Driving the morning

I love listening to Hindustani Classical Music while driving especially when I am alone to or back from the hospital. The DVD collection in the Car always and there is truly no better tonic for the ears, mind and soul than good music when I am with myself. It is extremely calming and destresses me better than anything else. I feel lost if the car has come back from the garage and the DVD’s not loaded. An eerie, alien experience that makes me feel as if I have got into another person’s vehicle.

I got into the car, backed out of the gate and while waiting for the traffic signal to change at the corner, selected this immortal Ahir Bhairav rendition by the all time favourite male vocalist of the genre for me, Pandit Jasraj. Panditji was in a class by himself. Utterly dedicated to music, which he pursued with lifelong devotion almost as a form of worship of the supreme being. It is easy to see how his singing differs from all others. I have always loved the Shlok at the beginning of his vocal rendition.

He starts the Ahir Bhairav, a wonderful raag for the early morning (6 am to 9 am) with Shri Vishnu Mantra: मंगलम भगवान विष्णु
मंगलम गरुड़ ध्वजा
मंगलम पुंडरीकाक्ष
मंगलाय तनो हरी ।

The stage for being one with the divine is now set. With every note, a calm sense of piety pervades every corner, every crevice of the car. Every molecule in the car resonates to Panditji’s vocals. I scarcely notice the sparse traffic and the air suspension helps me glide to the hospital car park. The round done, I return home, listening to the rest of the piece as only the Swar Martand Panditji can. Every patient I have met has at some stage asked me what do Doctors do to stay calm and not get stressed with all the morbidity (and inevitably, some mortality as well) that is our lot, 24/7/365. Despite never losing empathy, a physician can never afford to get worked up or stressed about the suffering around him. Music is the mojo that works for me, has worked for the last 4 decades of my practice and undoubtedly will continue to do so, over the last lap as well.

The human mind is funny, truly Chanchal. From Ahir Bhairav by Panditji, as I got out of the car and saw the dense, unseasonal rain clouds gathered in the skies, promising to deliver a greater dose of precipitation after the thunderstorms of last night, I thought of this amazing K J Yesudas Sindhu Bhairavi based rendition. The song sung full throated with so much soul as only KJY can put into it, reminded me of the evening encounter with the big, humble man in Kochi we had in 2004.

Swami is the album by Rajesh Roshan I will always remember him the most. Although he broke through with the superhit Julie, I personally rate this as his best work. The Yesudas number is very well composed by him and picturised so beautifully in the Girish Karnad- Shabana movie. The conflicting emotions of a music concert and the lonely wife are beautifully juxtaposed and the pain of the longing heart brought in superbly with the flute pieces. Dheeraj (Kumar) sings onscreen to Yesudas’s dulcet tones. No wonder the song got KJY a Filmfare that year. Vikram (of Julie fame) turns up in a short role as Shabana’s earlier romantic interest and Girish Karnad acts superbly well as is expected of him. The movie was produced by Hema Malini’s mom Jaya Chakravorty and directed by Basu Chatterjee. A wonderful movie that was actually shot in Dahisar (and the banks of the local river by the same name) !!! No Switzerland/ Maldives exotic locales and yet the movie is so eminently watchable. Based on a Sarat Chandra Chatterjee novel, it is one of the best movies I happened to see from the period. It also has 2 other beautiful songs, but more of that later. My morning and a better part of the day will today be full of Ahir Bhairav/ Sindhu Bhairavi.

Stay safe, folks, stay happy, healthy and far away from the toxic Chinese. Do take the jab.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

4 replies on “Driving the morning”

वाह!! Listening to one’s favourite music while traveling/ driving is a pure bliss…..Always….
Ahir bhairav is realy a very beautiful raag…
Pandit Jasraj ji’s Ahir Bhairav is superb.. अलबेला सजन आयो रे….from this raag is also beautiful 👌👌
Yesudas singing…aaye na balam…also wonderful 👌👌👍👍

Thanks for the share…..

Liked by 1 person

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