"I want to see music in your eyes," he said. The cue was taken, the lights in
the auditorium turned on. He smiled at the illuminated faces.
Sangeet Martand (the sun of music) Pandit Jasraj came to sing for his beloved Hyderabadis once again. And it was obvious the maestro was in great form this evening. And for the skeptics who thought that there was nothing new that he could do after being here so many times, it was a revelation.
Every note from mandra sthayi to shadjamam was intricately taken
through various stages, unpredictably at times. Kala Ramnath on the violin tried
to reproduce them accurately. When she did, she got wahwahs from Panditji,
and she beamed with pleasure. When she couldn't follow a particular tan, the frown
from the Guru made her face fall. And then an understanding smile from him restored
Vijay Ghate on the tabla believed that his percussion instrument could sing like Panditji. It didn't. So Panditji sang like the percussion instrument. Ghate went gaga with happiness and beat on with gusto, pleased with himself at being able to do it. Panditji graciously allowed him the presumption.
Vocal support Pritam Bhattacharjee couldn't cope with the complicated swara
structure. He gave up in stunned silence. Panditji waved a hand - and he came
alive at once producing a creative tan that won him a look of admiration from
the Guru. We all knew he couldn't be another Sangeet Martand - at least not immediately
- but we didn't like him to lose heart so soon.
Guruji's encouragement was bliss, both for Bhattacharjee and for an audience who
were being taught many a nuance of the rag Jog. Most were humming along.
Being taught by a great master doesn't happen everyday. When people remembered
where they were, they said "Kya Baat Hai!" And when they didn't, they simply
allowed the tears to flow in pure ecstasy.
Himachal Som of ICCR said, "We can't compensate Panditji commercially." It was
apparent that Pandit Jasraj was not singing to the rustle of currency notes -
it was more for the silent whisper of the unknown. Dedication was revealed yet
again when he announced the 3-day music yajna at Ahmedabad. The proceeds
of the CD would go to the Gujarat earthquake relief fund.
Stickler-for-time ICCR apologized for delay due to rain. But the hall filled to
capacity anyway and the concert enthralled, with every 'nee' pulling at the heart
strings. "50 not out," Panditji quipped about ICCR's Golden Jubilee Celebrations.
ICCR proudly responded in kind with, "There is an auditorium in his name at New
York city." And all cheered.
Panditji's recital not only cleared the clouds in the city, it also allowed the
Sun of his music to shine through our souls. His famous 'Govindam-Gopalam' reached
a divine high and most hearts stopped beating. Mundane being that I was, I touched
his feet and requested, "Please make my heart beat again." Who else otherwise
would want a heart to beat without his music in it? Shine on, Sir, on our souls