Mahendra Singh Rana who hails from Kangra in Himachal Pradesh learnt this art from a Nepali boy. Since the age of eleven, Rana practiced playing music with leaves while on his way to school. "I developed an interest in learning this art during my school days. One day, I played music with a leaf at night and a boy heard me. During the night, the sound gets echoed in the hilly areas. I was pleasantly surprised and asked the Nepali boy about it. Since then, I decided to master this art," said Rana.
Gradually, Rana who is an ardent fan of Bollywood singers like Lata Mangeshkar and Mohamad Rafi mastered this skill and started producing diverse music. He displayed phenomenal dexterity in producing music from leaves and is also an expert at playing other musical instruments like synthesizer, flute and harmonium.
To keep his music alive, he started training some of the neighbourhood children.
"I have heard music which is played with the help of musical instruments like tabla, synthesizer and harmonium. But, I have never seen anybody playing music with a leaf," said Arijeet Banerjee, a student.
Rana has showcased his talent on a number of occasions by giving public performances. On one of these occasions, he performed before King Mahendra of Nepal.