A night to remember

A night to remember

The voice that defied the weather gods held the JNU students spellbound

There was a nip in the air and the students were streaming out on the campus ground after hearing that Joshi may come to perform before them.

As the evening grew, there was no confirmation of the event and students began chatting away time sipping tea and smoking. But at 8:30 pm, Joshi arrived, to a welcome from mixed crowd of curious first-timers and connoisseurs of “pakka gayaki”.

The simple-mannered musician sat on a small, raised platform and looked at the audience—many of them donning “jholas” that cried of their Left leanings. He then asked them what they would like to listen. Those who knew his music laid their stock bare through a rapid-fire of his past renditions. Joshi picked up one of the farmaishs (requests), and began to work his way through the notes.

The maestro started off on slowly, and took time to settle into his music. But as time progressed, his music powered the night and the lawn, surrounded by the Jhelum, Ganga and Sutlej hostels (named after three Indian rivers).

Then, as though confirming the power of music to open up the skies, it began to rain. The next few minutes gave the audience a treat as the downpour competed to match the tenor of Joshi, who had switched over to a higher note.

The performance went on and showed no signs of yielding to the weather. But the lesser mortals in the crowd grew jittery and requested Joshi to move inside one of hostels. The show would, however, continue.

Joshi then followed the organisers into the Ganga hostel, which had gone through a quick clean-up. Four dinner tables were joined to make a make-shift dais on which Joshi would continue with his music.

Within minutes of his settling down at the new venue, Joshi began, this time with a renewed vigour. The rains, too, didn’t give in and as heavens came down outside, Joshi’s ‘ragas’ took the young crowd to a new high.

After the shifting of venue, Joshi’s rendition displayed a determination not to be deterred by anything around. Lost so much in singing, he probably did not know when the lights went off or when benches, on which students were standing to listen to him, collapsed with a thud.

He sang late into night and finally wound up with the best of what he had to offer...“Jo bhaje Hari ko sada wahi param pad payega....” It a night to remember.

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