"Hazratganj is my stage": Meet Yash Agarwal, one of the very first buskers of Lucknow
Busking or performing in the streets in return for tips and gratuities isn't a common site in Lucknow. But over the last few years street performers have sprung up in different areas of the city, and one such person who's taken the lead is- Yash Agarwal.
With a loudspeaker, a mic stand, and a guitar, Yash can be seen right outside Royal Café in Hazratganj, every evening. He arrives around 7 PM, introduces himself and treats the passers-by with a soulful two-hour performance.
One of the very first street buskers of Lucknow, Yash does a non-stop 90-minute to two hour performance. People gradually crowd up, some shoot videos, others click his pictures, and a handful scan the QR code hung on the speaker to tip him.
Meet the artist
Born and brought up in Lucknow, Yash Agarwal completed his schooling from the New Way School in the city. It was in Class 8th in his school when he first fell in love with performing for an audience. Growing up, the late Krishnakumar Kamath 'KK' was his favorite singer, and still is.
The journey which began in a classroom today brings him every evening to Hazratganj. Along the way, his love for performing in public has thrown in his way a number of challenges. In fact, Yash has also had to leave home to pursue his passion for busking due to disagreements with his family.
But his love for performance did not allow him to quit, in spite of such obstacles. His dedication is clearly visible in his honest and soulful performances. And people who watch him perform appreciate his work and several have also become his friends.
Yet, performing on the streets comes with its fair share of ugly instances. Yash has also faced several of them, like the time when some hooligans tried to disrupt his performance by plugging off his mic mid-performance.
Hazratganj to Connaught Place
Yash has been busking in Hazratganj for nearly two years now. Initially he used to perform in front of the Sindh showroom and then shifted to the Prince market lane before settling down in front of Royal Café. He's not limited to Lucknow and has also tried busking in Delhi's Connaught Place, as well.
Comparing the two experiences, Yash says 'Things are better for buskers in Lucknow as compared to Delhi. In Delhi, they hunt street performers like criminals. Thankfully, That's not the case in Lucknow'. He goes on to add that even the police personnel sometimes stop to enjoy his performance and gracefully leave a tip.
Yet, he does face disruptions and things aren't always as hunky dory in Lucknow. But none of the challenges impact his zeal. Sipping a post-performance tea with the Knocksense team, Yash said, "I love the stage. That's what I do this for, I can't get a gig every other day so the lanes of Hazratganj become my stage".
Journey from street performances to YouTube
Apart from busking in Lucknow, Yash also writes songs releases them on youtube. On September 13, he released his sixth single song on his YouTube channel.
With busking, live shows, and his day job in accountancy, Yash works tirelessly to make ends meet to pursue his passion. As tiring as the day might get, he shows up every evening for his 2-hour performance in Ganj.
Even after a tiring day, his passion makes him want to keep going and that was very evident when he said, "I wish I had the energy to sing all day, without pause" before finally saying good-bye to us.