“I’d listen to spiritual songs on the way to work…[but] really thought I’d never sing again, because of the things we were facing…but as soon as I heard the word ‘studio’, my heart skipped a beat…”
Drupti Vaja, our talented Spiritual Bridges debut single vocalist, discusses her full-time work as an NHS nurse in Birmingham. All respect to her sincerity on the intense pressures of the COVID-19 frontline – it gets emotional:
“Hi, I’m Drupti Vaja. I’m a nurse, I work for the NHS in Birmingham – I work on the liver ward, dealing with patient care – and I love my job.
I initially started singing spiritual music: at the mandir, at home singing bhajans, lots of devotional music. That’s my first memory – singing with my ba. My grandmother (mother’s mother) used to sing. Unfortunately I didn’t have the privilege or the chance to meet her, but a lot of family say that I’ve followed what she would have loved me to do.
The past few months, Working on a COVID ward was – I’m not going to beat around the bush – traumatic. It was so traumatic. Being in that mindframe: seeing patients coming into hospital, and not knowing if they’re going to come back to their homes, to see their families. It was really difficult: their loved ones couldn’t come and see them, so we were their loved ones, that connection to the outside world.
I used to come to work and listen to spiritual songs – and on the journey to work I’d listen to prayers…to not only pray for the patients that I was looking after, but also praying for myself, my loved ones – to make sure they’re safe. And I think music helped me come out of that, and have that ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, as cliche as it might sound.
Having music to relate to – there’s certain songs I used to listen to…and every time I listen to them [now], it brings me back to that mindframe…I really thought that I was never going to sing again, because of the things we were facing at work.
But it’s helped me to be a stronger person…I just feel lucky, I feel very lucky that I can help. And if anyone asks me if I’d do it again I’d say ‘yes’. I’m quite proud to say that nobody can ever take that experience away from me, and it’s something that I’m actually proud to have faced, and to have come out of this stronger.
So I got the phonecall from Raj, and he explained a very quick brief of what he’d like me to be involved in. I heard, ‘Ragatip, music, studio’. As soon as I heard ‘studio’ my heart skipped a beat…I’m being honest, I couldn’t really remember what else he said on the phone call I was selected to be going to a studio to do what I love the most.
So for me that was a huge turning point, after going through a crazy experience, that nobody has really faced before. It was such an incredible, incredible feeling for me to go through, after me not being able to connect or interact with anyone when I was working at the hospital. I moved out of home for a few months, not knowing if I was going to be a carrier, and bring it back to my family…
To be able to go to a studio and meet different artists, and different people – it was a huge deal for me, because apart from going to the shops and doing essential shopping, I hadn’t gone anywhere else. When I listened to the track the first time, I was overwhelmed, and when I did hear it, I cried.
I remember speaking to Raj…He was like ‘how did this make you feel?’, and I said ‘when I listened to it, I felt happy’. He started laughing…and said ‘yeah, well we’ve named it Mara Ghat Ma / Joy to the World’…So for everyone that’s listening to this track, just enjoy it! Enjoy every single second…”
- Listen: Mara Ghat Ma / Joy to the World