Around the year 2020 BS, Dil Maya Khati was already a well-established singer. She was especially very popular in Darjeeling, Sikkim, Bhutan and eastern Nepal. During that period, she was often referred to as “the melody moon”. Not only Nepalese but the Indians also appreciated her singing capabilities. Even the biggest name in Bollywood then, actor Raj Kapoor was said to have been impressed a lot. In fact, he had also asked her to come to India and sing Hindi numbers. However, she rejected the offer!
She was born to Nanda Lal Khati and Aatirupa Khati on Shrawan 23, 1999 BS in Ghumpahad, Darjeeling. She has three siblings and is the youngest in her family. She completed her Higher Secondary from Saint Joseph College, Darjeeling and had a simple but contented upbringing. Dil Maya started singing when she was just five years old and started participating in local music functions. Everyone who heard her sing were simply in awe of her. Hence, it did not take her a long time to become one of the most popular singers in Darjeeling.
She came to Kathmandu when Krishna Kandgwa (Sister of Bhagwati Subba) invited her over. After coming to Kathmandu, Krishna Kandgwa introduced Dil Maya to Melody King Natikaji, Shiva Shankar and Swor Samragi Tara Devi. In 2018 BS, Dil Maya sang for the first time on Radio Nepal. Later she was encouraged to participate in a Music Competition organized by Radio Nepal. That one person who had suggested and advised her to compete was none other than Shiva Shankar Manandhar. She was able to bag the first position for which Radio Nepal awarded her with a gold medal. Then on she started singing more often. She often traveled from Darjeeling to Nepal to record songs at Radio Nepal. On the other hand, people from Darjeeling always wished her to stay back. Due to this, she started doing playback signing at the local theatres which were regularly held. She had by now become famous all over Nepal and Darjeeling and was even invited to Delhi. In one of the functions organized there, she performed for the then President of India who had been all praises for her talents. The other prominent people who adored her for her magical voice were Bal Krishna Sama, Surya Bikram Gyawali, Lain Singh Bangdel, Madhav Ghimire and Yadu Nath Khanel among others.
For her devotion and contribution towards Nepali music, she has been honored with Devkota Samman, Shikha Sur Samman, Lahani Nepal Samman, Gunjan Samman and Bhupal Sangeet Puraskar. Starting from 2018 BS until 2030 BS, she sang only 12 songs. To every body’s surprise, she stopped singing completely and took up a teaching profession.
Swor Samrat Naranyan Gopal was a huge fan of Dil Maya. He had even offered her to sing duet songs with him, which she did. The result was an overwhelming success to fans all over the world. Beginning from 2056 BS, Dil Maya started singing again. The person responsible in encouraging her for the comeback was a young musician from Kathmandu. With her album titled ‘Shikha’ she re-entered the music scene to overwhelming success. This decision indeed impressed people from Darjeeling and they could not stop raving about her. People from Nepal were also happy to the core to have her back!
Lyricists and composers started making a beeline at her resident to make music with her but she selected the best and started working on them. She became even popular. She was even bestowed with the title of ‘Nightingale of The Himalaya’ and as for the period that she had stopped singing was indeed a loss to the development Nepali music. Sheb was a Media darling as well. Her one wish was to sing a song written by the then King, which in due time was fulfilled as well.
Narendra Raj Prasai
Nepali to English