Last night I was reading an Urdu newspaper, published from NY and saw a news about someone who every now and then when talking about the places we had lived in, would come in our conversation. Shkeel Aazad. He died a few days ago in New York. We don’t know when did he come to US but I remember he got our number from a friend and called once. After that he was lost to us. Also, there was never a friendship to keep a follow up. He was someone we knew from a place, and remembered him but for a beautiful she’r.
dat Brelvi and two others on the penal would discuss. I remember Shakeel Aazad standing on the other side of the glass door and listening. When we came out, he stepped forward and expressed his appreciation.
He was a good poet. Really good poet, but never got his due recognition. The newspaper reported that he was a famous naat reciter. He was; but he wrote some excellent ghazals too that I heard him reciting in AD mushairahs. Though the only she’r by him that I remember is naatiyah
اِک شب کے لئے یا رب ،تو اپنا قلم دے دے
لکھنی ہے مدح مجھ کو، کونین کے مالک کی۔
ik shab key liyay yaarab tou apna qalam de dey
likhni hey mdah mujh-ko konain key maalik ki.
Rest in peace Shakeel Aazad!
Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a small village named kasoor, there lived a sparrow called choon
choon and a crow called kaan kaan. Choon choon lived in a sheesham tree and kaan kaan lived in a
mango tree. You can say that they were neighbors. One day when the sun was out and shining bright
and the air was nice and cool and the bees were humming and collecting nectar to make honey and the
butterflies were flitting from flower to flower, choon choon called kaan kaan.
“ hi neighbor, are you at home?
Kaan kaan called from his mango tree.
“yes choon choon, I am here, sitting on a branch and enjoying this beautiful day.
“yes kaan kaan, isn’t it a lovely day; a lovely day fit for fun. Why don’t we have a picnic. Just sitting in
the trees is nothing but waste of a beautiful day. Yes why don’t we have a picnic.
“I think it’s a good idea choon choon. Lets have a picnic.
Okay kaan kaan, I’ll bring rice and you bring some lentils. We will mix rice and lentils and cook
khichri. Then we will go out to the river bank where there are beautiful trees growing and their
branches are almost touching the water. We will have our picnic there, high up in the branches and
maybe later on we will fly around in the sun or swing on the branches or take a bath in the river.
“sounds good to me. He said. “ then lets go to the market and get the stuff for our khichri. Choon choon replied.
They both flew away to the market. Choon choon went to the rice shop and kaan kaan to the shop
where all kinds of dry beans were sold. He bought some lentils from the shopkeeper.
When they were back, they decided to go to the backyard where there was a fire pit called chulah to
cook the food on. Choon choon brought a little pot from her house and started cooking the khichri in it
while kaan kaan sat nearby watching her and telling her about his neighbors – a tota family – living in
the oak tree next to his mango tree and how they always try to come to his mango tree when it is the
mango season – how noisy they are, always flying around, talking loudly.
“ and you know choon choon, they start flocking to my tree the moment tiny little mangoes start
peeking out of the mango ‘boor’ flowers. Of course being a kaan kaan myself, I do not eat mangoes but
it is my mango tree for crying out loud. Oh they are such free loaders.
Choon choon listened to his complains and at times laughed at the funny parts of his stories about the
tota family. They were actually parrots with beautiful green feathers and red beaks
“maybe you should make friends with them. They are your neighbors after all. Like you are my
neighbor and we are friends too.
“ we are different” he said.
“ of course we all are different but this does not mean that we cannot be friends.
“ Okay, okay is khichri ready yet?”
Choon choon laughed. “Yes it is ready. And now we can go to the river bank to enjoy it. But before
that I have to go to my house to wash my hands and comb my hair and maybe put on a little lipstick.
Then we shall take our pot of khichri and picnic basket to the river bank to enjoy our good food and
have fun in the sun.
“All right choon choon, go and tidy up yourself and maybe it’s a good idea to change your clothes as
well because you smell like khichri yourself. I have a very sensitive nose, you know.
