As yesterday’s events set in, the heart hurts even more. Junaid Jamshed (and Vital Signs) were in some ways the face of a very hopeful childhood. The music they made was all around us – from singing Dil Dil Pakistan with thousands of others at cricket matches at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore to crooning Yeh Shaam with the family at the winter bonfire nights. Aitebar was the first song that I learnt the words to, because my brother would sing it and it was the coolest thing to do. Independence Day felt incomplete without Maula and Hum Hain Pakistani on repeat.
I still remember meeting him before a concert at the Alhamra Open Air theatre. My father knew someone in the management who kindly allowed me and my siblings to go and have a quick meeting with Junaid, the band and some of the other musicians. I remember JJ being extremely courteous to my father and asking me and and brother what our favourite Vital Signs songs were. I left that green room feeling like the luckiest 7 year old.
Whatever path his life took thereon, was his own personal choice which I, in hindsight, respect him for. It must not have been easy to set aside what he was most passionate about, his music, for what he believed was the correct path. Barring some statements that I did not quite agree with, JJ, was one of the more understanding scholars we had. His death is indeed a loss to the community of religious scholars in Pakistan.
Junaid Jamshed stood for many different things for different people. For me, his death feels like the loss of so much that was sacred in my childhood.
Rest in peace, JJ. Thank you for the music and the memories.