31st July, 1980 –I was just six and a half years old; yet memories from this day are fresh as if it was just yesterday.
It was the day I realized how much my dad loved someone. My dad came home with his face crowded and dense. He said something to mom, and my mom gave him the shocked, “what???” expression. I was playing at a distance (in my room), but could sense the criticality of the situation. I came running and hugged him. He stroked my hair and when I looked at him, I saw his eyes were red, as if he cried. I did not ask anything. That evening my dad kept glued to TV, watching news with a grim face and he refused dinner. Mom was worried, as she knew he had not had his lunch either. I saw my dad in depression for next so many days. Few days later I thought he had overcome his grief…such a child I was!!
31 years later… he feels the same loss.
That day the great maestro Mohd Rafi left for his heavenly abode. The loss was immense – not only for his family or people who had invested in him, but for generations to come. Like my dad, I too feel the loss. I try to gather and preserve as many Rafi songs as I can, for my grandkids to know that there existed a divine soul on our motherland who had magic in his throat – a voice that could match the roar of a lion in patriotic songs and could make silk blush in a soft romantic song. Such was a magic of Rafi Saheb.
I was probably in mom’s womb, when I was introduced to songs by Rafi Saheb. His songs are an inseparable part of my Dad’s daily routine. Even today, the first indication that he is up in the morning is when he switches the radio on to listen to ‘Bhooley Bisrey Geet’ on the radio. So I grew up listening to Rafi, and gradually he became a part of my daily routine as well. My playlist , named “Golden Oldies’, is notorious in my office as one of the playlist with oldest songs by Rafi. The other day, my daughter complained ‘OHH Mom!! Old songs in car as well!! When will we get rid of these old songs?” Pat came my reply, “The day your mom will die!!”. I regretted saying that later as it was a heavy stuff for her…but the fact is love for Rafi ke gaaney and I will go together to my grave.
Few days back, on his death anniversary, Vivedh Bhartee played his songs all the day. I and my Dad remained glued to to all the songs all the day. I called him up, and asked him whether he was listening to radio. With a beaming voice he said..yeah. And then Dad’s voice mellowed down, and he said “Where has he gone? Why couldn’t he be still alive, like most of his peers?”
I had no answer.