When Death is Ahead- Kishori ji’s Last Performance

Recently I met my Ma’am (Guru ma Dr. Soma Singh) in Delhi, and we both enveloped ourselves in the huge, never-ending musical discussion. She is the ocean of musical knowledge and incidences. And her way of expressing how to practice or what to exactly listen to while listening classical is too sovereign and pure. There is no foreignness in her attitude while giving things.

A very unusual incidence about Kishori ji Ma’am shared with me which I really want to cherish in my blogs.

Kishori ji’s last concert was in Delhi at Kamani auditorium, for which Ma’am was asked to attend by her Guru Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar.

“Guruji especially called us to inform about the concert and insist me to attend. He said you should go and take your kids too as this music, this personality, her Gayaki won’t be re-arriving in this new era. one should value that.” she explained her Guru’s words. Thus, there wasn’t any question of not attending as Guru’s command was more than anything else.

The other day she attended the concert and was left speechless.

Normally, Kishori’s Gayaki was a pure Kishori-Gayaki and not any typical Jaipur-Atrauli exponent-type (the school which she belonged to). Her Gayaki was a congenial combination of three things: aesthetics, pathos and malleableness. She did not really cared about the proper grammar and chalan of a raga. On account of emotions in fact deep emotions, she would take all kind of liberties in a raga even when the raga doesn’t allow. But she was never questioned because she was always popular for making the audience traverse on the other level of the world. Audience are said to exit the hall with high altitude of undeniable melancholy and sometimes ecstasies.

This time KishoriJi rendered Kausi-Kanhara for two hours and it was certainly not the usual one. She cared about the grammar of the raga yet with gregarious empathy towards the raga. The balance she exhibited between kauns-ang and Kanhara-ang moved even the music-knowledgeable audience. People were dumbstruck by her 2/3 minutes long, decorative, endless taanas at one go. There was no limits of her dumsaaz (breath-control). All in all, she went into her causal world of transcendence accompanying everybody else.

At the end of the concert, Sir (Mam’s husband) went to have a praising word with KishoriJi in green room, where he found the tabla guy (percussion accompanist in the concert) was standing on the door, extremely red, gasping immensely. Sir could make out the reason of his exhaustion with which he remarked with that gasped tone, “Never have heard this before….a normal person cannot bear such emotions and flawlessness.”

The audience out there witnessed the real and distinct world of classical music through her extremely poignant Gayaki with utter¬†spontaneity. It was so that it wasn’t handled by the listeners because you need to be resilient, and mentally equipped to bear such extreme upliftment state of being. Thus, goosebumps are one thing, people were truly on the verge of blissed state but their body could not digest that elevated level of the Gayaki so their faces were in deep redness.

Ma’am said, “That concert is not the normal one. It reverberated from within for another 3/4 weeks and makes you feel the atma-parmatma Milan.”

The next day, Kishori Ji called up Guruji (as Ulhas Ji told my Guru) and accepted, “Ulhasji, I am really feeling so good after the Delhi concert. For the first time, I thought I rendered everything very nice. There was no errors and found that now I am complete.”

I was simply blown away to hear the tale.

My Ma’am was glued up pondering into one aspect which she shared and it was truly a great lesson to learn. She said, “Look Shambhavi, these people are highly intellectuals. She had been knowing throughout her musical journey that she is NOT following the proper grammar of ragas. These stalwarts are fully alive of what they are doing. We, as a listener, are mistaken thinking that they are going in their flow, thus, going beyond the circumference of a raga is a natural process. We confuse with their subtle vocalism. But actually they don’t cross lines unknowingly…they are on their heights of attentiveness. That’s why when she sang Kaunsi-Kanhara within the raga structure, she knew that fully thus felt good. This, you know, is a real mindfulness which the spiritual Gurus talk about.”

Very true indeed she said. I was also perceiving her sentences from the depth. Apart with that, I was also wandering why that happened only when she happened to be gone after four five days.

What a treasure-some, divine moments she provided the world before departing. This is one story. I have heard a few more when the Gunijans give the highest treasures and pleasures, some with conduct, some with petty experienced incidences.

Is that some telepathy within the departing soul from someone up there instructing ‘Time to offer divinity’. Or some flash of light from the para-world yields all its infinite energy to the body.

Or something called perfection shows up in a manner of subtle conscious which drives the person to go with the flow.

Or may be the departing soul penetrates all its power and beauty (creativity) for once before leaving the body.

Instincts, impulses, telepathy, premonitions are the terms, which really are so deep and may be beyond any bookish expressions or communication. One can only feel, perceive, realise and treasure the saudade of such gems, their knowledge, their sur, their bhaav, their Gayaki by memoriter.