It was a long drive, starting at 9p from Nizamuddin, first stop Chandigarh meeting mom after almost 8-9 weeks, and then touching base at the Qila – 4:30a; Raga Natt through out/Hau Vaar Vaar Jao Gur Gopal till Chandigarh/Kou Hai Mero Sajan Meet till Village penultimate, Dalla, wherefrom hailed Bibi Damodari, the wife of Guru Hargobind, the 6th guru – the mother of the ninth, Guru Teg Bahadur, and the grandma of the tenth, Guru Gobind Singh.
Raju, works as a cook at Anad, Qila Sultanpur Lodhi, accompanied me this time. He also wants to be a singer and I have have been teaching him off and on for some time. After I had sung the first Natt composition, instead of going nuts, he began to sing along. Soon he was understanding, as I sang on a few improvisations as we passed Ropar, the difference between various mukaa-s, tinn mukaa-s, tcheh mukaa-s, nau-mukaa-s and so on. He even held a digital-audio recorder sans a flinch.
It is quite something driving through all these places and at times one feels their presence still or perhaps, I have just gone bonkers…

The natural forests have long gone, the beautiful and seductive rivulet Kali Bein long dead – the gardens famous in Akbar’s Ain-e-Akbari long wilted – the corrupt minds have usurped all those lands and now, worry about my presence here for they fear – spring may once again visit albeit to stay for a longtime this time – that Nanak gurus’ Rababa and Mridang might just resound again and whose songs may cause an awe-filled and wonderstruck revolution yet again

If you continue past Sultanpur Lodhi, you reach Village Parowana, where lives still the legend of Rababi Bhai Firanda, whomfrom came the Rababa of Bhai Mardana at the behest of Nanak Shah Faqeer – Hindu Ka Guru Mussalman Ka Peer.

All these places have lost their vernacular uniqueness and I have a vision – an action plan which is feasible and doable.
Are there any romantics still around?
You know where to find me – join up folks – it is high time…!

Lahore Gate, Qila Sultanpur Lodhi
Photo by Thomas R. Hughes – courtesy Rameet Kaur Dhaliwal Hughes.
July 2012.