“Okay, I think you are right. Anyways just wait here. I’ll be right back.
But when she came back, there was no kaan kaan and the pot was empty — all the khichri gone.
Choon choon was surprised to see the empty khichri pot. ‘What happened while I was gone? She
wondered. Maybe the shaheen eagle from across the road, living high up in the sweet gum tree ate our
khichri. I hope he didn’t eat kaan kaan as well. But then she remembered kaan kaan once telling her
that he was friends with Shaheen eagle. Can someone eat a friend? She thought. ‘No no, how can that
be? Friends don’t hurt each other. Then what happened? She sat beside the empty pot and kept
Finally she said that it was kaan kaan himself who ate the whole khichri and ran away.
She went to the mango tree and called him a couple of times but no one answered.
The next day she went to the market again to buy a few things for herself and saw kaan kaan sitting in a
shop talking to the owner. She went right up to him and stood in front of him.
“now there you are kaan kaan. Why did you eat all of our khichri and ran away? That was not nice you
know. You spoiled our picnic.
“I didn’t eat any khichri, he said and looked away.
Now please don’t tell lies. If you had told me that you were hungry, I would have told you to take a
little bit. There was plenty for both of us. Why didn’t you?
“I don’t know. Kaan kaan said.
‘I think I should teach him a lesson so that he never cheats anyone again. Choon choon thought to
herself then talked to kaan kaan.
“you are my neighbor and neighbors are like family. I want to stay friends with you. So kaan kaan, I am
inviting you to my house one more time to come and have dinner with me. lets forget what happened
and renew our friendship
“Really? Oh you are so nice. Okay so when do I come? Kaan kaan was really excited that choon choon
was not mad at him any more. “Come to my oak tree at 6’oclock and we shall eat together.”
“what would you cook?” he asked.
“That is a surprise, but I am sure you would like it. She said and smiled at him.
Then she said goodbye and did some grocery shopping and went home.
So the next day she made khichri again but this time she put a whole lot of red chili powder in it. Right
at 6 o clock there was a knock at choon choon’s door. She opened the door and welcomed her neighbor.
“Oh welcome, welcome. Please come in my good friend. I have been waiting for you. you came right
“Thank you for inviting me choon choon.”
“You are welcome kaan kaan. Now have a seat and I will bring out the food”.
Kaan kaan sat down waiting for the food. He was – as always – really hungry. choon choon brought out
the food and they both sat down to eat. But one mouthful and kaan kaan cried out.
“Oh my God, oh my god. What have you put in the food, my tongue is burning. Oh my god. He grabed
a glass of water and drank it in one big gulp. “Oh my mouth oh my tongue. He was jumping all over
and his eyes were watering. Oh choon choon why did you do that to me.
“To teach you a lesson kaan kaan. You not only stole my food but told a lie too. Of course you ate all
the khichri and disappeared. I was worried. But then I called you and you didn’t answer I knew it was
you and not the shaheen eagle. And when I saw you in the market and asked you, you denied every
thing that makes you a liar as well.
Now you know what happens if you steal from other people or you tell lies. Your mouth will burn and
you drink lots and lots of water to make the burning go away. But drinking lots and lots of water will
make your stomach a water bag — see, this is what is happening to you.”
“Oh choon choon I am sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I promise I will never lie again.”
“And never steal the food again?” … choon choon said.
“Yes never.” he said.
“Okay kaan kaan I am sorry I put chili powder in the food but now I will give you something that will
make the chilies go away and you will feel good.
Then she went in again and came back with two bowls full of ice cream and gave one to kaan kaan and
took one herself. She sat down beside kaan kaan. They ate ice cream and talked and laughed and told
jokes and laughed some more. They were friends again.
They had many picnics after that and they invited each other over to their homes all the time. Kaan
kaan even allowed the noisy tota family to visit his mango tree to eat the mangoes, though he still
didn’t like their spoiling the tiny little mangoes coming out of the mango-boor flowers.
