In The Lap Of Bliss!

3 Feb

22nd Janurary was just another day for the visitors of Horniman Circle, nestled amidst the gothic architecture of banks, broker offices & the majestically arched surroundings of the Fort area in Mumbai. The park was scattered with the usual suspects – the “make-or-break” script writer, the giggly lovers on the bench, the fatigued Mumbaite catching a breath before rushing back into the sea of crowd, the afternoon sleepers-spreading themselves on the dusty green lawn, the thirsty crow & the dry fountain.

In one corner of the garden – the setting was somewhat different. Chairs were being arranged in neat serpentine rows; the red durries were being spread, the sound was being checked & the stage was getting ready for the evening soiree. As the sun disappeared amidst the high-rises of south Mumbai, people started trickling in. Apart from the regular music connoisseurs, there were the cabbie wallahs, the chanawallah, the ear-cleaner guy & the often weary passerby slowly filling up the seats. In no time, we had a packed garden, with curious onlookers stopping by for a quick dose of Kabir.

Prahlad Ji in his immaculate style opened the evening, sharing the most relevant Dohas with the audience. He often stopped in-between his songs to translate the meaning of the mystic poetry. His voice soared heavenwards through the foliage of the garden, captivating every heart, each soul present around. Like a reverend teacher he shared his sometimes subtle, yet often piercing verses of Kabir that each one of us could relate to. His ode to the “Ajab Saher” was in true indelible style.

The next performer indeed had a tough act to follow… yet it wasn’t a new setting for the magnificent Mukhtiar Ji, the lovable Mirasi Folk singer from Pugal, Rajasthan. The bard from Bikaner started off in his humble way & over the next hour won many hearts with his magical voice. Sharing heart-rending compositions from Kabir, Bulle Shah to Badar Muneer – Mukhtiar Ji cast a spell on the audience, making them dance, sway, hum & eventually join him in loud chorus. With Nith Khair Manga, Chadariya Jhini & Sanu Ik Pal Chain Na Aawey, he transcended us to far-away lands, on spell binding journeys. By the time he sang his last song of the day, the garden was brimming with a sea of people, thirsty for more.

As all beautiful things, the musical evening at Horiman Circle turned simply unforgettable. Something we all will cherish for days to come. The proceedings didn’t end there – the whole troupe got together for a jamming session over dinner at the dingy Bhagat Tarachand Restaurant at Javeri Bazaar, where the night came alive all over again. While dollops of ghee was being poured over dal – everybody joined in for an impromptu gig, where folk met bollywood, spoons & plates replaced dholak & majiras… The best part of such music is that it never ceases to fade; instead it grows within the thumping heart & the reflective mind. It lingers on… Kabir lives!

All spectators are welcome

Him too!

Nestled amidst the green

Now what on earth is that?

Two masters - Mooralala and Mukhtiar Ali

The transmitter of surreality

And The Stage Is Set

The Music Is Pent Up In There

A Jugalbandi Of Silence, Before The Storm of Emotions

Prahlad Tipaniya Heralding The Season Of Awe

Jag Darshan Ka Mela


– Text and Photographs by Nitesh Mohanty

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