Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shaam se aankh mein namee see hai

So far there have been a very few celebrities whose death moved me to tears. One was Michael Jackson, recently Swarnalatha and now it is Jagjit Singh. I don't know if it is a coincidence that all of them were singers. I cried at the news of their death because they are gone forever and will never sing beautiful songs for me anymore.

As soon as I heard the terrible news of Jagjit Singh's passing last afternoon, I pulled out my collection of his music - all of them audio tapes. Strangely I've never bought a Jagjit Singh CD. Good I didn't. Those cassettes hold much more than music I must say. Just take out a favorite cassette (if you still have one) and try it. Hold it in your hand, close your eyes and see how magically it can transport you back to the times you heard it over and over again. This is exactly what I've been going through since last afternoon.

I was introduced to the magic of Jagjit Singh's voice by my friend Niju Ravindran in the first year of college. We were in a van during a college trip and I asked her what she was listening to. She quietly passed me her walkman and said "listen to it yourself". And that's it. I got hooked on to Jagjit Singh's music for life. Niju left college the same year to study elsewhere - as if her only purpose was to get me mesmerized by Jagjit Singh. Like I always say, angels come in so many forms (I am glad to have got back in touch with her last month after almost 20 long years).

Though I appeared to be a reckless tom boy to many, the soulfulness in Jagjit Singh's voice and music somehow touched me instantly. And as years went by, the effect only increased. I wasn't familiar with Urdu or even Hindi for that matter at that time. Thankfully most album jackets had full lyrics and also meaning to some rare words (what thoughtful gesture).

Today as I go through each Ghazal in every album, it all comes back to me. I was introduced to this music as a silly college girl and it stood by me as I matured. It probably helped me philosophize and see reality. Rather than saying I felt the pain along with Jagjit, I should say he shared my pain, loneliness and taught me how to cope. I guess that answers why I don't have any CDs of Jagjit Singh...by the time technology moved on to CDs from audio cassettes, I moved on too. Got a grip on life and its ways. Like I mentioned in an earlier blog post, my family would often try to pull me out of my “ghazal moods”. They thought the songs made me sad. I never tried to come out of my locked-up room and explain to them how good the music made me feel...I could've never explained even if I tried to. Not only the Ghazals, I even loved Jagjit Singh’s devotional music. I get goose-flesh even when I think of the refrain "Jai Jai Maa" in "Mere man ke andh tamas mein jyotirmayee utro" - how the song raised my spirits during so many times of need!

Thanks to Jagjit Singh, I also started looking at other singers like Pankaj Udhas, Chandas Das, Talat Aziz, even Hariharan but nobody stayed in my heart like Jagjit Singh and he always will. Thank you Jagjit Singh...RIP