Hyderabad: An eerie silence prevails in Gowliguda, once known as the hub of music band troupes in the city.
For nearly five months now, several band troupes, including those based in Gowliguda and other parts of the city, who used to earn their livelihood from social events and occasions, have been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. These music bands were a key feature during any festivity, celebration and grand weddings in Hyderabad.The Bonalu season in Telangana was also when the band troupes used to get several bookings, as people dancing to the ‘teen maar’ beats were a feature in almost every street, especially in Secunderabad and parts of the Old City.
However, the single room asbestos roofed shops, which functioned as their booking centre and rehearsal points as well, are now silent. There are no bookings, neither are there any rehearsals.
Nanda Kishore, owner of one of the band troupes in Gowliguda, is among those who have been hit hard financially by the pandemic. The situation is such that he has begun selling fruits and vegetables to keep his family afloat. His band members, most of whom were from other districts, have left for their hometowns after becoming jobless here.
While most band members have opted for other lines of employment, others say turning to alternative livelihoods is not easy in this time of crisis. “It is not easy to change our line of work without proper planning. I’m in this profession for decades and have never been prepared for such a situation. These are challenging times. If everything was normal, by now we would’ve received dozens of bookings,” says Raju, who runs the Ganesh Brass Band in Bairamalguda.
“Our annual income was dependent on these five months of wedding season which is now passing without the customary band, baaja and baarat and Bonalu festivities. We are in deep financial crisis,” adds Raju. “Even after the lockdown was relaxed, there has been not much business. The scale of grand weddings has come down fearing the pandemic. We have to prepare ourselves for the worst,” he says. Several band owners had received bookings prior to the lockdown for performing during marriages. For them, returning the booking amounts to clients has turned out to be a worry now.
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