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Jagjit Singh: Survivor Par Extraordinaire


The Times of India, Aug. 3, 2003

"How can I ever forget Jul. 28, 1990? It was the day I lost my 18-year-old son Vivek in an accident. I was working on the background score for a Punjabi film that evening. After that I went to perform at a programme organised by Abdur Rahman Bukhatir of Dubai who was in Mumbai then. I returned home at two in the morning, when my daughter Monica's husband, Jehangir called to say that Baboo (Vivek's pet name) had met with an accident. I asked Jehangir, 'How's Baboo?' He replied, 'He's no more.' I was numb. In desperation, I remember wearing my pyjamas inside out that day. Newspaper reports hurt me further when they described Baboo as a 'spoilt kid.' I stopped singing for a month. Chitra was so shocked that she stopped singing altogether."
"But slowly, I realised that I would have to live on with the pain. Rumours that claimed that I was finished, made me all the more determined. The anguish remained. The pain of memories, the grief stayed on with me. But, in the strokes of the tanpura, I felt a kind of peace and I got solace in Nida Fazli's words - apne gham le ke kahin aur na jaaya jaye; ghar mein bikhri hui cheezon ko sajaaya jaye. It took me six months to get back to the stage. In 1991, I resumed singing. It was emotionally very difficult. The first album I released after Baboo's death was Man Jite Jagjeet. It contained Sikh devotional Gurbani, where one can hear the pain . . . my mood of acceptance of fate. Someone Somewhere was recorded before Baboo's death, but was released after he passed away and was dedicated to him."
"On many occasions, I broke down on stage when I found striking resemblance between the couplets and my real-life experiences. Paradoxically, I even started to enjoy my pain. It increased my creativity and concentration. My approach towards the world changed and I became a stronger human being."