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Sunday, September 19 2021

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Limca Book of Records holder creates website dedicated to Covid-19

Ashwin Mandoth, an 18-year-old boy from BMS College of Engineering has created ‘covidbengaluru.com’ a website pertaining to all the necessary details of Covid-19; news updates and medical health leads in Bengaluru. Ashwin is also a young music talent for which he has been recognised and appreciated. In an exclusive interview with News Karnataka, Ashwin spoke at length about his brainchild and rhythmic journey.
 
 
Originally from Jaipur, Rajasthan and Indore, Madhya Pradesh, Ashwin Mandoth is currently pursuing an engineering degree in Bengaluru. Speaking on the ideation of his website, he said, “when the second wave hit, cases peaked in the months of April and May in Bengaluru. A lot were reaching out to me for help as most of the websites were either not working or were flooded with unverified data. That’s when I thought of covidbengaluru.com.” The website is a database containing all possible leads related to Covid-19 crisis which are constantly updated. “I think my sole inspiration to start covidbengaluru.com is my father. Besides that, my family friend Harsh Makana encouraged me in the making of covidbengaluru.com,” he asserted. The project was a collaborative one with Harsh and Tanvi, a good friend. Harsh put forward the idea of starting the website and designing it as well. Tanvi and Ashwin were involved in verifying the leads and confirming the information they received to be genuine before making it available on the website. Standing apart from other such websites, covidbengaluru.com publishes constantly fact-checked, updated and real time information. Ashwin claimed that the website hasn’t crashed at all till date!

In conversation about the impact of the website, Ashwin affirmed, “it was visited by around 15000 people. A lot of users contacted us to appreciate how the bifurcation of each category i.e., beds, ventilators, etc were done on the website. It all boils down to the fact that as many as 15000 people found the website trustworthy, which means a lot to us. Helping as many people as we could has always been the goal.”

Ashwin contended that he faced certain difficulties in the process. Due to the increase in cases and minimal reliable sources of information, fake leads and misinformation were constantly being circulated during the past few months. “We wanted to make sure that whatever information went on the website was genuine. So, I think verifying the leads was the hardest part of the whole process,” he added. Ashwin informed that his parents were happy that he was productive enough and is trying his best to help people amidst the pandemic.

A musical life

As a child, Ashwin was one of the hyperactive kind. After noticing the contagious zealous energy in Ashwin, his father sought music as a good medium to channelise it, forcing him to learn the keyboard. “I’m very glad that he pushed me into music because I don’t think I’m this passionate about anything else. I learned keyboard under the guidance of Sagar Gururaj over the span of two years. I made my way into playing piano later under Anirudh Das. I’ve been exploring and learning new things by myself for the past one year,” the young boy said. However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Ashwin believes that the biggest hurdle he experienced was the hate he received in some instances.

“Sometimes, you fail, you just do. You don’t perform well during recordings or live performances. Not even being considered to perform is disheartening and demotivating,” the boy expressed. Speaking on the financial aspects of a career trajectory in music and arts, he maintained, “I think musicians can be financially stable if they’re true to their art, work hard and never let an opportunity slip.” He believes that as long as one is passionate about something and wants to monetise it, it’s unlikely that he/she will regret that choice. “For me, that is important – to have no regrets,” he added.

The Indian music industry and social media

The music industry is a vast place in India, often where one could get lost in. Ashwin held that the opportunities to artists ratio is less. “It’s a rat race, everyone wants in. It’s definitely hard for an outsider to get a break. A good musician with a bit of marketing can’t be overshadowed for long. I’d love to work in the industry, maybe become a music director. I love performing, it’s what keeps me going and motivated,” he clarified.

Social media is a friend and a foe. For Ashwin, it has been a great medium to showcase his talent and gain an audience. “I’ve also been very lucky to be surrounded by super supportive friends who’ve always encouraged me and helped me better myself everyday,” he asserted. Through social media, he stays connected to receive opinions, feedback from friends, constructive criticism, and gaining consistency in work.

Dealing with the dark side of social media could be taxing. Speaking on the same, Ashwin disclosed that showcasing his work on social media inevitably brought about viewers who’d not always appreciate him.

“I get a lot of negative comments. I’ve had people tell me, ‘You’re mediocre. You’re not good enough.’ I may not be the best, but I’m getting there,” the boy who is ‘addicted to bettering himself’ explained. The 18-year-old aspires to work with Raghu Dixit and Pineapple Express, due to their experimental fusion music. “They collide many genres together and that really appeals to me. I’d also love to collaborate with A. R. Rahman and Ed Sheeran in the future,” the multiple awards winner from University of West London added.   

Accolades and applause!

Ashwin was ranked in the top 10 in South India in the exam conducted by the London College of Music. He has also been a part of the team Ranjini Kalakendra which has set the world record for the longest variety show of 100 hours and 45 minutes. Ashwin is a record holder in Limca Book of Records. “I’ve scored distinction and also gained merit in my graded keyboard and piano exams. Apart from all that, I’ve performed in various cities like Indore, Pune, Bengaluru, Tumkur and Mysuru,” he mentioned. Ashwin wants to learn and get involved in his art everyday. He also intends on exploring his skills, strengths and weaknesses. “I want to improve myself consistently, consider and work on every opportunity that comes my way. Hopefully things will get better,” he signed off.

 

Siri Shekar

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