Sitting in his guitar studio at his Ardee City apartment, Jimmy Thang says his life revolves around two things—his family and music. Making their way from a small town in Manipur to Shillong to New Delhi, the Thang family then moved to Gurgaon in 2004. “I am a freelance music artist,” is how Jimmy introduces himself; saying his work primarily revolves around music in all forms. Be it making jingles for radio channels, or playing the lead guitarist—with artists like Anamika and Shubra, and with rock bands. He also holds guitar classes.
“We moved to Gurgaon primarily because my wife and I wanted some peace. When we moved to Gurgaon, we felt like we were living our dream. As a child, I remember reading Archie comics; where Betty, Veronica and Archie would go to malls. At that time, in Manipur, none of us could fathom what a mall in India would look like—and here we are today, living in a city full of malls. For us, it is like a childhood dream come true,” explains Jimmy.
Jimmy Thang performing at a gig
Nodding aggressively is Jimmy’s wife and childhood sweetheart, Daisy. Having earlier worked with an airline, she decided to give up her job after the birth of their son, Jonathan—now three years old . “When we decided to move here from New Delhi, it was because we wanted to escape the hustle bustle of city life. We had lived in New Delhi, but wanted an escape from that kind of fast life. We were looking for something that felt like home, yet was away from the city. Although Gurgaon has ceased to be that escape now, with the tremendous change over the years—it is still far better than living in Delhi,” says Daisy.
The Thangs say that change primarily came when large open spaces around their home were converted to commercial spaces. However, this is not what Jimmy and his wife are concerned about. Conscious about his north-eastern origins he says, “Though our experience of living in the city, so far, has been positive, there are times when I feel intimidated because of my experience with the locals. For instance, while going to buy groceries next door, one normally sees a bunch of locals who do not seem friendly. Most of these men would have sold a fraction of their land surrounding Gurgaon, for sums they would have never imagined ten years back. While it’s a positive thing that farmers are getting their dues, on the negative side, many young boys see this as a short-cut to success. And a reason to not have to work. I like to keep my presence low key, considering we are already regarded as outsiders here; but when it comes to my wife and child, there is a constant sense of insecurity,” says Jimmy.
Even so, the Thang family say that after Manipur, Gurgoan has become home. So much so, Jimmy adds, “Since we decided to live in Gurgaon, I have convinced my siblings to move here too. Although my parents live in Manipur, we often meet up with my siblings for family get-togethers and parties. For occasions like Christmas, we all go back to Manipur – to celebrate with my parents and extended family.”
For those who want to see Jimmy perform, you can catch him at Geoffrey’s, at Select
City Walk or Turquoise Cottage, New Delhi.