And God spoke to me - Again!

Satguru Uday Singh Ji

It was the first week of March 2013. A pleasant wave of wind hit our faces as I landed in Bangalore. I was traveling to Bangalore for the first time after Thakur Ji had taken over the mantle of the Namdhari community as Satguru Uday Singh ji. 


As we sped away from the airport my mind drifted to what lay ahead. Up until that fateful thirteenth day of 2012, my relationship with Thakur ji had been limited to professional work. Then everything changed. While I was lucky to be blessed in witnessing the start of Satguru Uday Singh jis journey as Satguru ji and our journey in effect with Him as His sangat, inwardly I was in turmoil and my heart yearned for Satguru Jagjit Singh Jis darshan - despite knowing that physically that was not possible. The wound had not healed. 


My eyes welled up with emotions as we drew closer to Satguru Jis residence (Kothi) at Bidadi, at the doorstep of Namdhari Seeds. On many an occasion, I had visited the place earlier when Satguru Jagjit Singh ji had blessed the Namdhari Sangat of Bangalore here. Today I was again visiting the place to do Satguru jis darshan.


We spent the next hour settling in and discussing the next day's schedule with the Namdhari team. Our discussions were midway when we heard Satguru jis car arrive. A warm smile greeted us as we touched His feet and sought blessings. As my cameraman Manas Mishra an atheist at heart greeted Satguru ji - I introduced him saying that Manas had had the good fortune of having Satguru Jagjit Singh Jis darshan as well. Satguru ji smiled and said how we had all been lucky — including Him to have witnessed God walk on earth in the form of Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji. The longing and fondness in those words stunned me into silence and for a second I wondered where had I heard that before.


Having just had langar at about 9 pm, I was pacing across the kitchen when Satguru ji came out of His room and walked towards the kitchen. He spoke to Suba Amrik Singh who was standing there and a couple of other people in the kitchen and then walked across to where I was standing with folded hands. He enquired about the well-being of my family and specifically my grandparents who stayed in Hyderabad. I and the rest of us had assumed that that would be the end of our conversation for the night, however, that was just the beginning of one of the most exhilarating conversations that I had had in my life.


The pleasantries had led the conversation to how my great grandfather Teja Singh ji had traveled from Gujranwala in Pakistan at the behest of Satguru Pratap Singh ji and moved to Hyderabad during the late nineteen thirties. Satguru ji remarked that having been born in the early sixties he had not done Satguru Partap Singh jis darshan but had heard about His benevolence from Satguru Jagjit Singh ji. Satguru jis voice cracked with emotion as He remembered fondly why just Satguru Pratap Singh ji, He had seen Satguru Nanak Dev ji in Satguru Jagjit Singh ji. Silence again engulfed all of us at that moment as individual memories came flooding back. Suba ji politely reminded all of us that it was getting late and that we should all retire for the night. Satguru ji however looked at me and asked Suba ji to move my dera inside the Kothi and asked me to follow Him in. I was surprised and nervously followed Satguru ji in wondering if I had spoken anything untoward. 


It was about 10 pm when seated in the corner of the drawing room on the sofa near the window, Satguru ji started speaking about Satguru Jagjit Singh Jis benevolence. He also asked me to narrate my experiences with Him. The wound of Satguru Jagjit Singh jis loss lay bare as I started sharing my experiences. Within no time I had tears in my eyes and moments later I couldnt control myself. The past three months had been a big challenge, every moment had been heavy, I had immersed myself in creating content on Satguru Jagjit Singh ji in the hope that I would overcome my grief but at that moment the dam burst. Satguru ji heard me out patiently, never once breaking the flow of memories, only interjecting to get a few more details and prodding me to come out with my grief in totality, He knew that I needed it, all of us needed it, Satguru Jagjit Singh ji had been the single focus point in our spiritual lives.


