19th Dec 2010, Sunday
Emperors Palace, Johannesburg
The King of Sufee singing Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was in Johannesburg on 19th Dec 10 for live concert. We were 6 of us who planned to attend the concert. Rahat is my all time favorite singer and I am proudly big fan of his voice. I did't wanted to miss the chance to attend this one. I have been personally following Rahat's singing for past several years and whenever I heard him or watched him performing on television I always thought I want to meet him, at least see him from near or touch his hands. "Rahat" by his name and it's real meaning in Hindi, he gives "Rahat" to his fans by his singing.
Before starting from home, I just prayed that if I am really fan of his voice then I will get a chance to meet Rahat or will get his autograph. It was raining hence people were stuck in traffic and program was postponed by 45 min. I located my seat and then told Amol that I will just come back. I came out of venue and went to organisers desk. There was a person called Akbar, I requested him that I am Sachin from Pune, India and I want to meet Rahat before he starts his concert. He said it is quite difficult but he can help me after program. I said there will be huge rush for autographs etc hence I doubt that I will get a chance. During this conversation, Akbar got a call on his mobile to come and receive Rahat from his guest house. This guest house was in same campus however it was raining. After that call, Akbar says me, man you are lukcy, lets go and pick up Rahat. I was astonished for a moment..!
It was raining hence we went in Akbar's BMW to pick up Rahat, in fact it was first time for me to board BMW, that too someone whom I know from past 10 minutes was driving. I thanked Akbar from bottom of my heart for this opportunity. As I knew thousands of people waiting to hear Rahat's voice in concert hall...and I was the only fan lucky enough to go and pick up Rahat. This was simply awesome. We parked car at the entrance of O'really hotel and walked to reception.
Finally after 10 min of wait, The king of Sufee singing Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan stepped out of his room. We walked quickly towards Rahat and I offered him handshake and Rahat too. I introduced my self as Sachin from Pune India. Rahat replied, Khushi huyi aapse milke, yahan kaise? (Nice to meet you, how come here?). In short I told him that I am on assignment here. I captured couple of close snaps of Rahat and then opened door for him to seat in a car. Me and Rahat's younger brother got the back seat in same car. I drew a blank for the moment, but I knew only Rahat for that time. I offered him a note of 50 Rand for his autograph and he signed with smile. I felt I am his only lucky fan to meet him before function, and that to got a chance to meet him in person and share same car for a moment at least.
We dropped Rahat to green room, I saluted Akbar and told him that you have truly heart of Late King Akbar who use to fulfill wish of his every citizen. Thank you very much for everything, you made moment of my life. I accepted his bye and walked towards my seat.
In few minutes announcement bounced and everyone was just waiting for Rahat to appear on stage. Finally that waiting was over and Rahat with smile appeared on stage. He offered his traditional salute to audience and his fingers touched Harmonium.
Rahat began the concert with composition in "Raag Trivari" and then moved to some of the famous Qavvalis performed by Ustab Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Rahat's mentor). I was waiting for my favorite numbers and finally his fingers on Harmonium played the tune of "Main Jaha Rahun..." wah..wah.. then it went on...
"Lage tumse man ki lagan"
"Dil to Bachha hai jee"
"O re piya"
and then my all time favorite "Naina thag lenge..." and many more...
I couldn't resist myself when Rahat started "Naina thag lenge", I walked towards stage and offered him possible gift from me (few hundred rands). Rahat while performing glanced at me and smiled. I felt as he was just singing for me and accepted my small gift.
I captured glimpse of that performance and turned to my seat.
Thanks to Akbar.