The gift of great art is that it becomes a part of you, seamlessly, almost surreptitiously. As for the artist, he impinges on our consciousness accidentally, often late, for it is his art that we consume, that lifts the spirit. It is only when we stop to enquire into the antecedence of this joy that we become aware of the giver of that joy, the artist.
‘Har taraf ab yahi afsaane hain’ is one of the first Bollywood songs I encountered. ‘Aye meri zohra jabeen’ followed, as did ‘zindagi kaisi hai paheli haaye’, ‘aye mere pyare watan‘ and many others in quick succession. It was much later that I started enquiring into the lyricist and singer of those gems and became aware of Manna Dey.
And now Manna Dey passes on - his songs meanwhile will continue to fill us with joy and wonder and tenderness as he journeys to the one for whom he sang, ‘tu pyar ka sagar hai ...’