So the story ends with every body living happily ever after.
Copyright © July 2006
July 1, 2014 ·
My day and the faces it bears
Twisters in Nebraska, scary sights and all the well wishers messaging to stay safe – don’t go out – find a shelter near you. Message after message from good people not even knowing who in particular they are talking to; just sending good wishes to total strangers. I have seen the same thing happening when tornadoes hit Florida. The support pouring out from all over the country. Not just stay safe messages but actual help with money, necessities, clothing, sheltering homeless families …. total strangers !
But are we really strangers? Doesn’t humanity bind us to each other. One person in distress in any other corner of the world and a chain of human links suddenly comes alive. But if we as humans are linked then why this is only limited to the western countries? Aren’t we humans or human enough in the East? I have seen a man in the East going out of his way – I mean really going out of his / her way to help, to accommodate someone with white skin and golden or brown tresses, and if the eyes are blue, then it is like ‘ wajib qurbatun…’ to be a carpet for that ‘god or goddess’ ! Well if we go to the north of our country, we would see plenty of green and blue eyes, fair skin and golden tresses . So? Is it because they are usually in tatters? And we take them as poor brats, fit for a noukar /noukrani job in a SAHAB’s posh home and God forbid – if breaking some crystal vase then getting hacked or burnt alive !! Once I even read a semi famous poet writing about his wait for his ticket in a foreign transit lounge, like he already had a long standing love affair with the woman at the ticket counter. He was almost feverish with anticipation that soon he would be talking to the “ma’shooq”
Oh, I was on twisters, and sirens. Basements and shelters and human chain. That day has passed. There was no news of any big damage. Relieved to read that!
The next page! “ Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Ferozsha Baag “by Rohinton Mistry – the best fiction writer in present day writers.
________ “ The World can be a bewildering place and dreams and ambitions are often paths to the most pernicious of traps “ Mistry writes in … Ferozsha Baag. I have to have this book, I wouldn’t rest till I have this in my hands and with a pillow behind my back, reclining on my recliner, lost in its pages. My friend Parvin and I meet once a month and talk about books we have read, book we are on and the new addition in our list of books we plan to read one by one. She thought I was an “ aflatoon” in the world of lit before we met. But now I think she is even a bigger “aflatoon” Our love of Rohinton Mistry bonded us right away.
I march from room to room … my little girls are off to Canada, visiting their nani and khala.
I do not like an empty house where every little sound makes an echo and silence stands still. I like peace and quiet, – specially at night; but love and enjoy their playful talks and peal after peal of laughter resonating in this big house during the day. Sitting in my far side of the house, I am always aware of their lively chatter, their laughter, their playful teasing of each other or running around on their soft , padded little feet! I think there is something magical about little girls.
Sometimes ago I ‘LIKED’ a page. It is “ Rain Gutter Grow System Group Page “ because I love plants and trees – fruit trees , vegetables , herbs, flowers and shrubs. Love of greens is in my blood; inherited from my mother. So I liked this page where everyday people show their daily crop of tomatoes, peppers , buttercup squash, berries. They even grow herbs in water bottles. They cut the bottle in half, fill it with soil and ….
Ah the soil!!
And one afternoon, forgetting my ordeal – five years ago – with a certain skin problem, caused by rain water collected in puddles and I stepping in that, I dirtied my hands with potting soil. Now I am paying the price for being lazy to fetch my garden gloves. My hands are itchy; sooo itchy! I wash them with dead sea salt mixed in water, dry them, put medicine on them and then pull on cotton gloves; in this Florida heat! Even my soap is some special kind for washing them. PLEASE HELP ME ALLAH. I cannot go on like this … I beseech Almighty day and night …. medicine does not seem to work – yet.
I got this gardening bug from my mommy dearest. But then she went a step further and gave me a soft, delicate and extremely sensitive skin. Thanks mama and now I can only say – rest in peace!