My heart felt lighter and it seemed as if a major burden had been lifted over my shoulders. I looked at Satguru ji embarrassed at the mess I had made of myself and apologised for letting myself go. He smiled the same benevolent smile that I had seen so many times before in my life. He started sharing his experiences with Satguru Jagjit Singh ji and the benevolence that he had seen and experienced as a part of the Sangat. I was surprised as to why was He sharing that with me when He remarked - we are all children of Satguru Jagjit Singh ji and were now duty-bound to carry forward His legacy as envisaged by Him. In the words of Bhai Gurdas, Satguru Uday Singh ji reaffirmed how Satguru Jagjit Singh ji had propagated the legacy of Satguru Nanak Dev ji and the subsequent Gurus 


ਜਿਥੇ ਬਾਬਾ ਪੈਰ ਧਰਿ ਪੂਜਾ ਆਸਣੁ ਥਾਪਣਿ ਸੋਆ 

Wherever Baba put his feet, a religious place was erected and established.

ਸਿਧ ਆਸਣਿ ਸਭਿ ਜਗਤ ਦੇ ਨਾਨਕ ਆਦਿ ਮਤੇ ਜੇ ਕੋਆ 

All the siddh-places now have been renamed on the name of Nanak.

ਘਰਿ ਘਰਿ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਧਰਮਸਾਲ ਹੋਵੈ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਸਦਾ ਵਿਸੋਆ 

Every home has become a place of dharma where singing.

ਬਾਬੇ ਤਾਰੇ ਚਾਰਿ ਚਕਿ ਨਉ ਖੰਡਿ ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮੀ ਸਚਾ ਢੋਆ 

Baba liberated all four directions and nine divisions of the earth. 

He spoke in awe of Satguru jis passion for every aspect of human life - from Naam Simran to bani, from music to arts, from sports to health, from vegetarianism to peace, from farming to technology and above all the welfare of Namdhari sangat. Time had flown by and by the time I realised, it was way past midnight. 


As Satguru ji enumerated each of these aspects the same steely resolve came across as we had seen before, one that illustrated that He was but Himself a part of the whole, He was Nanak, an embodiment of Ram-Hari-Partap-Gur Jagjit, there was no illusion, it was the truth and it dawned upon me that we were lucky to have Him. And then in a matter of fact manner He said, “The worldly body had grown old and needed to be rejuvenated to carry the work forward.” I was in awe and wondered why did it take me so long to realise and embrace this? Perhaps it was divine intervention, this conversation was needed to remind me again that Yes, Satguru Jagjit Singh ji was right here, in front of me and He had spoken to me that night.


10 years is a long time yet that night is still fresh in my mind as I thank and count my blessings for that conversation. It has led me onto the path of truth that I would not have taken had it not been.


From then to now, every milestone that we cross as a community reminds me of the steely resolve from that day in March 2013. The grace and humbleness that we have seen grow out of the trying times of community. Every event, occasion, and personal word of motivation has only moved to safeguard, fulfil and go beyond the legacy of the previous Satguru. Perhaps now is not the time to reflect but to move forward with even more vigour, for 10 years is just a start in the era of the grace and benevolence of Satguru Uday Singh ji.


February 2007, Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji was giving darshan in Raagi Balwant Singhs house. The happy occasion was the dastarbandi of his eldest son Basant Singh. Everyone was congratulating everyone when the conversation shifted to Satguru jis musical compositions and inevitably to Ustad Vilayat Hussains baithak at the very same place a few years back. I was carrying my laptop with me and as luck would have it a hard drive with the recording of the baithak. Immediately a screen was organised along with a project and moments later Satguru ji was reminiscing the baithak and enjoying the music. I couldnt take my eyes off Satguru jis face, it was lit up with happiness. He looked at me and smiled and at that moment an idea struck, we had been sitting on a treasure trove of Satguru jis recordings for years without giving a thought that the same could be put together into a documentary that would help not only archive those recordings but also help the sangat savor the beauty and blessings of Satguru jis music. With a prayer on my lips I approached Satguru ji and requested Him to permit us to attempt to make the documentary, truth be told inside my heart I wanted to make something that would make Satguru ji smile always and music always did. Satguru ji looked around and then asked me how long would it take, I replied as much time as He think it would take. He smiled mysteriously and gave His approval for us to attempt to make the documentary. I was ecstatic, little did I realise that the answer to the question He had asked was something that we were never prepared for.


