A few days ago, I happened to be in the eco-friendly colony of Oil India at Narengi in the outskirts of Guwahati. While I visited this beautiful colony after a gap of 19 years, I was meeting my old buddy and son of soil-Bhasker after exactly eight years. The setting was, therefore, congenial, for a walk down the memory lane. While I was trying to recall as to what I did walking, 19 years ago, what did I eat and who all did I talk to, a heart touching song “Yeh Dunia Ye Mehfil,Mere Kaam Ki Nahin” began being telecast. I was immediately attracted to the T.V. set. While I attempted to adjust the picture quality and increase the volume, Bhasker smiled in unision. He seemed to have liked the tune if not followed the words. Given the fact that I had heard it on innumerable occasions and was fortunate to have watched the movie Heer Ranjha, I remembered the song by heart. Two more popular songs from the movies Kajal and Neelkamal followed in quick succession.
Rajkumar and Mohammed Rafi made a formidable combination. While the former was famous for his restrained acting and inimitable dialogue delivery skills, latter was undisputed king of male singers of his time.
When we were children, it would be impossible to have a ‘darshan’ of your favourite star or singer apart from seeing the former in the latest releases. There was no T.V. or Internet. Accordingly, if permitted by parents or even by one of them (a risky situation altogether), we would simply grab an opportunity to listen to the local singers imitating the famous ones of Bombay(Mumbai since 1995) in the ‘lighted’ darkness of night.
Moti Vinayak, a blind singer with a deep voice was a force to reckon with in Ranchi. He had undisputed mastery over the Rafi songs especially the ones mentioned above. Due to his obvious marketing handicaps he would not command a high price but once he emerged on the illuminated stage, there will be a complete silence, followed by a wide applause. He would churn out old melodies of Rafi in a comfortable way till the moment came for singing according to request of the audience. He will please all who liked, loved and worshipped Md.Rafi.
With the passage of time, I shifted to Delhi for higher studies. My feeble interest in music waned over time. I tried to rekindle it while undergoing training at Mussoorie. But nothing substantial of this revival can be talked about.
In Feb 1986,came the occasion to distribute blankets to the poor and the destitudes. As a young BDO of Kanke Block, I made all preparations meticulously for this social service even though it was funded by the Government. The short function began in time. I had given strict instructions for distribution only to the needy. By the time we finished seventy percent of the beneficiaries, one could notice a commotion a few metres away. It was reported that an old man was unable to move forward to the dias due to pain in his legs.
I decided spontaneously to get closer to him to hand over a blanket. Tears rolled down my cheeks when his name was read out. It was none other than Moti Vinayak, the carbon copy of Md.Rafi and my favourite for many years. When I gave an inkling of my liking of him, he could not show any reaction. He could neither say yes nor no to my desire to hear a Rafi song from him. I gathered enough courage to hand over two blankets(against one permitted) to Motiji as I felt for him from core of my heart. It was indeed unfortunate that such a gifted and talented singer had been relegated to the status of a beggar. He must have ‘gone with the winds’ soon. Had he been alive, he would have sparkled in this age of reality shows.