My mother is a great musician. She's never had formal training, but when her hands touch the dholak, the sounds that emanate from the instrument sound wonderful. With the dedication and efficiency that she runs our house, though, you would never know. It's only among friends or family that she whips out her old instrument and makes magic with it, and it often makes me wonder what would have happened had she led a different life.

It often makes me think about the millions of women who bury their talent deep inside to give precedence to family or responsibilities.

It was to inspire and encourage such women to move forward and take the final step that the first season of Santoor Centre Stage aimed at. When the call for entries went out, over 1800 women from across 24 states sent in their clips, seizing the chance that life was giving them. Among these were the four who eventually went on to become finalists: Vassanthi Vukkem, Akshatha Udupa, Nivedita Ingle, and Zonobia Safar.

From a super-mom to a techie, these seemingly unassuming but immensely talented women beat out hundreds of other entries to be mentored by and sing in front of award winning lyricist Swanand Kirkire and acclaimed composer Sameer Uddin. In the end, though, Nivedita Ingle, presumed to be the underdog, was unanimously chosen as the one to take the Centre Stage. Watch their inspiring journeys to the #SantoorCentreStage and lifelong friendship below. You can also watch Nivedita's impressive final performance here.