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Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.

YE AAPNE KYA KAR DIYA IRSHAD KAMIL SAAB? – Ali Peter John

12

I was meeting my young friend Kaviraa Arjun, feverishly bang on his smartphone (I still have to know what things like smartphones are, besides many other smart things in life) to bring alive one of my pieces which put me alive each day, when I saw a man with who I was sure must have been his wife – Ali Peter John

I looked closer and the man came closer to me and in a fraction of a moment I realised that the man was Dr.Irshad Kamil who I recognise and respect as one of the foremost poets of the Urdu language today who is a bright light for the future.

I kept looking at him because he didn’t look like the Irshad I had seen before the pandemic struck and paralysed all major human activities and especially all creative work.

How could there be an atmosphere of creativity when there was a fear of death and destruction all around?

I finally had to come to the conclusion that the man standing next to me was the poet Irshad Kamil who I am privileged to know as a friend ever since he has made a big splash in the world of Urdu and Hindi literature and Hindi Films.

I have never seen a poet with ripping muscles which were a sign of the best of health which came out of writing poetry with every muscle, vein, tissue and blood cell of the body.

I knew and had lived with poets and writers who torment themselves to believe that it is their karma to live in poverty or at least to live like shoved human beings who have been victims of a society that has been cruel to them, a fact which is mostly a creation of their own fertile imagination.

They are victims created by their own whims and fancies and circumstances they love to create for themselves.

Wearing loose and sometimes patched and turned pyjamas and kurtas and unwashed jackets (which make them look like dabba batli valas as my peon Fernandes in my office used to call some other best poets who came with me in office), they wore patterned chappals, they never had hair cuts as if it was a crime to get their hair cut and they made every attempt to look as dirty as possible.

This were the general image of a poet which even little boys made fun of in the lanes and gullies of the places these poets lived in.

Why these poets hated their existence so much was something no one could find and easy answer to…

I was lucky to see Irshad in cafe with his beautiful wife Tasweer (what a couple they make and what a dazzling kind of life they spread till then almost hell – life atmosphere and a heaven of noise which could with an overdose kill the mostly young people revelling I’m useless and meaningless banter till then).

Irshad and Tasweer were lost in a world of their own as long as they were there and they added dignity to the cafe and the tea they had and then quietly left the cafe but not before blessing me with their smiles, the kind of smiles I have not experienced in a very long time.

I had lost hope of seeing and loving human beings till that evening, but there should have been some jaadoo or some madness in those 2 souls to bring the joy of life back into my life.

Thank you Irshad and thank you Tasweer, I bless you now for being a blessing on this generation which desperately needs your blessings if it has to live a little longer meaningfully because living meaninglessly is growing into a way of life that can only kill life.

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