be his behavior in a different environment
(5) The COVID period was stressful and challenging even for normal people – What was it to go through the phase, with a child like Karthick.
Covid had a big impact on his daily routine
• Couldn’t go to the gym
• No outing to park and beach
• No music performances
• Monotonous and dull whole day without much activity
(6) Tel us 3 of you, Bucket List items that are still pending to be fulfilled, for Karthick
• To become verbal and express his basic needs and emotions
• To become a great singer and financially independent
• To get a life partner, care giver or an institution to take care of him after us
(7) Tell us about his journey as a singer
• His journey has been steady though turbulent and stressful as his disability was always quoted against his growth.
• From singing at home, the centre that he was going to, identified and nurtured his talent by giving him opportunities to sing at various functions organized by the centre.
• The support group formed by the then First Lady of the Indian Community in Dubai helped him showcase his talent better.
• The various cultural associations of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in Dubai gave him regular opportunities
• The visiting bands to Dubai gave him a couple of songs in their events.
• He has to his credit 2 solo concerts that gave him visibility and secured confidence from the community on his ability
• When we relocated to India, he was selected to be a contestant in Zee Tamil Saregamapa, a music reality show, and he was the First Runner up of the same.
• He had done a fund raising concert for the NGO Milap, to help a centre for Disabled people in New Delhi.
• Regular stage performances where he shared the stage with the doyens of South Indian Music Industry – Shri S.P. Balasubramaniam, Shri S.P. Charan, Smt K.S. Chitra, Shri Madubalakrishnan, Shri Srinivas, Shr i Shankar Mahadevan to name a few.
• He auditioned for Zee Hindi SAREGAMAPA, and was selected as a special performer in the current season of the show. He has recorded two solo OG Original songs.
• He is the most popular singer of the NGO Atypical Advantage and has performed for several corporates like Procter & Gamble, Bosch, Tata UNI , Antilia, Morgaln Stanley, Stete Street, No boroker.com to name a few.
• He can sing in several languages including Arabic.
• Appreciated by several film personalities and music directors including AR Rahman Sir, anu Malik Sir, Himesh Reshamiyaji and Neet Mohanji
(8) A few words about Chennai & how this place has helped you in fulfilling his dreams?
• Chennai is rich in culture and traditions and being the head quarters of the tamil film industry it offers opportunities for growth in musical journeyhis
(9) What message do you want to give to our viewers?
o Every human being deserves an equal chance to live in this world and no one has the right to decide whether children with disability should be included or left out.
o Talent should be nurtured and rewarded.
o Autism is a unique disorder and needs to be understood.
o Limitations should be taken care of and the environment should be friendly to them to have a comfortable day to day living
o A sound infrastructure to provide for them and take care of them after the parents, siblings and care givers.
(10) A Few Lines about Essence of Qatar.(Our Website)
Website is very informative on the various aspects of Qatar’s rich culture and heritage, tourist interests, career opportunities
11. How do you think this interview with Essence of Qatar can have an impact on Karthik’s musical journey.
a. Karthik is likely to get more visibility that might translate into paying opportunities
12. Karthik’s other talents
• Extra ordinary memory power knowing over 2000 songs
• Weaving and working in bakery in his school
• Worked in laundry in Le Meriden hotel , Dubai
• Basic Computer skills