I was a kid, watching this overweight guy trying to sing. He got stuck at one word. I thought to myself: why is everyone around me so in awe of this man? I tried to fit in. I closed my eyes, and started shaking my head like everyone else was, little did I realize that I was slowly being cast under a spell of some unearthly wizardry within five minutes.

I didn't know what this man was singing; I didn't understand most of it but I remember feeling relaxed hearing his voice. I remember being calm with everything around me fading away in the background of his voice. I was spellbound. The wizard was none other than the ustaad of ustaads, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan .

After that I looked around for cassettes of this man. I remember my elders telling me that I am too young for his lyrics, but then again it wasn't the lyrics that got to me – it was his delivery that did. As I moved into my teenage years, I remember trying to fall in love to just be heartbroken to try and make sense out of what Nusrat was saying or trying to say. I am no music expert and I don't claim to be one, and so I don't understand the science behind Nusrat's delivery – recently I found out that even the greats of the music industry are as baffled as I am.

Nusrat became my go to man for spiritualism, for a broken heart, for beauty, for expression, for the unseen. Heck, I wasn't the only one. All my friends would listen to Nusrat and then praise him as if he was some sort of a messiah who understood every emotion they were going through. For some of my heartbroken friends, Nusrat became their best friend. When no one else would listen to them, Nusrat would relate to their broken heart and express things they couldn't. 

I remember spending entire nights listening to his qawwalis. One qawwali got me thinking; the lyrics were so simple but they had such a profound effect when he would sing them. I paused it and tried to sing it myself (not that I even qualify as an average singer), "Aaj koi baat ho gayi, woh na aye raat ho gai". But I couldn't catch it, I couldn't deliver the line. The tune was lost on me. I played it again, tried to sing it again and still I couldn't. I was disturbed by the fact that a line so simple had such a profound effect on me just because of the quality of this man's voice. The next day I heard my friend Maaz listening to the same qawwali; he was as mesmerised as I was. This got to me wondering even more: how does this man do it? How does he influence almost everyone? 

Each one of my friends had those teenage flings, serious relationships, broken hearts, healed hearts – everyone had their own particular situations making it almost impossible to relate to each other. But once you put on a Nusrat qawwali, everyone would relate it to their own particular situation. It was unbelievable. Calling it magic would be an understatement and then some.

I am pretty sure me and my friends aren't the only group of people who have felt the same way about Nusrat. I am sure 9 out of 10 people who listened to Nusrat growing up feel the same way. I am also sure that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan wasn't a mere mortal – well, his voice still creates the same impact to this day. I am also sure that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan made people fall in love with people that actually never existed.