Saturday, September 7, 2013

Kapil's Story : Pandit Bhim Sain Joshi Concert at Nehru Park.

Story:   Pandit Bhim Sain Joshi Concert at Nehru Park.

this is around 12-15 years back , I saw a newspaper ad from "New Delhi Municipal Corporation" called NDMC arranging a Morning Raga Series of Programme in which  coming Sunday  Programme was  By legendary Pundit Bhim Sain Joshi Ji at Nehru Park , Chankya Puri , New Delhi .

The time of start of the said Programme was 06.00 am. This was too early by any standard to start a Programme that too on Sunday.

That season was around March - April, almost end of winter months. On occasion day i.e. Sunday which was cloudy sky with slightly speedy cool breeze was little punching with surrounding is almost full green.

In Chankya Puri area this time of the year also witness the spread of pollen from different tree, fall of white wool flower called "Samel ki rooi" was adding Majestic touch to the total scene. 

Pundit Bhim Sain Joshi , called Pundit Ji affectionately  , who died  in 2011  was a "Bharat Rattan" recipient ( India's highest civil honour ) was a ultimate singer with utmost grip on rhythm & melody ( Laykari & Sur ) , a doyen of Classical Hindustani singing with a singing career span in almost half a century.

I have heard his cassettes with Raga like Raga Ramkali, Mia Ki Malhar, etc., but never had the chance to listen him live. Though, I had the privilege to listen live other masters like Pundit Kumar Gandharv & Mallikarjun Mansoor Sahib earlier.

I was very exited & eager to listen to him live that is why I had told my wife Kamini to be ready by 05:30 am on Sunday.
We both reached Nehru Park before time, the security was un-precedent, reason later understood, very surprised to see huge crowd creating the lack of car parking space despite of the huge parking space Nehru Park has.

The security staff checked us properly on the way to open air concert space, which was almost in middle of huge park area, almost 10 minutes walking from car park.

As we reached the concert area, I first saw Mr. P.V. Narsima Rao (ex-prime minister of India) & couple of other ministers & other VIP of current & previous governments. Some Ambassadors from other countries were also there. That was the reason of very high security , but good point was general public , like us , was also welcomed without any discrimination , only thing was while sitting arrangements for Ambassadors had a special enclosed that’s all . Total sitting was on mattress on Very good groomed grass. Under a huge pandal open from all sides. 

By 06.00 Morning all preparations were almost over with listeners & Pundit Ji ready.

Suddenly a splash of rain, hotchpotch the total arrangements , first lowered temperatures & increase the wind speed in such a way that the open pandal start behaving like a kite about to be uprooted . The organizers sensed the gravity of situation struggling to keep the pandal intact, but with in 5-10 minutes fortunately wind speed became down to the relief to all.   

Pundit Ji sensed the slightly panic in the scene , ask every body that as Morning is so beautiful , why not to start the "Shringar of Lord Krishna" ( make up sort of Lord Krishna ) and start singing ...

His voice was like a roar of a lion , I do not have the vocabulary to define his voice to be frank & honest , every one just forgot every thing else except the feeling of a magic called "singing of Pundit Ji"

he start Shringar with sandal wood pasted with turmeric on his arms , Red Alta on his Lotus feet  , Sandal Wood Tika on forehead , black kohl in his eyes , then a marigold necklace , rose bracelets , lotus round on his waist .. Etc, etc. All in his singing , can you imagine this ,  every body was just involved in this Shringar in his heart , this kind of involvement created by singing , my god , raga name I just forgot.. This raga took 30 to 35 minutes to complete. Pundit Ji came to a complete halt , for a moment every thing stopped , no clapping nothing as everybody was regaining his or her conciseness , this moment was of 9 - 10 second , Suddenly again Pundit Ji asked a lady sitting in front row in audience , Is any this left out in this Shringar ? this Sudden question left that lady bemused , then a pause to wait for the answer , as no answer , again started singing after said that "more punkh"( peacock feather) still pending in this Mukut (head gear) , this was really fast piece of raga just set the heart race pulse to its limits , after complete Shringar , touched the Lotus feet of Lord Krishna , In Return Krishna lifts the shoulder of the disciple ( Pundit Ji & every listeners involved ) & gives a proper hug as Return gift of unconditional love .    after getting this hug a lot of crowd had tears in their eyes , these tears were not ordinary , this was the outcome of a meeting , touching , hugging of none other then Lord Krishna himself ,, believe me no clapping , scene was solemn & ecstatic .... He told that these lyrics by Surdas Ji.

With a gap of a minute, he gives certain instruction to his musicians pointing out towards side trees where lot of birds were just enjoying music I do not know, but enjoying after rain cool breeze & singing kuhu - kuhu themselves.

Pundit started singing by praying with folded hand in "Namaste" Posture looking towards those birds "Sur ki Mallika, Mera Jiwan Bhi Ulhas Se Bhar De” ( the queen of melody , please fill my life with the joy : as you have it )  .
I think this was “Raga Basant Bahar”, see the dimensions of a doyen called "Pundit Bhim Sain Joshi" praying towards a small bird about its singing techniques, the wording of the prayers were just great like
"Aapka Kuch Nahi Jayega, Mera Jiwan Sawar Jayega"
(You will loose nothing, but my life will set).  This raga also took 30-35 minutes. The beauty of this raga was first a salute to Mother Nature & her abundance; second an eagerness to learn further as master think incomplete-ness in his knowledge & ability.
The total air filled with a continuous clapping.

The combination of almost wet cloths due to earlier splash & cool breeze, had created vibrating teeth effect to almost every one, but no body wants to go half concert.

The third & final raga was a Durga Stuti ( in praise of Goddess Durga ) , as Dushhera & Durga Puja was almost a fortnight away ,
every fine details of goddess Durga was there , her persona , her divine-ness , her blessing , her capabilities to remove evil forces , her nine roop ( nine facets of her life ) , etc . Etc ..........

he ended this concert with a thank to all his listeners....

in stories , we know about  Tansen in Mugul emporor Akbar  , who had the ability to bring rain by singing megh malhar or can lit a Deepak by singing Raga Deepak .

But now I can claim myself the ability the music power to experience a hugging by lord Krishna.

Mere remembrance of that concert gives me Goosebumps today & always. I feel so honored that I have experienced Pundit Bhim Sain Joshi Live.

The End ….

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