I did resolve to positively control my urge of wanting to record my responses on things which affect me on a day to day basis till my UPSC Mains exams concluded. For this, I had nearly cut myself off from the world, categorically from the things which I knew would affect me. All it took was a phone conversation with one of my friends informing me of the demise of Jagjit Singh to have this resolve momentarily forgotten. While I did stay aloof from the world, Jagjit Ji's voice kept reverberating in my room, and within the walls of my head, to help create the calmness which I desire to continuously remain committed towards my dream. That voice resonates still, but it sounds a tad hollow.
They say, melodies closest to us are the saddest in nature. It is something I firmly believe to be true. The saddest of my thoughts have found expression in verses of Ghalib, Zafar, Firaaq Gorakhpuri, Faakir, and Nida Fazli whose poetry had been conveyed to me via the enchanting voice of Jagjit Ji. This habit of addressing him as 'Jagjit Ji' I acquired in school, where, for me and my friend, Pari, Jagjit Ji had a hallowed status. I've spend many a music lessons in school humming away numerous ghazals and nazms of his'. In fact, this difference between a ghazal and a nazm was communicated to me by the maestro, Jagjit Ji himself in a TV programme. Most of the times, I felt intimately attached to the melodies rendered immortal in his voice for I found an inner feeling or a personal experience being whispered again in my ears in Jagjit Ji's magical voice. That is what his ghazals can do to you. They can lend an aura of romance, or be your confidante in mourning, in loss, in sadness.
I owe many memories to him.
"Us mod se shuru karein, phir yeh zindagi,
Har sheh jahaan haseen thi, hum tum the ajnabee"
This was my first solo stage performance. I was about fourteen years old, attired in a pink suit, standing on stage and singing away this ghazal to glory. It fetched me the first ever "Best Singer Award", which I went on to win for the remaining four years of my cultural life in school.
"Tu apne dil ki jawaan dhadkano ko, gin ke bata,
Meri tarah tera dil, beqarar hai ki nahi,
Daba daba sa sahi, dil mein pyaar hai ki nahi"
Whenever asked instantly to sing, I can think of nothing but this composition. It is a song I would sing for my beloved sometime.. It is a song I call my own.
"Teri khushbu mein base khat main jalata kaise..."
Each time I heard this song, I knew my heart sank. Jagjit Ji's voice carries an unmistakable tone of pain, which is effortlessly contagious for all the listeners, me being no exception.
"Dil hi toh hai, na sang-o-khisht, dard se bhar na aaye kyun,
Royenge hum hazaar baar, koi humein sataaye kyun"
I knew I had grown up when I understood the meaning of these lines enough to draft a blog on them. An iconic composition- it is perhaps the only thing we as audience remember of Mirza Ghalib, a show that once aired on Doordarshan.
"Duniya jise kehte hain, jaadoo ka khilauna hai,
Mil jaaye toh mitti hai, kho jaaye toh sona hai"
The meaning of equanimity I could never comprehend. But a lesson or two in life I definitely learnt the first time I heard this ghazal some 7 years back. It has since not been off my play list.
"Baat niklegi toh phir, door talak jaayegi..."
The surge or emotions I felt whenever I heard this one I can not even attempt to describe. This is one of those compositions I have always wanted to sing, but have refrained from doing so for not wanting to spoil its sacred perfection. Even now, I can cry with comfort while listening to this. Is it not bits of my own life this nazm describes?
"Yeh daulat bhi lelo, yeh shauhrat bhi lelo,
Bhale chheen lo, mujhse meri jawaani,
Magar mujhko lauta do bachpan ka saawan,
Woh kaagaz ki kashti, toh baarish ka paani"
A duet with his humsafar, Chitra Singh, this song is the most intrinsic and irreplaceable part of all farewells conducted at my school. While singing this one, I could see very clearly the teary beads, hitherto controlled, trickling down the cheeks of each batch as it prepared to crossover from school into the next stage of life. When it came to my turn of sitting back and soaking in the memories while listening to this song, I acted the perfect coward and left the gathering as this song was being performed. I did not just want to listen to it. Like every other year, I wanted to sing it. Away from the gathering, that is exactly what I did.
This is list expectedly endless. And it should be. Ghazals would not have been an ordinary music lover's delight had Jagjit Ji not played the catalytic role in popularizing it. For me, he even helped being a source of faith. Fancily terming myself an agnostic, I could never keep away from the spell of "Jai madhav madam murari" or "Sabse oonchi prem sagai" when Jagjit Ji's voice accessorized them. Today, I think of I know by heart most of the songs he lent his voice to. However, I hope to death I have not discovered his entire treasure trove of music. The elation I felt whenever I heard any of his classics for the first time, and played it over and over again to know each and every harkat with which he made the song beautiful, I want to experience again.
No new ghazals are will lend me that coveted elation. No new ghazals are going to come our way.
"Hazaaron khwaahishein aesi, ki har khwahish pe dum nikle,
Bahut nikle mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle."
The melody resonates. I wonder why it feels hollow.
|Jagjit Singh, Chitra Singh and Vivek Singh- Their son who died in a car accident at a a tender age.|