Years went by and we painstakingly collected all the recordings of Satguru ji and the baithaks’ with the help of Gurmukh Singh Sewak and Balbir Singh who had been recording Satguru jis precious moments, The challenge was that everything was recorded on VHS tapes and that data needed to be digitised, classified and rejuvenated even before we could start scripting. Then there was data to be collected across the world from the sangat where Satguru ji had held a concert or music sitting, which was, to be honest, every day of Satguru jis life. This process took several years and by the time we reached the stage of scripting it was 2012 and in December of that year, Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji merged with the eternal light. As mentioned in the beginning, that was a challenging time for all of us. All work had come to a halt and given the circumstances I wasnt even sure that I would be able to complete it. On a professional note the project demanded a lot of resources and on the emotional front, every time I played any of Satguru jis singing or saw a baithak I would end up an emotional wreck. The mind played games and there were several moments where despite Satguru Uday Singh Jis benevolence, it was difficult to move on. By November 2013 I had given up all hope of completing the documentary. It was during these trying circumstances that one restless night when I was finding it difficult to sleep and was tossing in my bed, Satguru Jagjit Singh ji blessed me with a vision. I was transported to Partap Mandir, the program had just concluded and Satguru Jagjit Singh ji was on His way out. I was packing up the camera and other equipment just below the stage, Satguru ji approached and said Hey you… listen to me…,” I looked up and around me to see who Satguru ji was calling out, I could see several people going about their jobs and then I heard Him again, I am talking to you…,” I turned and saw Satguru ji pointing at me and he continued, I want you to continue doing what you do. You will do a good job, continue doing what you do.” I was stunned, I could only nod my head and fold my hands in reverence and just like that I was transported back to my bed. Was it a vision, a dream, or just my subconscious mind that was playing tricks with me? 


1030 am, the next day, I had all but forgotten about the vision when my phone rang and I received a call from Satguru Uday Singh Ji. I was stunned by the words that he spoke I want you to continue doing what you do, I want you to translate Satguru Jagjit Singh JiUpdesh (sermons) into English,” he explained how a team was being put together for the same and how he thought I would be able to not only contribute to the effort but also seek solace and calm my mind. What struck me was the words that He had spoken, they are the same words as Satguru Jagjit Singh ji, the previous night. I immediately immersed myself in the translations and slowly started yearning to do more. By March 2014 after contributing to the translations, which culminated in the release of a book of Satguru Jagjit Singh jis updesh, I approached Satguru Uday Singh Ji and requested Him to bless and give us permission to attempt and finish Satguru Jis documentary. He immediately gave His permission and asked me to draft an update on what more was needed from their end to finish it. I immediately set up the task of going through what we had done so far and drew up a list that needed immediate attention. While we had collated a lot of material over the past 5 years and in the months following Satguru Jagjit Singh jis passing away we had recorded interviews of several of Satguru jis Hazuri Raagis and several well-known artists like Pt Yogesh Samsi, Pt Varinder Kumar Ji, Pt Ram Narayan and literary luminaries like Dr. Surjit Patar, the interviews of few maestros had alluded us, prominently among them were Ut Amjad Ali Khan and some of our own Namdhari maestros who were now residing abroad. We needed to record them at the earliest. Satguru Uday Singh ji immediately set up the task with us and soon we were interviewing Ut Amjad Ali Khan, Pt Birju Maharaj, and our very own Ut Sukhwinder singh Pinky’ along with Raagi Baljit Singh in New Delhi. This was immediately followed up with more interviews when Satguru Ji traveled to the UK, where we interviewed Pt Rajan-Sajan Mishra, Ut Harbhajan Singh, Ut Dharambir Singh, Ut Surjit Singh, Ut Harjinder Pal Singh, and Ut Kiranpal Singh. The tour culminated with a concert by the duo, Pt Rajan-Sajan Mishra at the East London Gurdwara in the presence of Satguru ji. This was also the tour where the infamous violent attack on Satguru ji had taken place. What struck me most was Satguru jis poise and demeanour despite the obvious security concern and the anxiousness of the sangat. Not only did Satguru ji complete the visit as scheduled but went out of the way the assure and put the sangat at ease. He did this by guiding the sangat to divert their energies towards Naam Simran and concentrate on consolidating the community, especially the younger generation. Late evenings were given to listening to youngsters play classical music as well as to discussions on the benevolence of Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji.