A page ahead is Kafka casting a shadow on my day.
“No” said the priest, “you do not need to accept it as necessary.” ”Depressing view “ said K . “the lie made it into the rule of the world “
So true and I still have not finished the essay I promised I would write. Problem # 1 is my hands. I cannot write even a page in one sitting.. My poor fingers start itching and if I make the mistake of scratching even a bit, there will be no end to it
Problem# 2 is – I am losing my Urdu vocabulary.
Criticism is not bad. It actually helps people learn or improve; sometimes both. But when criticizing is just for criticizing , its not beneficial to any one. Its called bashing. Bashing for some hidden agenda.
Pakistan is going through a very hard time and this, in my opinion is the time to help this ailing country but I see people just sitting on the sidelines, watching and issuing political fatwas and the nincompoops they have collected around them, doing wah, wah at every absurdity that is uttered. These are no friends of Pakistan. One of my friends thinks they are the worse kind of enemies ….
” jis plate mein khatey hein osi mein sorakh krney mein lgaiy hein … jis darakht par baithey hein osi ki jarren bhi kat rahaiy hein …”
The energy they are wasting; bad mouthing the people in the government or some – not in the government but a political figures none the less. Any mention of any name and their hate machines would come in action. Other days, they would just ridicule just about any body and anything ; heck they never are supportive of anything..
So I turned away and started growing organic herbs. I know working with soil is kind of risky for my hands but if I be careful the soil will become friendly too. Soil is one’s destiny. We grow roots in the soil we live on. Wouldn’t it be better to nurture than hurt those roots.
I hope one day their conscience would question did they do anything to help build the country? Did they do anything positive? Making fun all the time, of everything is so easy but getting off of the haunches and extending a helping hand needs effort and a will to help move forward. Don’t tell me that your fore fathers sacrificed their lives to make this country because in turn I would ask you to think that their sacrifice made sure you had a safe and secure independent place to live and raise your children. What are you making sure for your children and their families?
Please don’t take this country for granted!!
“Dedicated to you”, A Ray of Sunshine
by Nayyar Afaq
Sat. March 23, 2019
کہکشاوں کے پُل سے
چاندنی کے دھارے پر
کئنات کےسب سے
آخری کنارے پر
روشنی جگاتی ہو
تم جو مسکراتی ہو
Oh wow Nayyar, this is beautiful.
Is being spontaneous good or bad? Sometimes I want to do something instantly. Without thinking or planning. I mean one moment you think about something and the next moment you are doing it, with full involvement.
Like – want to go some where?
okay, go, hit the road, face whatever meets you on the way. Maybe something not nice, maybe something extra nice… you never know. It’s the surprise element that is exhilarating…. not knowing becomes all the more fun. That used to be me – to some extent – still am 🙂
When I got married, my husband had already planned a honeymoon in Nathiya Gali. I told him I had thought we would cross the country on a motorbike stay at hotels on the way. Have breakfast at the truck stops. Make new friends. No it never materialized. We went to Nathia Gali, alright !
But why a motorbike? Well my older brother – a lot older than me had a Vespa. He once, to celebrate the Eid with the family, came to Lahore from Islamabad on his blue Vespa. He reached Lahore in the early hours of the night and not wanting to disturb anyone, took out his night gown from the bag and pulled the Adirondack porch chairs, face to face, slept the remaining night wrapped in his warm gown, on that makeshift bed. Was it December or some other cold month, not sure. I thought it was so adventurous and romantic. and one day I would also do that.
The following year we went to Karachi. Traveled a thousand miles in our car. It was fun but well planned fun. Then came the children and spontaneity was history.
In my married life, so far I have met just one couple who thought about something one moment and were doing it the next moment. That was another time in another country.
