By Jaya Pandey
BOSTON–“Yadoon ki bhi ajeeb dastan hain –kabhi bheed mein ho toh akela kar jati hain aur akele ho toh bheed bann jati hain.”
Have you ever felt that? Like you are in the middle of somewhere and then all of sudden you are alone, just tuned out? Jagjit Singh’s voice has that power. Many of you might have felt that power when attending live concerts but his voice can control me anywhere any time.
On a lazy afternoon I want to write something, but I am stuck on where to begin. A conversation with a friend this morning was a reminder of life’s realities in so many ways. But that is what we are doing, facing life as it comes in these difficult times. So what do we do? Find solace in the familiar? Hold on to something our very own? For me it has always been in Jagjit Singh’s world. His voice and ghazals always worked as “marham”(salve or balm).
I was 12-13 when one of my uncles introduced me to the world of ghazals. A station officer in MP Police force, I used to see him decompressing with ghazals in the evening. My young mind didn’t understand the real meaning of those gems, but it was Jagjit Singh’s voice I was drawn to. I am sure it was one of his early albums. His singing and albums grew on me, I guess. Slowly his voice made a place on my shelf in the form of cassettes and brought feelings in my life. I think I lived so many emotions through his voice that I didn’t need many of those real-life experiences.
His voice became the idea of love, a real person was not needed at all. When “Bechaini badh jayegi aur yaad kisiki ayegi, tum meri ghazalen gaaoge jab ishq tumhe ho jayega” became the real ishq. Who can define falling in love better than “Socha nahin achcha bura dekha suna kuch bhi nahin, Maanga khuda se raat din tere siwa kuch bhi nahin.” With Chitra Singh as his perfect companion we have some of the best duets.
Prayer can mean only one thing – Longing for a beloved one “sunte hain ke mil jaatii hai har chiiz duaa se ek roz, tumhen maang ke dekhenge Khudaa se.” What can define separation better than “wo jo ishq tha wo junoon tha , ye to hizra hai wo naseeb hai” or how one can talk about sleepless night better than –“taa fir na intezaar mein neend aaye umr bhar, aane ka ahed kar gaye aaye jo khwaab mein”.
How many times we cannot find the right words, how many of us have thrown half written letters, edited and deleted many texts and emails, and so easily he expressed this dilemma in those simple lines. “Pyar Ka Pehla Khat likhane me waqt to lagta hai”.
The philosophy of life is explained beautifully with, (I sobbed while listening to him)- “Apni marzi se kahan apne safar ke hum hain, ruḳh havāoñ kā jidhar kā hai udhar ke ham haiñ” and cried for many unfortunate women, who could not have children, listening to Mitti da bawa Nayiyo Bolda. Each and every piece of “Someone Somewhere” and “Hope” are haunting in a way. The sadness of losing his only son pierces your heart through his voice.
Over the years my love for Jagjit Singh brought a few special people in my life. They understood and shared the craziness. Life is beautiful because I have these friends with whom I am allowed to forget the harsh realities of our life and just immerse myself in the passion his voice evokes. The TV serial “Mirza Ghalib” has been called a masterpiece for various reasons but today if you want to feel the power of his voice and the brilliance of Jagjit Singh as a composer please listen to “Kahkashan”
I have been listening to him for so many years. He has been gone for almost 10 years but for me he is still alive in all his ghazals. I am very fortunate to have people in my orbit who worked closely with him and I found another passion through them. Jagjit Singh’s unreleased and private ghazals and live recordings. He was a trained and disciplined singer and his gayaki in each composition shows that. His immense control over words, music and melody shows in every ghazal he sang but his real magic is seen in his live recordings. He was a performer at his best, so alive. He could make you believe as if he was singing just for you in that whole auditorium.
The words come alive wrapped in his silken voice. I won’t write about his contributions to the ghazal gayaki, that is his legacy but his eye for perfect lyrics and ear for beautiful composition is my favorite topic. His command over experimenting with various instruments and still keeping the delicacy of emotions is exemplary. I still feel, as a composer he took us to a totally unknown territory every time without us even realizing it. Hundreds of ghazals will live and breathe forever because of him. His ghazals will speak of human emotions for generations to come.
He broke the myth that ghazals only express pain or glorify love. His voice has brought the philosophy and genius of gods in the form of his music.
According to my dad his devotional and spiritual songs can take you closer to supremacy.
Today on his birthday I am grateful that I could listen and see him live a few times in my lifetime. Those are the memories I want to hold on to. I am glad that his music is there to hold me, support me, encourage me, enlighten me and keep me going.
You may not be crazy like me for Jagjit Singh’s ghazals but today if you are reading this please listen to one and feel the magic. As my sister says –Kabhi kabhi duaaon ko bhi dua ki zaroorat hoti hai. Hum kya chahte hain aur kyon chahate hain, is baat ko kahne ke liye shabd aur shiddat dono unki gayaki poora kar deti hai. कभी कभी दुआयों को भी दुआ की ज़रूरत होती है। हम क्या चाहते है और क्यों चाहते है, इस बात तो कहने के लिए शब्द और शिद्दत दोनो उनकी गायकी पूरी कर देती है
(Jaya Pandey lives in Boston with her sons and husband Ashish. She is passionate about music, poetry, cooking, Saree and autism awareness. She is a Jagjit Singh fan, blogger and story teller. To know more about her visit her blogs – https://jayapandey.blogspot.com and http://momlovesanand.blogspot.com Visit http://jagjitandchitra.blogspot.com for list and lyrics of Jagjit and Chitra Singh’s ghazals.)