Promptly after coming back from the UK, we started putting the data we had together along with the interviews and I started working on the screenplay and editing. Periodically over the next few months, we would come to Sri Bhaini Sahib and update Satguru ji with progress and discuss what we had achieved thus far. The Government of India organises the Film Bazaar in Goa every year in November, where filmmakers from across the world gather to meet and share their work in progress on documentaries and films. In November 2014, when I suggested that we should take the documentary, Sangeet Saroop Satguru, as it was being known by then, as a work in progress and pitch it there, Satguru ji immediately consented. With his kind blessings, we were able to present and reach several well-known journalists, including Nasreen Munni Kabir, a well-known BBC, Channel 4 journalist who was astounded by Satguru Jagjit Singh Jis musical journey. The fact that we were able to reach this far with just work in progress and garner feedback which was invaluable was all due to Satguru jis foresight and understanding of the modern media and the need to cross over internationally.


Working on the editing through the next 5 years, the narrative of the documentary had grown from being a 90 min film to a full-fledged documentary series on par with international content. Our quarterly updates and screenings with Satguru ji had grown more intricate and detailed. The need to have a good background score had always been of concern to me and when I voiced the same to Satguru ji, He immediately suggested that we draw up a plan and record our very Raagis in Sri Bhaini Sahib for the same. 


An extended recording session was filmed in Sri Bhaini Sahib in April 2015, followed by a detailed interview of Raagi Balwant Singh in 2016 and then in 2018 with Satguru Ji, Mata ji, and Biba Ji. The missing pieces were falling into place with Satguru jis grace and blessings. In 2018 we were also lucky to discover a treasure trove of Satguru Jis recordings from Africa with the help of Mata ji from Suba Satnam Singh. Kirpal Singh Chana, Uday Chana, Gurdit Panesar, and Gursharn Singh Surdhar from the UK had also shared their collection with us by then. On each occasion, Satguru ji made it a personal endeavor to emphasise the need to collect everything possible, however small it was. In January 2019, when we were in the last stages of editing we felt that while Satguru Jagjit Singh ji used to bless the sangat of Bangkok very frequently we had very little material from there. The fact that Satguru jis physician, Dr. Narinder Pal was also from Bangkok was a bonus as that would tie in a lot of things in the story. When we shared this with Satguru ji, He immediately called Bibi Kawaljeet Kaur in Bangkok and sent us there. With her help, we were able to not only interview Dr. Narinder Pal but also Satguru Jis Sikhs like Jagjit Singh Azad, Hazuri Raagi, and a Music teacher at the erstwhile International School in Bangkok. We were also able to gather more photographs and recordings that added to the story so much more. 


By April 2019 we had completed the editing and we decided to hold a private screening for Satguru Uday Singh ji and a few others who had been involved in the making of the documentary. We were nervous, excited, and a little apprehensive all at the same time.


The screening was held in Satguru jis residence and as the documentary played on the screen, I was transported back to the moments when I was editing those precious baithaks and how each of those moments were imbued with the blessings and grace of Satguru Jagjit Singh ji. As the documentary ended and the lights came on, there was a stunned silence. Satguru Uday Singh ji sat there for a few moments, his face was unreadable. We were not sure whether he liked it or not. But then he slowly got up, walked over to me, and hugged me. He said, You have done a great job. Satguru Jagjit Singh ji would have been proud of you.” I felt a sense of relief and happiness wash over me. All the years of hard work had paid off.


