When the Gramophone gently sings

Posted by on Sep-19-2009

There is something about my gramophone that I should tell you.

When I’m sitting in front of it playing an old record its not ‘the master’s voice’ I hear. It’s the voices from the past. I’m transposed to another era. You call that time traveling, correct?

In fact it’s not my gramophone. I inherited it from my father. Now whenever I set foot in Summer Palace, my home, taking a break from the ships, the first thing I do is try to turn the gramophone on. Raziya religiously maintains it. If it’s still playing it’s thanks to her.

Of all the records my father had treasured in this monumental structure I like this one, the one I’m playing right now “Bahaaron Phool Barsaao, Mera Mehboob Aaya Hain”

That’s my favorite song… and Raziya’s (see how love works!).

But what makes it special is that my father liked the singer. He had a series of legendary singers and troops to fall for in his time. But John Brown liked this voice. Not The Beetles not Pink Floyd but Rafi… Muhammad Rafi.

I remember him sitting on the rocking chair, his eyes closed, savoring a glass of French Wine and this song, playing it again and again and again. One of the most colorful memories from my child hood.

It perplexed me many times, being an Anglo-Indian why he liked an Indian singer. But whenever I listened to Rafi the question becomes irrelevant. His voice will go deep into your soul and create ripples there.

Years later the song came back to me. When I met Raziya for the first time at the Marine Institute she was singing “Bahaaron Phool Barsaao…” We were conducting an audition to form a music troop in the campus. Many singers and musicians were chosen for the band and I chose her to share my life.

The song was composed in Hindustani Raga Shivaranjini, she educated me later. This raga could please even Lord Shiva, thus the name Shiva-Ranjini.

The Raga is to be played at the second half of the night and could evoke the moods of romance and sorrow. I’ll talk about the Ragas and how they create certain moods later.

Now it’s the second half of the night. And we are here, still awake. I’m sitting in the same old rocking chair, sipping wine and gazing at Raziya. She is enjoying the song, singing with it in times, her eyes closed.

I also have other kinds of music players with me. But I like to hear this song only in my father’s gramophone.

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