Ustad….Aur Ek Shehzadi

The river was flowing gently. With the chirping of the birds, the riverside ghat was singing the music of joy. The night long darkness was escaping into a delightful dawn. Adorning the serene morning hues, the saffron sky was looking like a sadhak.. Everywhere around the ghats, there was something so magical..What is different today? Thinks the little boy for a while. He is wearing a white kurta-pajama, and a cap on his head..He has a musical wind instrument on his hand, which he was holding like his beloved daughter.

Everyday on the early morning, he comes here to practice. He loves to sit on the ghats, surrounded by solitude.. to watch the boats..Some of them are waiting on the ghats, and others are having trip on the middle of the river. He sees the north sky, bows to the music goddess, bows to Kashi Vishwanath..and closes his eyes. Then he starts his journey with his first blow..while playing, he thinks himself as the boat, and starts his journey towards the ultimate destination.

Today he decides to play ‘Bhairavi’-the morning raga. He loves this raga like his daughter. Whenever he plays this tune, he feels someone is calling him..he tries to find that voice. And finally, he reaches to her. It’s his darling daughter, his princess, his shehzadi. She was crying for his vidai, the tearfull farewell. The boy tells her to stop shedding tears, because he will never send her to the in-law house. He will keep her with him, forever..He promised to his princess, his shehzadi.

He starts blowing the wind with this morning tune..and soon, he was on the journey to beyond..He was playing madly, with an absolute calmness of his heart and soul..

After playing for an hour, he comes to an end of his journey. He stops playing. He opens his eyes, sees to the sky, and bows to someone to thank for this art. He has devoted his life to this art. Suddenly, someone calls his name from the back.

“Boy, you were playing so nice!! What is your name, dear??”

It was a holy man standing beside him, wearing a saffron dress of a sadhak. The boy replies his name.

“Oh!! That’s great!! You share the name of the supreme!! You play play incredible!! I was passing from here, but suddenly I heard you. And I stopped. I have been listening to you for an hour. Something was there, in your tune..a pain, a calling, a question, a more..It was, beyond any words!! Something was stopping my legs to move, my mind to go anywhere..As if, there was someone telling me, stay here..stay at this moment..stay with this divine tune..stay here..”

The li’l boy was overwhelmed by his words. He was not understanding all their meaning, but he felt that he was praising his playing, and her shehzadi. He was glad. He told him to come on the next day again, and he will play for him, once again.

The holy man smiles…. He tells,

“I will not come again to you. But, I want to tell you something today. My child, whenever you would play in future, think that you are playing for the absolute, the supreme..Don’t forget to bow to him first, and then, close your eyes, devote yourself to his holy feet..and start your journey to the unknown..I’ll be hearing you from somewhere definitely. You are a miracle, boy!! Listening to you is a pure would spread love and happiness everywhere..Now, let me go, dear..” He turns to the temple, and tells his last words,

“Remember one thing, my boy..Music is the Truth..Music is the Absolute..and, Music is eternal..the journey that never ends, the journey to the beyond..”

With these words, he turns, and starts walking fast. The man leaves the place with long steps. The boy stares for a while to his way, and soon he reminds his last words..He told him to play..”No, I have to play..I have to sing with my shehzadi..let me start where I stopped….” And he starts playing again.

He kept his promise..the promise once he made to his shehzadi..and a promise he made to that saffron-clad man..

The boy was later known by the name of ‘Ustad’, the master..and when he breathed last, he was buried under a neem tree of a burial ground in Varanasi, holding the hand of his princess..his  shehzadi ‘Shehnai’..

And he kept the another promise, too. He flooded the world with his skilled shehnai tunes..becoming utterly synonymous to his darling princess..The whole world of Indian music know him as the foremost virtuoso of shehnai.

Till the last day, he recounted the words that mystic man of his early childhood. With his growing age and musical experience, he realized the meaning of that words, that was left on that time..He realized, Music is eternal, the journey to the beyond..With this divine realization, he kept saying,

“ Even if the world ends, the music will still survive “…

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