I met them in a party. Nice friendly couple, recently married. I invited them over for dinner the next day. We told them where we lived. I asked the girl wouldn’t she want to write it down? her husband smiled and said no need, we are born navigators. True to his words the next day at the appointed time, the bell rang. The door was opened and there they were. As they told us later , they had already come to our house previous night. At midnight when the party broke, they followed the address they thought they understood from the conversation; and came driving to the door to confirm. They wanted to do that to test their qualification of reading a map – just for …. fun? And then go back home.
The same couple was suddenly missing from the scene. No one had a clue where they were. Finally someone went to their house to talk to the house help. ” I don’t know janab, but they are coming back tonight and want their room cleaned and dinner ready. ”
It so happened that one night they were watching some documentary about Hunza Valley, the people, their way of living, traditions, their longevity, health, food etc. and they became so enamored with what they saw; they just up and left for Pakistan and from there to the Valley, they said.
Well, when there is a will, there always is a way.
All that we need is a will.
Got it ?
Yes. Got it.
Oh, I didn’t mean that if you have got THE WILL. I meant did anyone get what this story is saying ? Or maybe it is the same 🙂
I hope mood improves tomorrow.
A real sad, melancholy day. I stumbled on a page and froze.
میں اک شہاب ِ شکستہ تھا ا فتخار مغل
بجھا ضرور مگر خوب جگمگا کے بجھا
Because of him I could not write for one whole year.. He liked my stories, claimed that he always read my story before looking into other writings. But about one story he wrote that it just blew his mind and heart away and after that one story, it had become hard for him to appreciate stories by other people. I had never met him, not even seen his any photo anywhere but this claim and then in each issue of Funoon, he would talk about it. I was happy, I liked what he said but then I developed a kind of احساس ِ کمتری .I started doubting my ability to write. Every time I started a story, I just panicked, and threw it in the bin. I finally Wrote about this ابتلا to Nadeem Qasmi sahab . He published that letter in اختلا فا ت . I don’t know what made him to publish it but that became the turning point and I slowly came back.
The year I was planning on going to Pakistan, I had decided to see him in Abbottabad where in a monthly mushaira he used to go to recite his poetry.
I called to find out when were they having mushaira and make sure Iftikhar Mughal was there. There was a long silence and finally. ” I am sorry Riffat, but he is no more. He passed away two weeks ago
ہمارے دل میں کہیں درد ہے؟ نہیں ہے نا
ہمارا چہرہ کہیں زرد ہے ؟ نہیں ہے نا
سنا ہے آدمی مر سکتا ہے بچھڑتے ہوئے
ہمارا ہاتھ چھووؑ، سرد ہے ؟ نہیں ہے نا
سنا ہے ہجر میں چہروں پہ دھول اڑتی ہے
ہمارے رخ پہ کہیں گرد ہے ؟ نہیں ھے نا
this ghazal is written in his own hand and looks like it was not complete yet..
I spent my day just reading him the more I read the more heart broken I felt.
A profound feeling of loss. A regret and so much more!
Rest in peace Iftikhar Mughal Your words would keep your name alive.
