A huge, wide center-stage. The faint smell of jasmine and incense wafting in the silent air.
Men dressed in white, wearing white laced-caps, seated in a wide semi-circle.
Each one of them has their eyes closed, and the men in the centre
are seated with instruments before them; a tabla, a harmonium,
and then a couple of singers who hold their heads high and gaze within themselves with closed eyes;
breathing deep, before the first song of prayer and celebration is sung out from the depth of their hearts.
And in the next few moments, the first chord of music is heard from the harmonium.
And then a rusty voice, sometimes hoarse even, is heard –
the deep voice of an older, unpolished tone rises amidst the silence,
with words written and sung divinely to beckon your conscience and elevate your senses.
It is like the voice of your unfettered soul, fluttering fearlessly and in full breath, soaring high and far,
until it thins into the air.
And then follows a younger, thinner, stronger and more seasoned voice repeating those very words,
but taking a different route of notes and technique,
as if to etch those words in your heart once again, in different ink.
And all along this recitation of free will,
the surrounding men in white swoon and raise their palms in praise and marvel.
Until the tablist knows it is time for him to join in with a captivating rhythm.
And when he does, the whole mass of men claps to the rhythm and joins in the rhyme,
and what follows is a song; a song that breaks the silence and the chaos, and invokes an unspoken joy from within.
The joy in the claps, in the swaying, in the words that seem to be speaking to us,
in the voices that seem to be reaching us deep down inside.
There is no pretense, no thought, no distraction – there is just surrender.
And then you wish, that the song of the Sufi, which embraces your heart and soul and dances with them, would never end…