Gladson Peter’s journey towards becoming India’s first One-Man Band
Gladson Peter’s life today looks straight out of something he drew years ago. When he was in school, a pastor at a summer camp he was attending had asked the class to make a drawing of what they want to do when they grew up. Gladson drew a man wearing headphones, holding a harmonica in one hand, surrounded by around 10 instruments, a cat and a Bible. Years later, as he recovered from a lung disease contracted from smoking, God appeared in his dreams and told him to think about the drawing he had made in school. That set him on the course and today he has been part of 100s of music shows across the country besides his own tour across China, inspiring people.
Gladson’s tryst with music began early. When he was a kid he began playing music with spoons and forks that he found lying around at home. His canvas kept becoming bigger and that is probably when he and his family realised that he had the rhythm in him.
GLADSON GROWING UP
As he grew up, he got more fascinated with the idea of playing the drums. He was getting trained to play the keyboard at a very young age. He couldn’t afford any of those instruments or a drum kit back then but now owns 45 different instruments. In his living room now are a dozen guitars that made their way into his house almost by magic. The drawing he had made during summer school inspired him, years later, to start something new, something bigger than himself at a time when everything seemed bleak and pointless.
As one grows, a lot of things change. New people, a new company, new habits, new experience and their own lessons. Growing up amid smoke exhaled through rolled pieces of addiction between fingers burnt a hole in his lung. Passive smoking took its toll. developed a disease called Pleural Effusion in his lungs which is the primary stage of tuberculosis.
Recovery from something this huge wasn’t something difficult just for him. The healing and depression and everything that came with the disease at such a young age was a process for the entire family. But they got through it, together. He had to relearn how to play the wind instrument as the amount of air he could breathe into an instrument dipped drastically.
This and an existential crisis in college was not a good phase in Gladson’s life. Until one night, God made a visit in his dreams and told him to think about the drawing he had made in school. This was the beginning of something bigger than he had ever imagined.
AFTER THE STORM
After this dream, which felt like direct orders from the one above, Gladson started researching on artists who could play more than one instrument at a time. He read on what it takes to be able to train oneself to command and direct their minds to play these instruments in sync. He learnt that there were very few people around the globe who were able to do something like this. And no one from India.
With the help of his very smart and jugaadu brothers, he started constructing the instrument that has now become his identity. Not only did he find spare parts from Chor Bazaar, and bought old seat belts, he also got one of his welder friends on board to make the basic structure of the set-up. The whole equipment weighs almost 25kg, which is 10kg more than a gas cylinder. Well, he wears it like a glove and charms people by performing with it. Gladson still remembers the first time he had the instrument ready. It was just a few hours before his audition for India’s Got Talent. He only got to practice and play them in his mind. He played it for the first time right on stage. This audition is what gave the push. It was here that he wrote his story. His story to remind people that they can do anything they want. All they have to do is to never give up.
There is no force on earth that can stop one from doing what one is meant to do. Gladson is now working on upgrading his equipment, exploring the lighter material and finding funds for the same. The second version of his rig has a hand painting around it that artistically depicts his life’s journey. A painting as beautiful as his life.