دوری کی چادروں میں فاصلوں کو لپیٹ کر بحر ِ اوقیانوس بُرد کر دینا اچھا رہے گا
ہجر کے سب مسائل حل ہو جائیں گے۔ سب طرح کی “فہمیاں “جان کو عذاب سے نکل جانے کا پروانہؑ راہداری عطا کر دیں گی
یہ قطرہ قطرہ مرنا نہیں رہے گا ، مگر یہ سب ہوا کب اور کیسے ؟ کس بیابان یا نخلستان یا گلستان سے اس نے ورود کیا اور اپنے سیدھے قد سے سامنے کھڑے ہو کر اپنی حاکمیت کی مہر لگا دی ۔ کچھ پوچھنا ، اجازت لینا ، مرضی جاننا جب مشرب میں ہو ہی نہ تو کوئی کیا کرے گا اس تولے اور ماشے کے خاموش اور معصوم جدال کو کوئی جنگ کا الزام بھی کیسے دے سکتا ہے بس ایک قطرہ قطرہ موت ہی مقسوم رہ جاتی ہے ۔
سوچ ہاتھوں سے نکلی جاتی تھی
خیالات میں روانی نہیں تھی
کوئی ہے جس سے پوچھا جائے
یہ سب ہوا کب اور کیسے ہوا
کبھی راستے کا تعین کئے بغیر آگے بڑھتے جائیں منزل کہین نہ کہیں آ ملتی ھے ۔ میں بھی کام میں تھی اور منزل ڈھونڈھ رہی تھی ۔ وہ دور کھڑا مجھے دیکھ رہا تھا میں کب ہار مانتی ہوں ، کب اس کے پیروں میں بیٹھ جاتی ہوں۔ میری شکست کے میرے اعتراف کے لئے اسے انتظار تھا اور کوئی ایسی جلدی نہیں تھی
ایک بار میں نے اپنی نگارش کا جائزہ لیا اور کتاب بند کرنے کو تھی جب ایسا لگا کسی نے میری گردن پر چٹکی بھری ہو ، آہستہ سے بالوں کو چھوا ہو
میں سیدھی ہو کر بیٹھ گئی شا ئد دیر سے جھکی بیٹھی تھی اور یہ گردن اور کمر کا اعلان ِ احتجاج تھا
گردن اوپر کرتے ہی، سامنے روشندان سے لگا وہ کھڑا نظر آیا۔ روشن چمکتا ہوا آدھا چاند – روشنی کی کرنیں اُچھالتا ، ہوا میں سر اُ ٹھائے اسی کو دیکھتی ، اچانک ہی اپنے اندر کی تبدیلی سے آگاہ پیار کی امنڈتی لہروں میں ہلکو رے لینے لگی
پوچھو گی نہیں اتنے دن کہاں رہا؟
تم سیاہ ماتمی لباس میں بہت تنہا اور خاموش تھیں میں نے احترام میں تمہیں تمھارے حال پر چھوڑ دیا ۔ اُس وقت تک کے لئے جب تم واپس آنے کا فیصلہ کرو ۔
ہاں معلوم ہے ، جانتی ہوں مگر پھر بھی ایک رات میں نے تمہیں ڈھونڈھا تھا اس وقت تمہیں آفاق کو روش کرتے ابھی دس راتیں ہی ہوئی تھیں پھر کہاں تھے تم ، میں دل گرفتہ تمہیں آوازیں دیتی رہی تھی مگر تم کہیں نظر نہیں آئے۔
جانتا ہوں ، معلوم ہے ۔ تم نے تمہاری گاڑی کا شیشہ نیچے کیا تھا اور سر باہر نکال کر حد ِ نگاہ مجھے ڈھونڈھنے کی کوشش کی تھی مگر میں تمہیں نظر نہیں آیا
کیوں ؟ بارش بھی تو نہیں تھی
مگر دھندلے اور ملال سے میلے بادل تو تھے۔
ہاں شائید ۔
مگر کسی نے ہماری بات کاٹ دی ۔ اس کو جواب دے کر واپس آئی تو وہ روشندان کے شیشے کی حدود سے کہیں پرے جا چکا تھا ۔ کچھ دیر اور ٹھہر جاتے ، میری بات تو سن لیتے۔
تمہیں پتہ ہے ایسے نہیں ہو سکتا ، اس کائنات کو کوئی اور چلا رہا ہے ۔ تم اور میں اس کے کارندے ہیں اور بس ۔
اس کی دور جاتی آواز قطرہ قطرہ میرے اندر آبشار بن کے اُتر گئی۔
ایک بات ملال کی مجھے بھی تم سے کرنی تھی ۔ لگتا ہے زندگی کو زندگی نے چھین لیا ہے ۔ زندگی جو ٹھہرے پانی کی مانند پرسکون تھی ، زندگی نے اس کی پرسکون سطح پر سلوٹیں ڈال دی ہیں تمہیں بتانا تھا کہ زندگی کو حیران چھوڑ کر ، زندگی ، زندگی کے ہاتھوں سے پھسلتی کہیں اور جا نکلی ہے بتانا تھا یہ سب ، پوچھنا تھا تم سے۔۔
۔کہ زندگی اب اس کے کاندھے پر بیٹھی ہے اور وہ زندگی کی دلداری میں زندگی کو آزاد بھی نہیں کرتا،
اب مگر میری بات کا جواب آ یا نہیں ، وہ جا چکا تھا اور آفاق پر کوئی تارہ بھی نہیں تھا جو اُن راستوں کو اُ جا لتا مجھے اس تک لے جاتا ۔
شائید کل پھر آؤ تم
میں رستہ دیکھتی بیٹھوں گی تمہارا۔
روشندان کی تاریکی میں ایک تارہ آ کر بیٹھ گیا مگر وہ میرا ستارہ نہیں تھا۔
Riffat Murtaza .
