Re-visited some of the old diaries this morning. Nothing has positively changed for the people of this country. Went to a local café to grab some latte, but abandoned the plan. It was boring out there too. Got the Express Tribune and Herald from a news agent stall. The paper reads ' PTI and JI offices in Karachi attacked by unidentified men'. I would never understand the term ' unidentified men'- Are they ghosts that can never be identified, but then ghosts are easily identified. Politics of fear at its best!
Phoned home- talked to Mahroo. She shared that she is learning fast and will soon become a doctor. Asked Asma if she too would like to become a doctor. She says no- ' I want to become a bride in beautiful long red clothes'. Asma asked me to come back soon to teach Zarghuna how to take steps as she is a slow learner. Last week, she would take a step, then would stop and sit, if wanted to say,' stop man, I am only 11 months baby child'. She is a lovely niece. But then all are.
Mahroo said that uncle Khaab had cotton in his nose after nasal operation. 'He looked so ugly' she giggled- 'but looks nice now'. Asma complained about the sandals I bought her from Karachi. It is apparently too large for her size.
Read some of Aamer Hussein’s Urdu short stories- what a writer. What a shame, I won’t attend his sessions at Islamabad Literature Festival at the end of April and beginning of May. Aamer shares that Ismat Chughtai and Manto were only friends and not lovers- what if they were? I read Manto’s views about a possible marriage with Ismat in a book called ‘ Ismat Chughtai Kai behtareen Afsaanay’. I translate here what he says about Ismat.
….. what if I had been married with Ismat and imagine our conversation about Qazi at the time of our Nikah?
‘ Ismat- look at the Qazi’s forehead- as flat as a slate’
‘What did you say’?
‘Ismat, what’s wrong with your ears?’
‘What’s wrong with your voice- I can hardly hear you’
‘Listen, I was saying that Qazi’s forehead resembles a slate’
The argument further escalates at Nikah.
‘ Qazi’s forehead is lovely- yours is slate’
‘You are annoying me Ismat’
‘No – you are annoying me’
‘I’m saying- you are annoying me’
‘I’m saying- you are annoying me’
‘You have to admit, you are making me angry’
‘wow man, you have already started acting like a husband?’
‘Qazi sahib, listen, I don’t want to marry this woman. If your daughter’s forehead resembles yours, then I want to marry your daughter’.
‘Qazi sahib, I don’t want to marry this wretch, either! If you haven’t married the fourth, marry me. I like your forehead’.
But Ismat was reportedly in love with Majaz- an excellent, alcoholic – romantic Urdu language poet who died young. Manto had married Safia while Ismat married Shahid Lateef – Indian film producer and script writer.
A friend from London asks- if her boyfriend would like Mont Blanc as his birthday present. Told her if he likes nice light woody, fresh and warm fragrance with a touch of coffee then he may like it, but then longevity is an issue with Mont Blanc on some skins. She writes back, ' you should be a perfume seller all your life'.
Got an e-mail from my publisher, reassuring me that Paris Hilton vs The Poor Poet and other poems will be published soon. I don't know how soon as I am anxiously waiting for a while now- like the birth of first baby in a family. But then, I never had this experience either. I need to ask an expectant mother or a father to crisply describe the feeling to me. Off to bed now- tomorrow is busy day. I don’t like Mondays. Wish we could skip Mondays but then I was born on Monday too. Could I've ever had skipped that too?
Karachi, Apil 21, 2013