I just finished reading another of his letter I found in my old files post dated November 15, 2003. I think this was his last letter he wrote to me.
Two lines into the letter, he starts talking about his death in a round about way. I never knew how old he was. I vaguely remember in one of his numerous letters he mentioned that he was 56/57 years old. But that was a long long time ago, before this letter. If he was talking about dying in 2003 then ten years are right there added to 56/57. Even if he was alive today, considering the time he wrote his first letter of appreciation, he must be somewhere in his eighties now.
Eighty years of futile living!! Well how can I be so sure, I only know that for all those years he just kept writing me letter after letter and when our address changed, he started sending them through a magazine. I only remember all those letters echoing with hints of defeat, failiur , heartache and yearning for love and friendship and he had picked me for that.
Stories don’t always reflect their authors. But sometimes a hungry soul sees in them what is lacking in his/her life and thinking that the author is the answer to his/her woes, he starts persueing the author which in-fact is; persuing his own dreams.
I was really scared of him. Had stopped going out on my own, or if I had to I would wear huge dark sun glasses, dress up as conspicuously as I could, keep the car doors locked all the time … it was miserable.
Eighty years! I feel sorry for him now. I was very young when he first started pouring out his appreciation about my writings. Yes I feel sorry for him that I didn’t grant him his wish. He so wanted to see me, sit with me, talk to me about my stories and why he liked them so much. I could have let him come to our house, meet me and my family. Listened to him, his story that he so wanted to tell me. I talked to my elders about this situation and was told off …
“kis ne kha tha zuroor khaniyan likho? yhi saza mile gi tumhein phir … ” Naturally such talk scared me even more.
It all started in 1979. I had written a story about …. well that is beside the point. He was so enamored with it that he copied almost all of my afsana praising it paragraph by paragraph. This letter was sent to me by the editor of the magazine who he had requested to forward the letter to me. I wouldn’t say I didn’t enjoy reading that. Who wouldn’t? But that was the only letter that I saved in my files. What is ironicle is that now I cannot find it.