Yanni’s Taj

Between the violin runs
And beats of drums —
Between the acoustic paraphernalia
And the legal humdrum…
Mumtaz once again
Took centre stage,
Relinquishing herself to time and mankind.
The Empress played host
To Yanni that night.

Playing live, Yanni revived
All that had passed and died.
Rebound, setting the trend,
There was royalty and nobility,
Valiant heads of tribes.
Next in line were self-made:
‘Avtars’, ‘hakeems’ and scribes,
Joining the murmuring stream
At the scene there were all types.
Fruit-pickers and grave-diggers.
Sash-makers and loyal waiters.
Silk-weavers and loan retrievers.
Musk-dealers and faith-healers.
Marriage-makers and palanquin bearers.
Artful dodgers and hawkers.
Tomb-robbers and aged cobblers.
Hobbled, jostled, and heckled, jabbing
Each other to find a spot
Near Taj that night!

Such was the spell of Yanni —
The past was present,
And the dead had come alive!
Amidst, clarinets and cymbals,
Nursing the ailing Yamuna’s ripples,
Taj the bride prepared to garland
Her Sovereign lover,
With jade, jasper and malachite.
The blushing sky turned vermillion
That night.

Hush! Tread softly, sweet angels.
Can you hear Yanni’s lullabies?
Unfolding those resplendent scenes,
Shah Jehan played host in my dreams:
Last night!!


Geeta Chhabra

‘Avtar’— incarnations, wholly self-realized persons.
‘hakeems’— physicians, doctors.
Yanni — (born Yiannis Hrysomallis) on November 14, 1954 in Kalamata, Greece, is a self-taught pianist, keyboardist and composer. He earned Grammy nomination for his 1992 album, Dare to Dream, and the 1993 follow-up, In My Tune. In March 1997, Yanni became one of the few Western artists permitted to perform and record at the Taj Mahal in India.

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