And then He said, we are not done yet. I looked at Him, “We need to take this everywhere, show it to people who had never met Satguru Jagjit Singh ji, but who have been touched by His music and teachings.” And in those words I realised that the documentary was a journey that was guided by the blessings and grace of Satguru Jagjit Singh ji through Satguru Uday Singh Ji. He was there with us every step of the way, guiding us, inspiring us, and giving us the strength to carry on.


The documentary was not just a tribute to Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji, but also a testament to the power of His music and teachings to touch peoples lives and bring them closer to the divine. And that was now Satguru Uday Singh Ji’s endeavour. Touching people’s lives.


During the planning of the premiere of the documentary in Mumbai, we designed and sent Satguru ji the invitation card to seek His permission to go ahead and print it. The invitation had Satguru Jis name as the Chief Patron inviting everyone to the premiere, followed by the names of the dignitaries who were going to be present there. In our hurry to meet the print deadline, we had made an error in the font size by a mere 1 pt. Satguru jis name was designed in 1 pt smaller than the other dignitaries. Satguru ji noticed the difference and called up immediately and very humbly said, Our chief patron is Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji and I am just His representative, in fact, the chief patron is Guru Nanak, shouldnt Satguru jis name be in a larger font than other dignitaries?” I was stunned, in a simple sentence He had shown me He was not only Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji but Satguru Nanak Dev ji as well. That one sentence left an indelible impression on me, it changed everything forever, I realised that we were all so blessed as a community for the darshan of Satguru Uday Singh ji was indeed the darshan of Satguru Nanak Dev ji.


Sangeet Saroop Satgur was released by Satguru Uday Singh ji with Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma and Ut Zakir Hussain along with several other luminaries and the press present at the premiere screening in Mumbai at the Metro Cinemas. Mumbai was followed by exclusive screenings in Bangkok-Thailand, Birmingham-UK, and then in New Delhi where Satguru ji honoured Ut Amjad Ali Khan, Pt Rajan-Sajan Mishra, Pt Birju Maharaj, and several others. At every location the sangat graced in their white churidar kurtas, celebrating not only Sangeet Saroop Satgur - Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji, but His Saroop - Satguru Uday Singh Ji. 

The dampness in the eyes

The Dampness in the Eyes

Every year as the 13th of December approaches, a kind of emptiness starts to envelop me which makes me uneasy, it reminds me of the immense loss that we have all faced as humans despite knowing that in the end everything and everyone shall pass - nobody gets away with it, yet the question still remains how and why did it happen. Such was the impact that Satguru Jagjit Singh ji had on our lives. Thus this year was no different except for the fact that the emptiness struck early and in a moment of celebration in the midst of the pandemic.

Like every December, every November is the time to celebrate the Prakash of Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji. 2020 was going to be special as it was the first centenary - the 100th year. As always a music concert marked the culmination of the celebrations. Pt Rajan-Sajan Mishra - long time favourites of Satguru ji were singing. Midway through the second bandish Pt Sajan Mishra looked at the picture of Satguru Ji that was kept on the stage and the heart skipped a beat - a lump formed in the throat and the eyes went damp - just like that - the song in the mind changed as memories came rushing back - in that moment the celebration became a personal experience of the little little things, gestures and conversations, bringing me to the crossroad of happiness and grief - but there was no choice and no turning back - such is life that despite what one may try both will always be there.

Truth be told it was hard to fathom on the 13th off December 2012 and has been henceforth. The ideal way to look at it is as Satguru ji would say - the happiness outweighs the sorrow always - there is always something to take strength from - look at the positives and the pain is relatively painless, pun unintended, but hey I don't know, I still feel like a lost child, without His Satguru - looking always for Him even in the wilderness of my dreams, I miss Him and His endearing smile, the way He made me feel, confident and raring to go, nothing was impossible - for I knew that He had my back, always - there!

