The word ‘old’ brings to mind a vintage image – worn out, yet charming. An image that speaks of a time that’s gone by, and that lived to tell the tale.
One such magical place is Delhi. My fascination with the city began with reading City of Djinn. William Dalrymple’s account of Delhi, ‘City of Djinn, a year spent in Delhi’, is in fact much more than that. It opens your eyes to the abandoned ruins of the past and lets you see it come alive!
Among the various pockets of Delhi, one of the most fascinating is Chandni Chowk (a moonlit square) nestled in Purani Dilli (old Delhi). Chandni Chowk is one old paradise, where you see something new each time you go there. Built in the 17th century by the great Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan, Chandni Chowk was once a grand market. Its full glory, a canal ran through the length of the street that reflected moonlight (hence the name).
A mystic, a poet, an artist and a singer, Parvathy seems to follow her heart like there isn’t another way!
In an interview with the Sufi journal, she talks about how she was drawn to the Baul tradition (hailing from the West Bengal in India. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baul). A chance meeting with a Baul singer in a train, opened her heart to it. She then found her guru in Shri Sanatan Das Baul and one afternoon, before she’d even begun any training, just started singing with him!
I had the privilege of watching her perform at ‘Ruhaniyat’, an all India Sufi and Mystic Music Festival. The organisers aptly describe the festival as the ‘call of the soul, enlivening centuries of spiritual wisdom’. It brings together musicians from Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan etc. besides India. (Read more about the festival here: http://ruhaniyat.com/)
On a mystical night in Bombay, set in the Hornimon circle garden, among the Sema dervishes and the Qawwals, in walked Parvathy Baul and her magic!
Pic Courtesy: Ruhaniyat Website