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Chennai: Trained singer delivers food to feed her children | Chennai News – Times of India

CHENNAI: From childhood, she has chased her dream of becoming a singer, whether it’s singing chorus for film songs, in hotels or in her own orchestra.
But Covid-19 changed her whole life around. Today, single mother of two, Ambica Balan, zips through the dark streets of Chennai on her bike, delivering food to customers, to keep her family afloat.
“I had formal training in music only during my childhood. Ammapettai Krishnamoorthi was my guru,” says 34-year-old Ambica, who now works as a food delivery staff with Rapido. “At 19, I began singing light music and also chorus for movies.”
Ambica, who is a B Com graduate, also began singing in kutcheris, at star hotels and started her own orchestra, Avantika Orchestration, about seven years ago. “I can sing Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, and Telugu songs, so I was called to perform at weddings, parties and to do stage shows,” she says.
Widowed two years ago, Ambica has two young daughters — Avantika, 8, and two-yearold Shambhavi, to raise. “I performed at various hotels, such as Hotel Ramada to supplement my income,” says Ambica, who earned ?20,000 a month.
But when the first wave of the pandemic broke out last year, awork came to a grinding halt. “I worked as a supervisor with the Chennai corporation for three months,” she says. When the contract ended, she began working with a bike taxi company.
“I used to drive my dad’s scooter when I was in college. And I used to do the evening shift so that I could take care of my daughters during the day,” says Ambica. “But soon that also came to an end.” Less than two weeks ago, when she got an opportunity with Rapido, she took up the job. “I work from 6pm to 9pm. It is scary sometimes, as the streets are deserted during the lockdown, and sometimes it is difficult to find the place. But when I think of my daughters, I am ready to do anything so that I can support them,” says Ambica, adding that she has learned to overcome her fear of contracting coronavirus. “I had worked during the pandemic last year too. I wear a mask and gloves, always have sanitiser in my bag and have immunity-boosting food. And if I see people not wearing masks, I ask them to.”
She hopes she can go back to her singing career some day. “There are many musicians like me who are struggling. They all need help,” she says. “I also want to keep singing but for now, I will do whatever I need to do to support my family.”


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