I was 4 years old when I first met Sabri Sahab (Father of Amjad Sabri) - he used to visit my Nana's house for the occasional qawwali sessions that my nana and his clan enjoyed very much.
The most vivid memories I have of him are his peculiar hair-locks hanging down his shoulders, and the way he lauded "Allaaaah" in his heavy, majestic voice during the Qawali.
I still remember how my innocent first impression of him as a child struck a humurous chord between us - I had addressed him as "Jin Baba...!" to his face one day as he entered through the main door at my Nana's house in Rawalpindi. I hear that he took it in gentle spirit.
For years later my Nana laughed about it as he narrated this incident.
I had almost lost touch with this memory until I heard about Amjad Sabri's recent death. I have not been an avid qawali listener but I have heard Amjad Sabri live in concert and like most other people I was mesmerized by his power to offer a state of nirvana through his sufi vocal chords.
I had no real connection with Amjad Sabri apart from this childhood memory of his dad - but I felt sad to the core when I heard about his death. As I go through the various photographs of him and his children for the first time, I look at him as a regular dad and a huge loss for his young family. No child deserves being separated from their parent, especially in such brutal manner.
The Sabri family were the carriers of the Qawali legacy in Pakistan - and no one did it better. It was as if they were appointed by God for this task only. But Amjad Sabri's son is a couple of decades too young to take on the family torch. The more important question is -will he ever be able to, after experiencing what just happened to his father. Will the terrified widow, and single mother not keep her children as far as possible from the family profession and media watch? We can't say.
Famous people have died in the past - even murdered, but there was definitely something about Amjad Sabri that his death was so deeply felt by the entire nation.
RIP Amjad Sabri. Please pay my regards to your Father. Please convey my apology for the inappropriate name I gave him in my childhood innocence.
The blood in our veins continues to whirl like a darvesh as we hear the signature "Tajdar-e-Haram".
Impromptu verses dedicated to the Sabri Father & Son:
"Tere chahne waley kitney they dunya mei, tu na kar uski fikr
Tu hai jis Rasool (SAW) ka aashiq - tu bus kar uska zikr
Shahdat ne teri khol deye wo sab darwazey jin per...
Salon se dastak de rahi thi teri awaaaz sham-o-seher"