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Ustad

Is all art just another way to communicate? this poem is about music. about epiphany. about speaking without words. about the moment when art dissolves into kinship. Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, Indian Classical Music’s enfant terrible, describes alaap as "a search". a search for the finest pitch of every note. his music was play. unbridled, uninhibited, bedhadak. when he sang, time would stop, gather her bearings and sit beside him. wide-eyed, wonderstruck, out of joint. time would turn witness to a life distilled into sound.

to hear him sing alaap click here (a ten minute clip from Mani Kaul’s film dhrupad)
























































Transcript


Ustad aranya

He emerges slowly from silence like dawn

Nineteen generations sit on his shoulder as he tenderly pulls a nishad from the loom and then quickly hides it in

his dark, soft kharaj through a chink between two notes he spies a universe and then teases it out

he douses it with the fire of his ghamak

and then watches it slink away into an alley somewhere

A sweat singed brow twitches

His voice is water now trickling through the dark recesses of the raag

now, a stone thrown away a note cast out like the joy of forgetting

Fascinated, I watch him- this man whose music rides his years as if in secret pursuit

I watch him turning into a little child searching for the jaggery which is just beyond his reach

the lines on his face tightened around his ecstatic eyes slacken and betray a smile It’s not music that he makes

It’s a ripple on the silence of thought

#poetry #silenceofthought #music #dhrupad

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