Atishay Jain has been playing the tabla since he was six years old. He also plays the piano and is a trombonist in the Chapin School jazz band and wind ensemble.
The eighth-grader from Robbinsville is 14 years old and has been taking private lessons to master playing the tabla, or Indian drums, for more than eight years. He enjoys mixing American pop culture with his Indian heritage and playing the Tabla on contemporary pop songs. He has performed at fundraisers, senior centers, talent shows, and even at the New York City India Day Parade, where he played “Old Town Road.” He has also played the tabla with the Chapin School jazz band for the song “Uptown Funk” and has his own YouTube channel, TabalchiDude.
Atishay was disappointed when he found out his grandmother, who lives in India, would not be able to visit him this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thinking about her and his great grandmother, who is over ninety years old and has been longing to go outside, Atishay realized that there are many seniors living at home alone or in assisted living facilities with no one to talk to, so he decided to connect with them through music by performing for them via FaceTime.
Seniors have enjoyed his performances. Their faces light up on videos as they watch and listen, sometimes moving to the music or clapping. Their reactions, in turn, have brought Atishay joy.
“My favorite part of my project performing was seeing the smiling faces of everyone I played for,” he said. “It brings me great joy to connect with the community and help others unwind and relax during these tough times.”