Perhaps in that lies the answer as well - none of us ever realised it but He was preparing us all for the journey of our lifetimes, where we would be the ones who would walk the path, be the examples that He wanted us to be, responsible and steadfast to the ideals that He stood for - and so ever since that day we have tried - but hey when December approaches - the eyes go damp, a lump forms in the throat and I miss You Satguru ji - my beloved Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji - bless us and may Your divine light continue to shine upon all of us - Dhan Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji 

Vijay Marur SIR - The man with a Smile and a booming voice

It still hasn't sunk in. We all know that life is unpredictable but when you get a call that your mentor who you had just wished a Happy birthday and a long life passed away suddenly, it hits you... and hard.

Vijay Marur - for a lot of people an Adman, Theatre personality, Foodie, Reviewer, Writer, Director, Mentor etc the list is long, but for me, he will remain SIR. My one-stop in life that has made me what I am. I met him as a student of Mass Communication at the University of Hyderabad way back in 1994. He was conducting a workshop on Ad films for us and unlike the teachers, we had at that point he came dressed in T-Shirts and Shorts, riding his Suzuki bike. He spoke the language that mesmerised me and drew me to him. One of the finest 48 hours we spent together as a team. From writing to filming and yes typical of Sir hogging on Biryani late night near Nampally Railway Station. We hit off well from that moment. He became a professional father figure for me and soon more. He got me my first job in Bangalore and then changed my life a year later in 1995 by getting my big break in Mumbai as an editor with Western Outdoor Advertising - which set me on the path of what I do today. Gratitude alone wouldn't be enough to thank him. Every time he came to Mumbai and I introduced him to anyone with the mandatory that he is the reason for me being here, he blushed and would quietly tell me 'Bas Kar ab' you made your life I was just helping Western Outdoor hire, someone. That was his humbleness.

During my first year in Bangalore back in 1994 as was customary in those days, I would call my parents every weekend and then SIR 040-3350524 (the number is etched in memory) and Lata Mam would pick up the phone as always. I'm sure she must have wondered at that point of time why I call him all the time. Mam, my heart goes out to you. I know no words can substantiate your loss. SIR was a big figure and I'm sure the memories and the miss you is an understatement. I pray and wish that God grants you and the family strength.

I couldn't make it to the funeral due to travel (I was on a train) and that has frustrated me even more. On his birthday on the 21st when I tried calling him several times I couldn't get through, a day later he replied back on Whatsapp - little did I realise that was the last message he sent me. And yesterday was a day of emotions - I was back in Mumbai and strangely in town near the old Western Outdoor. I passed by Yazdani Bakery and habitually clicked a picture and was about to forward it to SIR with the message - look where am I? And then it hit me again - this was a ritual every time I passed by or ate at a favourite restaurant of his in town (he had introduced me to all these places) I would WhatsApp and then we would either exchange a call or a few messages.

And Apoorva and Deeksha - the lovely daughters of SIR - although I have never had an opportunity to spend time with them, I used to hear from him about them, particularly  whenever He was in Mumbai; From the days when they were a part of an Advert that we worked on together and then later on in 2010 during a lunch we had at the Mumbai airport - about when Apoorva was travelling to Australia to study. I saw a side of him that I had never seen before - a rare moment of emotion and he spoke about how concerned he was about her travel, wishing the best for her. I have always wondered if he was so inspirational for all of us - how much more he would have meant for both Apoorva and Deeksha. My best wishes and a promise of support for them whenever they need any help in Mumbai.

I could probably go on and on about him - SIR you went away too early - too suddenly and without even a hint - wherever You are I hope you continue to spread the cheer and the love. Some somethings will
remain etched in my mind forever - the conversations, the travel and the Vintage 1956 T-Shirt. Miss you SIR

The Music Diaries | Seasons 1 | 2 | 3 | Raag Ratnavali

‘Raag Ratnavali’ - The Music Diaries explore the history and the technique behind the Gurbani Music compositions of the renowned Musician and Spiritual master of the Namdhari Sikhs - Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji.

Spanning a period of over seven decades each episode focuses on the uniqueness of single composition in terms of its raag, melody, tempo while giving an insight into the life, talent and passion of Satguru Ji.

The narrative includes the interviews of some of the most well known exponents of Indian Classical Music and Dance.

