An instant connect with the audience at Bhaini Sahib, 35 kilometres from Ludhiana, made up for Zakir Hussain's performance in Punjab after a gap of 24 years.
Smile did not leave the face of this world renowned tabla maestro as he acknowledged, greeted, hugged his fans at the Sangeet Sammelan organised in the memory of late Satguru Jagjit Singh, the spiritual head of Namdhari sect of Sikhs, at Bhaini Sahib on Saturday.
Attired in a white kurta pyjama, an exponent of tabla from Punjab gharana, despite being the proud recipient to Padma Shre, Padma Bhushan and Grammy awards, Hussain was humility personified as he gave in to the demands of his fans for pictures, handshakes, autographs and dialogue.
Acclaimed for his famous catchphrase "Wah Taj" that ruled the advertisement world for years, the artiste added to the nostalgic moments as he said "Wah Punjab" in the same manner.
It was an awe-inspiring moment as the tabla maestro took the centre stage with the famous Sitarist Hidayat Hussain Khan and Pandit Ajay Joglekar on Lehra who were already playing for the hundreds of music aficionados at Bhaini Sahib.
From waiflike touch during the initial minutes to the brisk and spirited "thaap", the fingers touched every contour of the table, weaving a magical spell. Every listener was overwhelmed with the "divinity" that reverberated in the environs of Bhaini Sahib.
Hans Raj Hans, a noted Punjabi singer, having met the great classical instrumentalist took a seat in the audience to enjoy the performance to its last.
"It reminded me of the good old days when Satguru Jagjit Singh ji used to sing and play dilruba at kirtan darbars. It was a soul-stirring experience and after years of listening to Zakir Hussain Ji, I could feel the proximity between divine power and music," shared Satwinder Singh Namdhari.
The tabla maestro was reminiscent of his performances with Satguru Jagjit Singh as he paid homage to the spiritual leader. "Satguru Jagjit Singh ji immortalised the Indian classical music and was undoubtedly the greatest exponent of this century."
Driven by his proficiency and virtuosity, this tabla exponent has instituted improvisations in Indian classical music without letting it lose its traditional flavour but making it the "choice" of the international audience.
"I heard Ustad Zakir Hussain's father Alla Rakha Khan sahib in 1978 and after listening to Hussain, I am speechless as not only has he inherited the talent, but has also internationalised the Indian classical instrument," observed another aficionado of Indian classical music Ranjodh Singh, a city-based businessman.
Thakur Udai Singh, the successor of Satguru Jagjit Singh, the late spiritual head's wife Mata Chand Kaur and HS Hanspal Singh, spokesperson of Namdhari Darbar, also attended the Sangeet Sammelan.