Clynton Almeida, CIO, Redington (India) Ltd, talks to us about his longstanding loves, the classical guitar and martial arts. By Satyaki Sarkar
If Clynton Almeida hadn’t chanced upon IT in college, he’d be busy playing the classical guitar at a concert right now. Born into a family where musical talentwas encouraged, Clynton grew up with an affinity for the classical guitar. In this exclusive interview with Bonne Vie, he bares his heart about his hobbies and passions.
The start of a love affair
“I grew up in a family where music was not only encouraged, but instruments were learnt and played,” says Clynton. “I’ve always had a fondness for the guitar. However, it wasn’t until college that I took up the classical guitar seriously. I taught myself, right from reading musical notes to actually playing the instrument. However, I still have a long way to go and I am constantly learning more each day as I believe that learning never ends. Be it the piano, flute, guitar, or any musical instrument, you need to devote time and effort to it. Unless you put your heart and soul into what you love, you won’t be able to achieve it. With my busy schedule and commitments, finding time for playing has becoming increasingly difficult. However, I make sure to practice regularly. For a very short period of time I even played professionally (on the side) at Searock hotel in Bandra, Mumbai. At the time, my office was at Nariman Point, and every day after work I would go there to play in the evening. However, it was a short lived stint, as soon afterwards I had to move to Dubai for my job.”
Celebrating the classical
“What attracted me to the classical guitar is the intricacy and skill involved in playing it. Unlike contemporary genres, in which you play using a plectrum, in classical guitar you use all your fingers to extract the notes and produce the melody. Classical guitar demands an enhanced and additional set of skills for playing, and the music that comes out of it is of a much higher level than a regular lead or rhythm guitar. The complexity of the notes and the range of music that one can get from a classical guitar completely mesmerises me, which is why I love it. Two of my greatest inspirations are Andrés Segovia, who is widely revered as one of the greatest guitarists of all time as well the grandfather of the classical guitar, and Julian Bream, another classical guitar maestro of the 20th century. Both are virtuoso Spanish classical guitarists.”
Of dreams and wishes
“During my college days I considered pursuing the guitar professionally, but the allure of IT changed the course of my career and life. Once I got into IT I found it to be like a tiger’s back, I couldn’t jump off. However, I have no regrets, and during family celebrations, get-togethers, and even at office functions, I do play the guitar occasionally. One of my greatest desires, even to this day, is to someday finally play at a small concert; nothing too big, but just the experience of playing music in front of a small audience. I am currently undergoing a bit of voice training, and sing a lot of country music as well. So I am looking to get into music in a bigger way. I don’t wish to become a star performer or a great musician, but yes, it is one of my greatest dreams to be able to play my music in public, for a small group of people, and watch them enjoy it.”
Martial arts journey
“Apart from music, I also love martial arts. It’s not just a hobby, but rather a form of discipline. I have been fascinated with it since my school days. In college I reconnected with a school friend who conducted Kung Fu classes. Through him I learnt more about Chinese martial arts, as well as some of the great Kung Fu masters and several other styles of martial arts. I learnt with him and practised for four years. It slowly became a way of life for me, and I used to spend around three to four hours each day on training and practice.
“Eventually, however, IT took precedence and the training petered out. So now, in order to keep in touch with my training and retain what I had learnt, I have recently started learning and practicing Tai Chi, which is a slow moving martial art. Also known as ‘Moving Yoga’, it involves a lot of deep breathing and movement co-ordination, which are extremely helpful in staying fit, while revitalising my training and lessons.”