I don’t quite remember when I first fell in love with him. But, if I wish to go back vaguely, it would be ‘tum itna jo muskura rahi ho’ from the movie Arth. When Shabana Azmi shelters her tears, and Raj Kiran strings the guitar, even at the age of 12, I felt the ache, the throb. And, since then Jagjit Singh is probably the only one whom I find myself eternally in love with. Since the time I didn’t understand music, lyrics, shayari (poetry), relationship, love, heartache and probably life, I understood Jagjit Singh and his ghazals. He was there when no one was, cajoling me to fall in love, embrace a heartbreak and know and live life. And, today when the world is celebrating his birthday, I want to step few years back and try to gather why Jagjit Singh is still ‘the name’ that stirs my soul, and brings light to my darkest hours.
I have been told many times that the more you listen to him, the more gloomy you will feel. Ah, I disapproved with benevolence. How can you not feel good when he sings, “mohabbat mein fark nahi jeene aur marne ka..usi ko dekhkar jeete hai, jis kafir pe daam nikle.” I agree, there is a predominant darkness and melancholy in his voice, in his renditions, but it is this darkness that lights the inner and tender stretches of the heart, in layers. Not to forget his alluring romance when he crooned ‘Baat Niklegi To Phir Door Talak Jaegi‘. And ofcourse the ever green ‘Hoothon se chu lo tum‘. I wanted to fall in love ! Jagjit Singh has conveniently been a companion in the happiest and darkest moments of my life, and I owe it to him for being there, quite literally.
I sometimes feel, I am inept in letting my words flow when it comes to Jagjit Singh. There are very many instances that I have lived with his ghazals, that I hold close to my heart. I remember my first heartbreak and I sat through with “Duniye jisse kehte hai, Jaddo ka khilona hai “. This still remains one among my all time favourites. I have to mention it here that if there was anyone I found at par with him, it was none other than Chitra Singh. To me, no one other than Chitra Singh complimented him better. Jagjit- Chitra convincingly remains the inimitable duo in the world of music, and their duets were feast to not only your ears, but also to your soul.
I credit Jagjit Singh for introducing me to the world of sheer-o-shayari (Poetry). From the time I could find little meaning to the words he lend his voice to, I dug deep into the world of Ghalib, Faiz and Sahir. The profoundness of the words that were bewitchingly wrapped in sublimity, I could never fall out of love with them. Well, that brings me to Mirza Gahlib. The timeless Naseeruddin Shah in television serial as Mirza Ghalib and Jagjit Singh singing the classics, is impossible to erase from the mortal memories. Since then, every time I saw him in the celluloid, I wondered what if Jagjitji sang this song for him too! I think there can never be another Mirza Ghalib on the screen. ‘Dil e Nadan Tujhe hua kya hai’ and ‘Hazaron Khwahishein Aisi ‘ perched deep into my soul then, and safely nestles till today. Subsequently, his association with Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle gifted us with some immortal classics to die for, that stands tall as souvenir of his distinguished legacy.
I can go on and on about Jagjit Singh because there is hardly any corner of my life where he hasn’t contributed enough. I have lived some poignant moments with him, under the hermitage of his tunes and words. He was, and is quintessentially the voice that brought smile on my face, made me love deeper, and cushioned my aching heart, time and again. Jagjit Singh’s ghazals, his rendition and his shayaris will remain as one of the most priceless possessions of my life. And, on his Birthday, my only wish for him would be- Where ever you are, may you have a soulful and melodious birthday. You are missed terribly !