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A walk in the fog. Amritsar 2013. 3:25am.
© bbs.

A few days ago I had remarked about
my growing bald-ness
and wondered about the deep-er realms
if there were any.
Blending both I joked
I had my name.

I did not know the deeper realms
could be so wondrous.

Years ago I had digitized the old spools records of my granduncles for a cousin (uncle) of mine. Dr. Inderjit Singh is the second son of a granduncle, the illustrious Bhai Gurcharan Singh. Yesterday, those records came full circle. Inderjit’s elder brother, chacha Surinder Singh, nicknamed Sant [literally a saint but he is everything else but that ;-)] gave me a pen drive with some mpeg files of the recordings of my granduncles jatha made in the 70’s and 80’s. Some of the recordings I had given Inderjit also came along. I have been listening to them ever since.

These are the copy of the originals that were stolen from the concerned department in Punjabi University. These recordings were then plagiarized or in other words, these recordings inspired a creation of new compositions by some people in Patiala. These people have not been forthright in acknowledging officially but have done so privately.

These recordings are a world of their own kind. The magic is evident.
As noted poet Kulwant Singh Grewal recently said of them when they were writing their two volumes,

the radiance on them, when the two brothers were writing the two volumes, was so profound that one could not see them straight in the eyes”.

There must have been something then
For it seems so evident in the recordings.

The simplicity in awe inspiring.
Chaste and pure they are.
There is none they are singing to but for themselves.
They are the singers and also the listeners.
It seems they are rehearsing
to sing in the heavens.
I could only be a witness
unable to participate in their song
For we seem to belong to different ages
—albeit ages so miraculously overlapped
For when I have been singing along with them
I was of no consequence to them
but they and their record has an impact on me.
I have fallen in love with them yet again —perhaps even more.

My eldest uncle, Hardeep Singh, a top bureaucrat in Punjab, used to sit on the ground when he would visit them in Delhi, with eyes closed – with flowing tears.
Hardeep Tau left his body in 75
I can feel being in his body instead now
albeit in the same mudra

Hardeep was a mere three months younger then Bhai Avtar Singh, my younger grandnuncle —his uncle, yet he would place his forehead at the feet when they sang.
I can feel being in his body instead now
albeit in the same mudra

I wish Bhai Avtar had not stopped playing the taus along
when he sang.

I wish Bhai Gurcharan had not stopped playing the jori.

I wish he could sing more —he could play more
I wish I could listen more
that they could bloom more and more
along with their song I
like a vine
in an eternal bow.

Theirs is contribution so unique —so unparallelled.

Simplicity is a consciously attained virtue.

It is special to walk in the university campus
especially in dense fog
especially when everyone is
fast asleep
especially with recordings of my granduncles
playing on
—and it was
—me in the fog
when bounds melt
under the stars
nature’s loving lap
deep breath
nectar —its taste
yet again…

Participate I could not
gracious as they were
they granted me with the gift of
—their breath
—their phulkari weaved
—their gadwa filled
with songs so eternal.