An evening to remember

It has been quite some time since I last attended a function of sorts at the Pakistan Academy Of Letters, so when I received this sms of invitation from Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui, the PAL editor of English I had to go there for one doesn’t always come across a person of the stature of Zulfikar Ghose, the US based poet, novelist and essayist, whom the gathering was arranged for.

I was fortunate to arrive earlier at the Editor’s office, meet the honorable Ghose sahib and exchange some pleasantries with him. Thats where I got my hands literally on a copy of the biannual anthology of the Pakistani writers, ‘The Pakistani Literature’ where translations from a variety of Pakistani languages as well as original English works of the prominent Pakistani literati are published. I flipped through pages and was pleasantly surprised to see the publication of four of my translated poems from Pushto. I conveyd my gratitude to Mr. Khiraam who enhanced my delight by showing me a heavier anthology which included pieces of translations as well as a selection of the original Pakistani English literature from 1947 to 2010, that again included a translation of mine. I requested for the contributor’s copies which the Editor generously handed me with compliments.

The function itself was a wonderful experience. Ghose sahib recited poems from his latest collection called ’50 Poems’ published by the Oxford University Press. In between the recitals of his inspiring poetry Ghose sahib delighted us with interesting anecdotes pertaining mostly to his experiences in life. There was a question-answer session in the end which again was full of information as we came to know how writers born in the third world are assigned labels in the West and how it limits the scope of a writer.

The modertator Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui (left) with Zulfikar Ghose (right)

It was an evening to remember and one would like to be a part of such enlightening gatherings more often.

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Like A Season Goes By ..

The flowers on your

embroidered dopatta would

remain fresh,

(like the ones I would place

in your locks)

soaked in the midnight rains

of your eyes;

now, sighs, that formed

the thick rain-clouds

are no more to rise

as you trample the wilted

leaves of our blooming love

evoking thoughts

of an autumn that came too soon

P.S: I was taken by a pleasant surprise to see a publication after quite some time.

Pushto Hykos In Translation

Original In Pushto By Rahim Khan Majrooh

Translated By Syed Aadil Omer

1)

True; the threats of floods are there

But I’ll keep planting flowers by the river

For, who’s relinquished life in fright of death?

2)

Just to keep my feel alive

I wash my wounds with salty water,

Lest, who’d choose to inflict pain upon oneself!

3)

Peace grows not like the wild seeds of mustard

On each the barren land

It needs the moisture of Justice with a thorough sprinkle

4)

Why do you hurl stones at the mirror

Upon seeing the strands of gray in your locks

Time’s not like Rahim Khan, O’ my naΓ―ve dear!

2008-A Blogging Context

The year 2008 will soon be drifted in to the oblivion with the emergence of the dawn of 2009 less than 40 hours from now. Unlike the last quarter of 2006 and the whole of 2007, the departing year added a lot to my blogging experience, spanning well over two years, notwithstanding the number of hits I received.

Personal Meet Ups:

A Call By Raza Rumi: I had always been an admirer of the man for his scholarly writings and his blogging genius. And I was very fortunate to be called for a personal meeting by sir Raza when he was on a trip to the federal capital back in February I guess. It was a rainy evening when I met the inspirational figure who once topped the Central Superior Services Exam in Pakistan. It also was my first ever meeting with someone I knew from the virtual world and that was one awesome experience, I must say! We spoke on a number of issues pertaining mostly to my personal life where I got some valuable motivation. Sir Raza showed me a draft of a poem that he wrote on the sad demise of Benzair Bhutto and I in turn read him one of mine on the same topic theme. It was a meeting to be remembered for one doesn’t always get to meet someone one follows.

Dinner with Azure And Goonga: In April I guess (I wish I could come up with precise dates) I and Rashid a.k.a Goonga (A chowk fellow turned real world friend) were invited by Farhan a.k.a Azure (Another brilliant chowkie who shows up quite rarely these days) for a dinner at Bolan Saltish in Blue Area. Reaching the spot, I first sighted Goonga and took him to be the host who did the same when finally the real one appeared. It was another refreshing experience under a moonlit sky. We savoured chicken saji and enjoyed soft drinks at the literal expense of Azure’s pocket, besides discussing lots of things which didn’t include at all, chowk’s female members πŸ˜‰

Accompanying MZ: Murtaza’s visit to Pakistan in August proved to be very exciting for us friends as we got to walk around the isloo and visited places like Islamabad Monument and Lake View Park. He gelled quite well with goonga to make it a party, cracking hilarious jokes mostly concerning ‘us’ poor pathans who are always on the receiving side, you know 😦 .. They didn’t intend to harm me though πŸ™‚

Telephonic Exchanges:

This year I’ve had the pleasure of talking to some very intelligent blog friends like Asim Khan a.k.a kashkin and BMK (chowk fame) πŸ˜‰ In fact kashkin’s been kind enough to call me on a regular basis. I admire the man for his patriotic ambitions and the project he’s been part of, for a much needed social change in our ailing polity. To me his poetry stands out for the gems he produces every now and then, and especially the topics he chooses to pen.

Interaction With Other Inspiring Bloggers:

I came across a few other impressive bloggers whom I interacted on quite a regular basis this year. People like Asma and Nadia–my virtual sisters– πŸ™‚ , Ayesha (a very nice friend who’s managing a wonderful blog) , shobig (another chowk buddy whose criticism does wonders when took in a positive sense) πŸ˜‰ utp, Nayni, neilina, shivya, and all of those who I can’t remember write now courtesy an ill functioning brain caught in the office jumble, definitely helped me learn lots of valuable things.

Publications: I know the word is huge enough to describe a handful of my poems and translations published in 2008 online as well as in print, but the mere emergence of them in itself was intoxicating for a naive like mine. The pieces considered for online publications includes a translation of two poems of the legendary pushto poet, Rehman Baba in Pak Tea House and Pakistaniat . In print, one of my translations of a pushto poem by a prominent pushto poet Hasina Gul, published in the biannual edition of the ‘Pakistani Literature’ ;a biannual english journal of the Pakistan Academy Of Letters, besides being published quite regularly in ‘Us’, the youth magazine.

The gist of the above post of course is to remember the positives I took from the year 2008 which without my blogging activities wouldn’t have happened.

Thank you all lovely people out there! πŸ™‚

A very happy new year to all of you! May the year 2009 be a happier one for all the humanity in general and my dear Pakistan in particular! πŸ™‚

It surely encourages ..

Its always encouraging to see one’s name in print against something and that too in a leading youth magazine like Us.

This time around, it helped me boast a bit, in front of an eternally unimpressed family members who surprisingly encouraged me too to continue with the ‘non-sense’ I write on and off, as they said. 😦