Of a journey and a sighting

Yesterday was Hutashani Pournima. A full moon day has always held a special charm for me since my childhood. I just can’t have enough of the moon, in every way. A wag told me it had something to do with the first five letters of my family name. That apart, the moon has fascinated me, and will likely do so till my dying day. At every opportunity that presents itself, I rush to grab an eyeful (and some more) of the oldest -and best known- Satellite of the planet we call our home.
The temptation of seeing the full moon “eye to eye” is something I can never resist. Going out of the city on an 80 km drive with Ghulam Ali and Jagjit Singh for company, the crisp, clean, cool, country air was exciting, exhilarating, energizing and rejuvenating.

The day’s labours forgotten at the first sighting of the luminous orb, I stood amazed yet again as she bathed me with the gentle luminescence that only she does every single time for the last many decades.

A few moments of oneness with the divine. I ceased to be in physical form and the out of body experience was just indescribably spiritual. An altogether brief moment suspended in the time space continuum, where the infinitesimally small fragment united with the whole of the Universal Being. Left me entranced, enchanted, and I returned to the mundane with renewed vows of returning in a month to catch up with her, a recurring tête a tête, at my personal rendezvous with Selene…

I heard this ghazal in the car three, four times during my journey, and once again today. There is something about meaningful verse that’s so addictive. Such an unadulterated joy to relish, to savour and to rejoice. Like old wine, good poetry must be relished by small sips, moving it around in the mouth and let the taste take over. Can’t be guzzled like water, no matter how thirsty the soul. This particular set of lines are by a skilled wordsmith, Rashid Kamil, rendered wonderfully well by Ghulam Ali. Ghulam Ali has a Jekyll and Hydesque performing personality. When he is good , he is very good, when he is showboating, well, I walked out of the last live concert of his that I attended despite being in row 2 bang opposite him at Ganesh Kreeda Manch, not wanting to sully the carefully preserved image and tarnish the memories that I have collected of his singing over some 4 decades. This one is his good face. Take a listen.

कभी आह लब पे मचल गई कभी अश्क़ आँख से ढल गये
वो तुम्हारे ग़म के चराग़ हैं कभी बुझ गये कभी जल गये

मैं ख़याल-ओ-ख़ाब की महफ़िलें न ब-कद्र-ए-शौक़ सजा सका
तेरी इक निगाह के साथ ही मेरे सब इरादे बदल गये

कभी रंग में कभी रूप में कभी छाँव में कभी धूप में
कहीं आफ़ताब-ए-नज़र हैं वो कहीं माहताब में ढल गये

जो फ़ना हुये ग़म-ए-इश्क़ में उन्हें ज़िंदगी का न ग़म हुआ
जो न अपनी आग में जल सके वो पराई आग में जल गये

था उन्हें भी मेरी तरह जुनूँ तो फिर उनमें मुझमें ये फ़र्क़ क्यूँ,
मैं गरिफ़्त-ए-ग़म से न बच सका वो हुदूद-ए-ग़म से निकल गये

What truly amazing and enchanting wordcraft: take the last line: I could not save myself from being caught up in the sorrow, while s/he escaped the limits of suffering (& sorrow)

Like all the truly gifted and great singers of the genre, Ghulam Ali sahab also excels when removed from the confines of a recording studio and unshackled from the straitjacket of temporal limits. These guys thrive and their souls feed on an opportune daad by an aficionado, a dardi. That’s what really they live for, the money is just an useful byproduct. No two live versions sound alike and the impromptu improvisation is always an icing on the carefully crafted cake. Have a look at this one and decide for yourself. I love going through the YouTube archives, unearthing each and trying to savour the ever differing nuances.

Have a wonderful day ahead, folks. I will stay in a haze with the moon and the many ghazals of an evening well spent. Like I told my friend, I am in a weekend mode 8 days a week.


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

6 replies on “Of a journey and a sighting”

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