Famous Pakistani-origin musician and singer Adnan Sami has described the "Rhythm in Paradise" concert held in Srinagar last week as the most "memorable" live performance of his life.
Adnan performed for free at the concert, jointly organised by the Union Home Ministry and the Jammu and Kashmir government, and held at the lawns of the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre on the banks of the Dal Lake here.
"By now, I've done hundreds of concerts the world over. Of course, each one is special. And of course, I get butterflies in my tummy even now before every live performance. But this was in a different league altogether," Adnan said as he thought about the experience which he describes as "magic in paradise".
It all started with a call from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's office.
"When they asked me if I'd perform in Kashmir, I didn't even think about it. I said 'yes' without a second thought, and no money was discussed, none taken. Come on yaar, this is Kashmir. Jannat mein gaane ke liye paise nahin lete (You don't take money to sing in paradise)."
Nor did Adnan think twice about taking his wife and newly-born daughter Medina to the troubled Valley.
"It wasn't as if the tension in the Valley vanished for me. It is there. But we need to go beyond despair and head towards repair. This healing can only happen when more artistes from the world over perform. And what better healer than music? I am proud to say I'm the first major artiste from Mumbai's entertainment world to perform in Srinagar, and I've come back supremely blissed by the welcome that I got from music lovers there," he said.
"Yes, I wish I had been to Srinagar earlier. I had been to Kashmir to shoot for my song in 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' in 2015. But that was just in-and-out. This time I got a chance to meet people, mingle with the people, sing for and with them. Kashmir has such wonderful people and is so so beautiful.
"I performed right at the foot of the Dal Lake, so we can safely say there was never a 'Dal' moment during my concert, ha ha. My wife, daughter and I got a chance to see some of the gardens before we returned. Now I can't wait to go back for a longer visit and for another concert."