Feedback form

Share Your Thoughts

Are you enjoying our content? Don’t miss out! Sign up!

India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

Memories of love and music

“I choose to love you in loneliness…

For in loneliness no one owns you but me,

I choose to adore you from a distance…

For distance will shield me from pain,

I choose to hold you in my dreams…

For in my dreams, you have no end.”


Last weekend, as I organized my legacy audio cassettes and music CDs, a sweet nostalgia overcame me. I played several evergreen ghazals of love. Soon I felt transported in time to  Shanmukhanand Hall and the Royal Opera House in Mumbai, as the mellifluous voices of ghazal legends lifted my soul.

The melodious voice of Mehedi Hassan echoed in the room – Gulon mein rang bharein. Ghulam Ali’s eyes twinkled as he crooned, Hungama hai kyon barpa

I remembered the time when my father would sing along as Begum Akhtar’s rendition of Woh jo hum mein tum mein quaraar tha filled the room. Or when Jagjit Singh’s rendition of Mirza Ghalib’s unforgettable shayari breathed new life into Aah ko chahiye ek umr asar hote tak.  

As I listened closely, I was amazed at the choice of subtle words and their hidden meaning. I recalled the times when my father would explain to me the difficult Urdu words and exquisite turns of phrases to me. Now, when I’m stumped, I use Google translator; it serves the purpose but it is not quite the same. 

Silhouettte of a father carrying his daughter on his shoulders on a beach (Photo credit: Brittani Burns on Unsplash)
A love for music is passed down from father to daughter. (Photo credit: Brittani Burns on Unsplash)

My mind traveled back to the wonderful musical times we shared as a family. My heart brimmed with my dad’s sweet voice, enunciating every word to perfection. And just like that, I found myself singing along with Farida Khannum: 

Aaj jaane ki zid na karo
Yunhi pehlu mein baiṭhe raho
Aaj jaane ki zid na karo…

I sat alone on the carpet and watched this wonderful ghazal on Youtube, over and over again. So many renditions of this classic popped up: by Asha Bhosle, Arijit Singh and other marvelous singers. They were all wonderful! 

To my embarrassment, I realized I did not know who had penned this magical ghazal, so I looked him up. His name is Fayyaz Hashmi (1920-2011). He was a Pakistani poet and screenwriter. Another of his nazms, Tasveer teri dil mera behla na sakegi, shot Indian playback singer Talat Mahmood to fame in 1944. 

A father’s love lives on in music

These beautiful ghazals brought back so many memories of love.  Love is a blessing and can enrich us in varied forms. My dad showed me the path to Sufi love. I miss my father more than ever. I cherish every moment I spent with him. He sang for everyone, but I felt I was more attuned to his soul. The songs he liked influenced my attitude toward love. He made me feel that love is the most vital force in life. True love is gentle, kind, humble, selfless, and altruistic. Love is loyal. To love someone is to set them free. 

I am no Faiz, Iqbal, or Hashmi, but I have been blessed to have had a father who taught me to appreciate verse. As a toddler, I imbibed the sounds without comprehending the words. Often when the radio played an elaborate classical alaap, I would turn it off, looking at dad with consternation. He would laugh out loud. Gradually, I became curious about the placement of the musical notes and their meaning. Today Urdu poetry and ghazals are a part of my soul. They take me to that special place, my oasis. They seal and celebrate the bond between a father and a daughter, our camaraderie, our kinship. 

Love’s true essence

My father loved and respected my mother. He made us all feel safe: my mother, grandmother, sisters, daughters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and neighbors. Under his watchful eye, we transformed from carefree children to confident adults. I believe that those who knew him well will rejoice in his memory when they hear the songs he loved. 

To me, this is the essence of true love. 

Today my children enjoy those very same songs that brought me close to my father. I see them humming those tunes to themselves, their eyes shining with love in his memory. As I practice my pitch, fine tuning my Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, I know that my father is out there somewhere, listening, with great pride.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of India Currents. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, organization, individual or anyone or anything.

Avatar photo

Monita Soni

Monita Soni grew up in Mumbai and works as a pathologist in Alabama. She is well known for her creative nonfiction and poetry pieces inspired by family, faith, food, home, and art. She has written two...