Last year on September 24 I heard on the television that Jagjit Singh was hospitalised after suffering brain haemmorage, and in the next few days the news only got gloomier. On October 10 he passed away. He created a void in the music world, especially in the ghazal singing fraternity; he also created a void in my life. I haven't had the privilege of knowing him, nor even meeting him, yet I felt a huge loss in my heart. I guess that's what the 'greats' do. Through their works they become a part of your life, your world!
I was introduced to Jagjit Singh's music at home. I was about 7, when there used be endless small, informal parties at my place. There was always good food and drinks, and a lot of music. In most of those sessions Jagjit and Chitra Singh's music was played as their music was everyone's favourite! This was life for me and my family and friends and it went on. One day we heard about the death of Jagjit and Chitra Singh's son, and soon we realised that Chitra Singh would no longer sing. Like typical Bengalis, who like to discuss everything (almost), they discussed the tragic death, Chitra Singh's absence from singing etc.
Many years passed and I had moved on to listening to more western music than Indian. It was just by chance that I met a few people while I lived in Hyderabad, who quite unknowingly and unintentionally got me back into the world of Jagjit Singh's ghazals; and, this time I guess I became a more intense fan.
I've had the privilege of attending two of his concerts in Hyderabad, and what musical treats they were! The man was a genius! I remember the second concert that I went for, he was not well, but one couldn't tell! He was at his best throughout! We refer to him as a singer, a ghazal maestro, but what is hardly spoken about him is that of his performance style. It is rare that a singer from a serious genre of music entertaining the crowd while performing at the highest level. Most Indian classical and semi classical artists sit with a tanpura or a harmonium and sing and talk about the songs or the ragas only. Jagjit Singh would crack a joke and get back to singing some of the most difficult notes without any effort, leaving the audience spellbound!
Today, on his first death anniversary, I pray to the almighty that He keeps our dear Jagjit Singhji safe and happy. His genius is irreplaceable, but I do hope that there will be enough talent to keep his legacy going.
These 2 tickets are a part of my most treasured possessions! In fact, I went to Viceroy (now Marriott) in Hyderabad all by myself to watch this concert! It was a bit awkward to sit all alone amidst so many people around, but as the evening progressed with one gem after another I became one with the music around me. "Badi nashili raat thi..."