As I sit here with a gloomy heart, gazillion memories are crossing my mind, all of them very fond and most from my childhood. Being raised and brought up in the small but beautiful capital, Islamabad, we the kids of the 90’s know how amazing it was to know almost every other person through a direct or indirect reference.
It was a wedding in our neighborhood when we first came to know about Vital Signs, the anticipation and excitement of the Dil Dil Pakistan guys coming to sing at the wedding get together that night, some 25 years back, is still fresh as ever. My brother and I, along with our friends from the neighborhood were literally hanging from the grills of our terraces to catch a sight of the guys, some were even dancing. To this day, I have this discontent at heart for not being taken to that event.
Then a few years later, in F-5, at my khala’s place, my brother and I saw the group from across the parking and just jumped and chanted Vital Signs! Vital Signs! Had we been kids from this age, we would have been smarter and at least have had a selfie but their warm smiles and blue denim jackets are all I can recall. We always recall those 2-3 minutes and blame each other for being so stupid for getting a chance to meet the most in-demand celebrities of that time and not even shaking hands. We narrated this to our friends at school and neighbors – this was indeed our childhood, an incomparable joy at seeing someone who was such a big part of growing up in what was once the greenest city in Pakistan.
DilDil Pakistan was a song every school played on national days, we had a performance too at school, wearing white frocks and holding green flags, we could feel the rush of blood in our veins and the Pakistani that this song injected in the young bloods is what makes our hearts cry for the loss of the voice behind it.
I can relate to the sorrow of everyone in my generation, especially from the capital, I know for once in your life many of you came across the enigma. From singing at gigs in Islamabad to preaching at the local mosques, this person changed his lifestyle in a way that left many of us in awe. He had the looks, he had the voice and he had the fan following, he would have been above all the musicians had he pursued music, but he left it for once and for all, earned more respect, more following.
But not everyone can be pleased, there are always people who loathe you even if they are a few, they are there. I remember him crying and asking the nation to accept his apology for his words that were not as dangerous as the reaction from various circles. His humbleness and humility towards such a response has taught many of us a lesson, a lesson that a few people are there to test you, your endurance, patience and perseverance; when the social media and the electronic media is full of sorrowful gestures for him, there are still a few oozing out their vitriol, but the sorrow and sense of loss is so immense, no one is bothered about those feeble hate notes.
Some losses leave their marks, JJ was not related to many of us by blood, but many of us have our childhood memories etched with his songs playing in the background. The steel grey roads of a rainy Islamabad still hum to the song, mar bhejauntou mat rona, still when we go through the roads of Shakarparian, DilDil Pakistan beats in our hearts and it will forever be the unofficial anthem of this nation.
Not being a morning show or any marathon transmission supporter, I like many of the Pakistanis, watch the Ramadan transmission every year and truth be told, it was just Shan-e-Ramzan at ARY that made me glue my gaze to the T.V, I wonder if the next Ramadan, we would be able to tune ARY and find the courage of not listening to JJ’s soulful QaseedaBurdaShareef before Iftar. I know how each time his naats are going to be played, every tender heart would feel this pain once more, and we will carry it on. This is life, this is how it ends, in a moment, death catches it’s victim by surprise and it was for that very moment that Junaid Jamshed had left singing, the debate is not about the goodness of his decision, it is about thinking and re-thinking about what are we doing with our lives and what are we going to have in our hands, when this bubble, aka life, bursts. May, we get the courage to forgive people, give them more space and be more forgiving, only then as a society will we revive our moral health.