He still lives. He is ageless. His melodies are timeless. His name is synonymous with Shehnai , an instrument traditionally played during Indian weddings and in temples. He brought it to the forefront and presented it to the world.
I have heard him often but I met Ustad Bismillah Khan just once, I was almost 6 months pregnant at that time. Needless to say I was swayed away by his charm. The way he plays and the way he talks. I still remember that night as if it was yesterday. Shimmering moonlight, he sat by the pond side at Telenkhedi Gardens and played under a Shamiyana. We all were in awe, he looked frail but he had the physical strength that showed through his rendition. There were very few listeners but to him it did not matter. Most people around were just not interested, for, they were there to attend the wedding of a politician and newspaper owners child. Yes, Ustadji was called to play during a wedding ceremony. But like all great people for him too, it did not matter where he played the Shehnai. However for me and people who really cared for his work, it was an opportunity to sit within 4 feet of him and listen to the magic he created. That one moment of touching his feet and taking his blessings will last a life time for me.