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.
My now song is the immortal melody in Raga Bhairavi, “Baabul mora naihar chhooto hi jaye”. A popular song in Hindi films, mehfils and among thumri singers, many renderings are available to listen too. Some of the more popular ones are by Jagjit and Chitra Singh, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and K.L. Saigal. And it was Saigal’s version which really made this song popular.
But the version I like and am sharing with you here is sung by Alisha Chinai to the accompaniment of L. Subramaniam’s violin.
I like this version for the jugalbandi of Alisha’s haunting melody, so unlike her other (better known) popular numbers, and for L. Subramaniam’s violin, with both artistes reinforcing and complementing one another, as well as the sombre mood of the song.
This lament was written by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, Nawab of Awadh when he was exiled from Lucknow by the British Raj after the failed Revolt of 1857. In this song, the Nawab uses bidaai (bride’s farewell) from her babul (natal home) as a metaphor for his own banishment from his beloved Lucknow, to far away Calcutta, while he spent the rest of his life.
Do listen to the version I have given here and also the versions by other artistes (you can listen to their version by clicking on their names). Which one did you like?