Do you ever have a song, an idea, a storyline, or an image stuck in your head? And it just refuses to go away? For some time at least? I have this with music — it could be a song, an instrumental piece, a jingle, etc. This becomes my “now’” song, and the “nowness” (pardon my English here) could be for any length of time.
Music and I have a strange relationship and the strangeness is all from my side. There are times when I will listen to a song or a singer every day for no particular reason and suddenly switch to something else or someone else for no particular reason. Ya Ali, sung by the Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan , and my “now” song, is an example.
I “discovered” Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan in London when music was the only way to overcome severe homesickness during my year (2008-2009) there. Surrounding myself with familiar songs and familiar music made me feel that I was not too far away from home. Shafqat’s mellifluous voice and soothing music were just one of the many that I listened to every day, and also made those visiting me listen to it. Perhaps, that’s why Farzana, my Pakistani friend and hostel mate, got me a CD of Tabeer, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan’s newest release at that time. Ya Ali was one of the songs in that album and quickly became my favourite track in that album.
Back home in India, the CD was added to my existing collection and forgotten. It would have continued being so if a recent cleaning when my house got painted last month had not unearthed it. The moment I saw Tabeer, the CD was plugged in and Ya Ali was the track chosen to play. Since then, it has been my “now” song.
This particular manqabat is so beautifully rendered by Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan that, in my opinion, it’s as close to perfection as possible. The appeal of the song has not diminished over the years that I have listened to it. While at one time, it saw me through loneliness, today it brings forth immense peace whenever I listen to it. 😦