A friendship for keeps:
by Riffat Murtaza
Weather has changed. Sun is still warm and pricks the skin but it fills my heart with a sense of renewal! Sun is hot but shadows are soft and holding a promise.
M.N sahib, as usual keeps sending important / interesting / some times funny links my way. How long have we known each other? Oh a long time! He is my dearest, dearest friend. Anything that I have difficulty to know or understand, I run back to him. He always has an answer to satisfy my quest.
I had just arrived in Florida from across the ocean. I do not like having too many people around me and rather prefer peace and quiet and be alone. But still the place I had left behind was a busy and lively place. Though not being directly involved I was always aware of life’s goings on around me. Here I was suddenly alone and lonely. A friend introduced him and slowly my world started to look brighter. I can do away with anything but not without books, papers, pens, reading and sharing ideas. And he was always there for all this and more. There are a whole lot more of such people out there and some times you like them and want to have them in your life like a precious find – a link to hold you close, but along the way you become aware that the connection has a fault line. Its not going to grow. Agendas, misunderstandings, other people with other interests come in and the connection snaps and you are left wondering where what went wrong. You mope around for sometime, even feel depressed, cry some too, but slowly things get back to normal and soon you become aware that .. but no, sometimes letting go is the best decision made.
This man is – let me call him a rock. Solid. Authentic. One of a kind. Knows how to enjoy a good joke. Read a bad she’r to him and you are in for trouble. “quote a one bad couplet and he is ready for a fight. he once said exactly that. I laughed but didn’t dare do any such thing. Pretended to be brave and spoke airily about my likes and dislikes, good tastes and bad tastes. Once I called him a grumpy old man. He shot back “what do you think? I was a grumpy young man too ”
My first Muharram in Orlando was lonely and too sad. A very small
community – the first generation – trying to get some foothold in a newly adopted home. I would spend most afternoons reading Mir Anees. That same month he recited one of Mir Anees Marsiya “kis sher ki aamad he keh ran kaanp rha he” at one of his shia friend’s house and sent the audio to me to listen to it. He emailed ..
“ I am sending you an audio tape. A cheap man that I am, I am sending it by ordinary mail and if you have some good deeds in your namah-e- aamal, it will reach you safely.” He had recited the marsia with such feeling that it brought tears to my eyes. I emailed him and told him that. His answer arrived immediately “ I am glad I made you cry”
In all these years we had one fight. A real serious fight … but that is okay because now when I think, I feel that was not a fight, not even an argument. It was just drifting apart for a while. It was a test . An evaluation. It was like a tide that recedes – pulled back in the ocean only to come back in and stay close to the shore. Even the closest friendships have boundaries and need to be acknowledged and respected.
This is a friendship for keeps. I love him. I am not talking about some romantic love. Certainly not. He is a very dear friend and I love him the way you would love a dear friend who happens to be a man of letters, learned, well informed. A scholar, a critic. Straight forward with no hang ups of any kind.
Long live the friendships that pass the test of time !