The Relevance Of Telling A Simple Story In The Times Of Edgy Content

‘Story telling over the years has changed’

‘We need contemporary stories, edgy stuff (edgy is a synonym for sex / violence)’

‘We need to have a twist at every turn’

‘History is passé - it is over and buried with’

‘True Stories work, but only when dramatised with a liberal dose of fiction’

Some of the most frequently heard observations when you are navigating the maze of creative film writing today. Story tellers today are trying to adapt to the audience as they would to a client, making full use of their imagination and ideas trying to crack the ultimate code for a Story / Script that works. 

But has story telling really changed over the years ?

For the past couple of months I have been fortunate enough to hear the narration of some of the oldest stories that have been told in Sikhism - the rendition of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life as narrated by Bhai Bala - Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s disciple to Guru Angad Dev Ji, the same having been written by Bhai Santokh Singh Ji as the ‘Suraj Prakash’.

The narrative as one starts to read or hear the rendition grows on you so much so that one really does not want to stop. There comes a point where one feels close to Guru Nanak (the protagonist) in a way that one should with the character of the story. The sheer imaginative way of putting forth the milieu of characters around Guru Nanak, His discussions with them, the exegesis of his teachings, His travels… the simplicity of it all touches one’s emotional chords irrespective of your religious or political leanings. The narrative success in capturing one’s imagination even after hundreds of years since they were written.

While the narrative of the Ramayan and Mahabharata has long since the source of inspiration for several writers, primarily for the sub text, plots and the plethora of characters that provide the necessary drama and move the story forward to its ultimate ‘big scale climax’ - what remains indelible are the characters whose stories are simply narrated without too much sub text - Vidur, Radha, Ghatotkatch, Dushashan, Ashwathama. These characters had the maximum impact and in fact if I dare say some of them were the turning points in the war .

Similarly the Janam Sakhis of the Sikh Gurus and the biographies of Sufi saints narrated in their simple form get the audience react to their ethos collectively - that in turn leads to debates and discussions - which leads to a change in perception that impacts the society at large - for the good or the bad. And if these stories have been able to do that for hundreds of years then there is no reason why the same strategy of telling a story in its simplest form won’t. Simplicity always works.

The fragrance of a flower

Five years is usually a long time. Come to think - its half a decade, enough for the tears to dry, scars to heal and memories to turn sepia. A few days back on the 13th of December a question popped up in the mind. Are we past the  winter that had set in five years back the same day ? The dark, dramatic hues of the evening sky that had given way to the cool hues of the night, the night cold wind had blown across the lonely heart - the question remained - does the heart still pine for the love of its Master or is it now just another fond memory ?

In the following few days we went back to the daily routines of our professional lives, immersing ourselves in work as usual. But as they say love finds its way to the heart. While watching a documentary on a Canadian Concert Tour, the thoughts went back to an evening in Benares sometime in the 1990s - the venue was Tabla maestro Pt Kishan Maharaj’s music hall - Satguru Ji had just finishes singing and the baithak was about to end - and then he started singing another composition culminating in a conversation - and a few moments later Satguru Ji started singing another composition - and so it went on for the next half an hour or so - the visiting Guru Jan were mesmerised by what they heard and saw, with one of them remarking Satguru Ji’s love for music was insatiable. While memories such as these moistened the eyes - several more came back in a flood.

It was sometime in 2006/07 I had had the opportunity to be around and observe Satguru Ji for a couple of days on a tour. A lady had requested regarding her health and Satguru Ji had promised to look up a Doctor for her. Satguru Ji Himself was recovering from a minor stroke and had just landed from a short trip. Over a period of the next 12 hours or so Satguru Ji persistently followed up almost every hour until the recommended doctor was connected to the ailing woman and her treatment commenced. The indelible foot prints of such unconditional love and faith brought a lump in the throat. 

A week of ruminating and refreshing of such memories that date back to several seasons the answer to the question stares back - one can’t take away the fragrance of a flower nor the moistness of the water - no amount of passage of time can stop the Sun from rising and while the cycle of life continues on its journey - the heart continues to pine for its Master - His Holiness Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji