Even now he is completely expressionless when hungry or thirsty and cannot do anything on his own.
It all began with his grandfather giving him a tape recorder 30 year ago as a toy. That was because he could only hear and other toys were of no use. From that age he began listening to songs, says his father, Rajnikanth, from a Gujarati family settled in Kollam for the past 60 years.
Some years later all of a sudden, Rakesh began to sing a song he regularly heard over the tape recorder and that surprised his family. It was a Kishore Kumar song and he sang it as though Kishore Kumar himself was singing. Then he went on to sing Mohammed Rafi and S.P. Balasuramaniam songs with the sound of the original singer.
His family members soon discovered that though blind and challenged, he can master any song in any language after hearing it a few times. With the karaoke machine, he times the songs with mathematical precision. This happens because he is an echolaliac, meaning that he echoes what he hears.
Singing with ease
Today, he even sings with ease the not-so-easy-to-sing ‘Marutamalai Mamaniye…’ of Madurai Somasundaram. Rakesh has a databank of hundreds of songs in six languages in his head and can play any one of them at will, improvising each song each time.
As news about his exceptional talent spread, the International People Leap Organisation promoted him and today, even though he is not aware of it, Rakesh leads a devotional song orchestra.