It was past 3 am. The guests of a big fat Indian wedding happening in Thailand’s Ko Samui had partied hard and some would say it was time to retire. But the night was far from over for Hero Lectro’s CEO, Aditya Munjal.
An audience of 50 had its eyes pinned on the duo in front of them — Munjal and one of his friends. The stage was set for a fierce piano-playing competition that followed. “It was like a piano face-off, a unique form of after-party where we were just going at it,’’ recalls the CEO, pausing to savour the memory.
It all started with a typical mother who wanted her young sons to pick up as many skills as they could. “My mom made sure that my brother and I were doing everything as kids. In fact, she even made us do tap dancing when we were five-six years old,’’ exclaims Munjal.
That gave way to piano classes. He says he had a keyboard back in the 2000s on which he’d play tunes from Karan Johar films like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Munjal also talks very fondly about Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and asks, “Have you seen that scene where Shah Rukh Khan plays the piano? The part where they’re at a party and he messes up in the beginning before breaking into Ruk Ja O Dil Deewane?’’, brushing up his memory and ours. “I can do that song in the same way very well,’’ he adds while mentioning how that movie and song pulled him closer to the piano. On the other end of the spectrum were tunes of rap songs by artists like 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg.
But the initial push could only take him so far and he soon lost both interest and touch. It was only by the end of his high school in the UK that he picked up the instrument again. “I figured it is a trick into the heart of the opposite sex. So, I started playing more and more because it was a very impressive tool,’’ says a coy Munjal who had learned to play the piano by ear.
Once he was back in India, he took classical music lessons for two-three years which introduced him to the likes of Beethoven and Mozart. Then there was no looking back.
Munjal relates how the black and white keys even helped him grab his wife’s attention the very first time they met over dinner. To his surprise, there was a piano right outside the restaurant and he ended up playing Beethoven’s iconic Love Story for her. “As funny as it sounds, that was also the way into her heart,’’ he adds with a grin.
He now owns a piano that sits proudly at his home and is played every other evening post dinner. Even the pandemic hasn’t been able to alter that. “After having a piano, be it office or work from home, playing it has been consistent for me,’’ Munjal says. Old flames die hard, they say.