میں تجھ کو یاد کروں اور تجھے سنائی نہ دے
ہے نقص مجھ میں کوئی تو مگر صفائی نہ دے
Iftikhar Mughal – himself a well known, published poet wrote these lines. He loved reading my stories and always had a good word for every afsana I wrote and was published in Funoon. (Qasmi sahib’s magazine) My afsana, ” phool chaand tarey aur drakht” almost catapulted him emotionally. He was always talking, praising, bringing out new points in the story and admitting that after reading this afsana, he simply did not enjoy any other writing. He sang such praises that I myself ended up being in awe of myself, and sitting down to pen a story became impossible. Month after month I would buy bundles of writing paper and throw out half written – sometimes not even a line written, crumpled papers. I talked to a very close, trusted friend about it. He laughed.
“You are terrified because someone ‘zameen aasman key qlaabey mila rha hey aap ki khaaniyon key baarey mein?”
“I do not know anything about qlaabey thing but I feel intimidated and the moment I start writing something, his love of my words starts pouring in and my pen freezes.”
“I do not have a solution”, he said “but you will get over it.”
“You probably want to know when would that happen. Unfortunately, there is no answer to that. What I know is that you will. Just don’t push yourself. If you cannot write so don’t write. Just be patient and wait.”
What a big help he was!! but he was right. I started writing soon after.
Human psyche is strange. Too much praise becomes a hindrance and sometimes someone telling you that you have become senile and writing is not for you any more becomes equally devastating emotionally but a boost to your writing. This happened in 1984. A family friend that we had not met in a long time came to stay with us for a few days. At one point he asked me about my writing. I didn’t want to discuss my writing or not writing with him so I said I do what I can do. He said ” oh I know with time People become senile, you know. That made me very upset. It was like my whole world had gone upside down. I thought of giving him a nice reply but didn’t. He was a guest! But I wrote phool chand tarey …… a couple of years later. Didn’t I?
The couplet that I have written in the beginning is by him – Iftikhar Mughal – who is not with us any more but shall always be with us because of his beautiful poetry. I sometimes feel that he said these two lines for me. Maybe he knew that some day I would need them.