She hit her head with her hand and said, “Can’t you understand anything at all?”
I said, “Looking at you, it seems not. But I do understand that you love Vilayat Khan. It is perfectly good. I am just saying that there is nothing wrong it it.”
At first she looked at me in disbelief, because in India, if you say such a thing to a religious man – a Hindu wife falling in love with a Mohammedan musician, singer or dancer – you cannot have his blessing, that much is certain. He may not curse you, but most likely he will; even if he can forgive you, even that is too modern, ultramodern.
“And,” I said to her, “there is nothing wrong in it. Love, love whomsoever you want to love. And love knows no barriers of caste or creed.”
She looked at me as if I were the one who had fallen in love, and she was the saint I was talking to. I said, “You are looking at me as if I have fallen in love with him. That too is true. I also love the way he plays, but not the man.” The man is arrogant, which is very common in artists.
Ravi Shankar is even more arrogant, perhaps because he is a brahmin too. That is like having two diseases together: classical music, and being a brahmin. And he has a third dimension to his disease too, because he married the great Alauddin’s daughter; he is his son-in-law.
Alauddin was so respected that just to be his son-in-law was enough proof that you are great, a genius. But unfortunately for them, I had also heard Masto. And the moment I heard him I said, “If the world knew about you they would forget and also forgive all these Ravi Shankars and Vilayat Khans.”
Masto said, “The world will never know about me. You will be my only listener.”
You will be surprised to know that Masto played many instruments. He was really a versatile genius, a very fertile mind, and he could make anything beautiful out of anything. He painted, and as meaninglessly as even Picasso could not do, and as beautifully as certainly Picasso could not do. But he simply destroyed his paintings saying, “I don’t want to leave any footprints on the sands of time.”
But sometimes he used to play music with Pagal Baba, so I asked him, “What about Baba?”
He said, “My sitar is reserved for you; not even Baba has heard it. Something else is reserved for Baba, so please don’t ask me. You may not hear it.”
Naturally I wanted to know what it was. I was curious, but I said to him, “I will keep my curiosity to myself. I will not ask anybody – although I could ask Baba, and he cannot lie to me. But I will not ask, that much I will promise you.”
He laughed and said, “In that case, when Baba is no longer in the world, then I will also play that instrument for you, because only then can I play it to you or anybody, and not before.”