Mourning Mehdi

His illness had ominously indicated the inevitable – if not now, some time later. But one still never got prepared enough to bid adieus to Someone who was Mehdi Hassan, the immortal king of Ghazal, the master of classical music, the God of singing and the sage who knew what to pick for singing – Ghalib, Meer, Shifai.. Someone who never fell to temptation of cheap popularity advanced by the numbers and the masses. Someone who would sing humbly before an audience for hours, teach the nuances like a teacher and admonish them like a parent for indiscipline and disturbance.

One grew up with him because the Ghazals he sang walked with one in one’s life. At the happy moment, one has no time for anything else. When the skies of existence turned darker and one turned for the light, Mehdi was sure one source. With profoundness of meaning, the wisdom that grows from accepting the destiny, the unbreakability of human spirit that responds with disdain and rises above the vagaries of life and stares at God eye to eye.

A typical introduction to Mehdi Hassan is when one is struggling to make sense with a phenomenon, and the words of some maestro rendered perfectly in the classical tones fall in to the ears, hold the stirred heart still and go straight to one’s senses. One needs no effort in appreciating a masterly sculpture if one appreciated Mehdi Hassan.

One understands what love stands for, what dedication is, not by repeating a cheap “Dhai Din Na Jawani Naal Chaldi” but Mehdi’s

Zindgi Mein To Sabhi Pyaar Kiyaa Karate Hein,

Mein to Mar Kar Bhi Meri Jaan Tujhe Chaahungaa..”

He surely taught millions how to love.

Even when he shared the sentiments of awkwardness when one does not know what to say – the adolescent predicament made more insurmountable in the presence of one’s loved one:

Baat Karni Mujhe Mushkil Kabhi Aisi To Na Thi..

Jaisi Ab Hai Teri Mehfil kabhi Aisi To Na Thi…

You knew you were not alone in this world with the hardships of romance – he logged you in to the eternal community of people who not only loved but lived its awkwardness and demand with grace and beauty.

The seasons change, the phases change and so the love of one’s life would change its color, too. When one was pining for the reunion, he would make it more endurable with his

Gulon mein rang bhare, baagena bahar chale

Chale bhi aaoke gulshan ka kaarobaar chale..

and who could remain proud and refuse to kneel before the loved one after knowing the sentiment of total surrender celebrated by Hassan in his:

Ranjish Hi Sahi, Dil Hi Dukhaane Ke Liye Aa

Aakhir Tu Mujhe Chhodke Jaane Ke Liye Aa…

And he would just make the moment of being ignored because someone was insensitive to you a reality that’s not new with his:

Patta Patta Boota Boota Haal Hamaraa Jaane Hai

Jaane Naa Jaane Gul hi Na Jaane Baag to Saara Jaane Hai..

Or,

Kopalein Phir Phoot Aain, Shaakhpar, Kehnaa Use

Voh na Samjhaa Hai, Na Samjhegaa, Magar Kahenaa Use..

If no one asks you what’s wrong with you, or you don’t feel like tell anyone, HE would ask you what’s wrong – he would ask you to assess the damage:

Dekh to Dil Ke Jaan Se Uthtaa Hai

Yeh Dhuaan-saa Kahaanse Uthataa Hai..

He would not only show the possibility that the ordeals of love would cause your heart and soul to smoke, but he would tell that worse happened to people who were ready for more:

Yeh Mojezabhi Muhabbat Kabhi Dikhaaye Mujhe

Ke Sang Tujh Pe Gire Aur Zakhm Aaye Mujhe..

He took the whole affair to the whole new heights and shifted the preoccupation from you-and-your-lover to LOVE. Once you understood that, you did not really care if enduring love was about death at the blow of stone or something else. You just fastened the seat belt for the extreme. It could mean the extreme of the heights, why just the depths.

And when you were just at the ordinary, he presented you with just the simple:

Tune Yeh Phool jo Zulfon me Sajaa Rakhaa Hai,

Ek Diyaa Hai jo Andheron me Jalaa Rakhaa Hai…

The longing and offering of one’s self with

Kesariya Baalam Aavo ne padhaaro mhaare des..

Who would equate the love with the offering to the God even when it had failed:

Arz-e Niyaaz-e Ishque ke kaabil nahin Raha..

Go in peace, Mehandi Hassan, whatever that other world is. I hope they know who is coming and get dressed in their best for you! And just like that, on your journey, if you come back to the earth once again, it would be a great moment. I am lucky I lived in times when you tread this world..What form will you take on the day of judgment when they felicitate your soul and grant it eternal freedom?

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