Varsha Tiwary is a bureaucrat by profession and calls herself a ‘desk jockey’, though she is far from being just that. Her blog Wholesome Options offers much food for thought on matters relating to nutrition and fitness. She has a chatty way of writing that makes even a dry topic interesting and worth paying attention to. She also gives expression to her creativity through Poetic Break and Khayalat her other blogs where she writes verses both in Hindi and English.
I was travelling when she sent me a mail attaching her tribute to the mellifluous Jagjit Singh, who has been my favourite singer over the years too. A gentle genius, his voice has retained the same silken charm over the years till he left us mourning his loss earlier this week. Understandably, I jumped with alacrity at her contribution as I wanted to post a tribute to this great singer. This guest post by Varsha is a fan’s tribute to her idol. Read on….
Back in 1980, I got my first tape recorder – a 2-in-1, as a gift from my father. Two blank Sony cassettes came free with it. On one I recorded our voices and the voices of all the bacchas of the family and the neighbourhood. Believe me , that was an amazingly fun pastime for our generation.
On the other cassette, I recorded Jagjit and Chitra’s The Unforgettable, a runaway hit of that time. I did not understand all the Urdu lyrics. But his voice transcended the necessity of a mere understanding of words. Even as a frisky teenager I could appreciate the soothing silences and the meaningful pauses enlivened by his silken voice.
Then came the serial Mirza Ghalib on Doordarshan. I had no inkling about Ghalib or his poetry but Gulzar recreated Ghalib’s life and brought him into our drawing rooms. But he could have scarcely done it without Jagjit’s mellifluous voice rendering all those ghazals — one immortal giving voice to another immortal’s verses. I could appreciate Bazzecha-e –atfaal before I could understand it.
Ghalib’s life was about making Urdu poetry a popular idiom; taking it out of palaces and courts to the lanes and streets. Jagjit’s life story is about making Urdu poetry a listening pleasure for the masses. He could lend gravity to nostalgia (kaagaz ki kashti) and love (jhuki –jhuki see nazar). He taught me that life is all about nuances (Tum itna jo muskara rahe ho), that love is reaching home (tumko dekha to yeh khayal aaya) and that there is dignity in despair (chitthi na koi sandesh).
His bhajans are imbued with spirituality for the same reason. Even an agnostic can listen to Hey Ram or Kabir and feel the calmness and peace flooding them. His voice is able to reach places in our hearts that even we are not aware of. That is why he always stood above and apart from all the raucous cacophony and sometimes even the melodious pleasantness that is popular music. He had his roots in the classical tradition, his heart in Urdu literature and a deep spiritual instinct. His spirit soared high to bring together all these for the listening pleasure of the man on the street – from an auto driver to youngsters to aficionados. We could never have enough of Jagjit.
His going is the going away of all those magical silences that made music go beyond words, beyond language and beyond meaning.
Jagjit! We will never stop sighing.
Image source: http://rindkaro.hubpages.com/hub/Jagjit-Singh-Ghazals