A living legend.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One evening The Delhi Walla attended a classical music concert organized by the Department of Art and Culture, Delhi Government, in association with Punjabi Academy, in central Delhi’s Kamani Auditorium.
The hall was packed with the elderly. The front seats were occupied by senior secretaries of the ministry of culture – and their respective wives. The master of ceremony was a lady in a red saree who used the occasion to remind the audience about the Honorable Prime Minister’s ‘Clean India’ mission.
The evening’s first performance was by sarod player Narendra Nath Dhar who tested the patience of the honorable secretaries by taking a long time to tune his instrument.
Next came Pandit Jasraj.
Attired in gold chains and gold rings, the 84-year-old classical singer was seated amid half a dozen accompanists. They all looked stern.
And then ‘Sangeet Martand’ Pandit Jasraj began to sing.
His voice was authoritative but kind, and was infused with a secure confidence that comes only after a lifetime of learning. The deep sound appeared to carry within its core the wisdom of ancient India — so it seemed to my uneducated senses.
Pandit Jasraj’s initial sternness dissolved within a few minutes. He smiled conspiratorially with his accompanists from time to time. He also bantered with his listeners though they remained in awe of him – these Delhiwallas were the lucky few who were watching an aged marvel in action.
The evening eventually ended. While walking on the stage, Pandit Jasraj’s legs suddenly trembled – two of his accompanists quickly held him steady. It was a beautiful moment.
A rare appearance