Let me describe the scene. It’s a college hostel, a group of friends, among them a few lovelorn, a few sympathetic, mostly all with filled glasses and the occasion, another “Room ghazal night”. Performer, our very own Jaggi Paaji (What we used to call Jagjit Singh Ji) off course on MP3 (Wish he was there for real).
Night usually began with happier ghazals, exceptions being the occasions when one of the friends had recently gone through the heart break hotel. These happy ghazals were for the folks who were in love or had fallen freshly in love and also for those who in general believed “Ghazal Nights” should always start on a lighter note, yours truly was among the later. So we had a “Hosh Walon ko khabar kya”, “Tera Chehra kitna suhana lagta hey” and “Tumko dekha to ye khayal aaya”.
The glasses used to be all refilled by now, Jagjit Singh Ji, had already cast a spell on us all. Barring a few dotting boyfriends, who had to bid us a temporary adieu for their daily telephonic one to one with their female deity and a few new additions, people who had already finished talking to their deity, almost everyone used to be still, mesmerised by the silken voice. I was among the still ones.
By now there used to be an uprising of sorts in the room, as lovers were on the phone, the lovelorn found themselves in a majority in the room. This resulted in mood of ghazals witnessing a sea change. Suddenly we used to have a “Gum ka khazana tera bhi hey, mera bhi”, “Pyaar jo mujhse kiya tumne, to kya paogi” and “Ye daulat bhi le lo, ye shauhrat bhi le lo”.
By 2 am lovers started to trickle back again in the room. So we again used to go to “Honthon se choo lo tum” and “Jhuki Jhuki si nazar” and “Pyaar ka pehla khat”. There was also something in it for the nerds and the geeks, our songs were “Saarey Pind chi puade paaye” and “tappey” and trust me we used to make our presence felt. We had ready jokes for both lovers and the lovelorn. We were the torchbearers of the humour.
In all this friendly jostling, it seemed as if Jagjit Singh Ji had a song for us all, the lovers, the lovelorn and the geeks. Every ghazal, every nazm, had a feeling which all of us could always relate to. We all had a pact; the pact was to attend together a Jagjit Singh concert. A few of us, who had been to Jagjit Singh Ji’s concerts, used to tell others about how awesome they were, leaving rest of us dying to attend one.
But now none of it is possible, as the maestro has left us. But not before giving us an eternal voice and timeless classics, which we all shall treasure forever. Going back to the “Room Ghazal Night”, by 4 am with sufficiently tipsy people around, a new pattern used to emerge. Everyone used to sing along and that meant it was the time for the favourite ghazal of the gang, “Kal Chaudhvin ki Raat Thi”.
Its Jagjit Singh Ji’s birthday on 8th February and I would like to thank you Jagjit Ji for giving me my beautiful memories. I am sure like my “College Ghazal Night” all you folks out there, have a few Jagjit memories of your own too. What better way to end this, than a few lines from Jagjit Singh Ji’s favourite ghazal of mine.
“Koochey Ko tere chodkar, jogi hi ban jaayein magar, Jungle tere parvat tere, basti teri sehra tera, Kal Chaudhvin ki raat thi”