Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sabeen & Faiz

Dearest Sab, you always loved Faiz Sahab and read his Nuskha Haé Vafaa (نسخہ ہاےٴ وفا) often. We discussed his life and his politics. And you made (with me and the ETeam, which included Nuzhat's research and Jehan Ara's brilliant marketing) the wonderful Faiz CD-ROM, Aaj Kay Naam (آج کے نام) where every bit of your work was not just delightful and amazing but also remarkably fabulous.

Aaj Kay Naam
We had to invent things: No MP3 was available then; no Videos that could play full-screen at that time and were really stamp-sized. But our thanks to everyone working all night and more, we did all that. I can't forget that you had the Mac Cursor changed into a Pen Nib on that CD-ROM (I was stumped by your finding a way to do that!) …

The remarkable programming on Authorware … and its painful translation into a Windows-version was all done by you, despite your hatred for the Windows version. We all hated it, anyway. I remember that you'd written somewhere that you were 'forced' to do that because you were the youngest member in our strong pro-Apple team. Hahaha. But you did it!

The Brilliant Authorware - No Longer Available
In all of our efforts to have the CD-ROM out on time you worked very very hard. Programming the software, designing the screens, putting together my videos, and constantly talking to Muneera for the lovely booklet she produced, with Faiz's Nikaah-Naamah on the cover. Glad you brought that from Salima's house. And his only English Poem. And his audio-tape for his grand-children. Wow!!!

Our Golden Booklet
Despite everyone saying that you should go and see your grandfather - a person who loved you and someone you loved so much - since he was in hospital; but you continued working way into the night. Everyday. Until the CD was almost done.

You did see him in the last couple of days, but we lost him on Eed … and much before the CD-ROM could be launched.


There were many poems of Faiz that you read again and again. One was Raqeeb Say … a poem of the kind that I have never found the equivalent of in English or Urdu. It was sung so beautifully by Noor Jehan.

The other was a ghazal that we were crazy about and always asked Arshad Mahmud to sing it for us, whenever we met. It was, for us, a Karachi-ite ghazal to the core (although he wrote it in Lahore).

From Dasté Tahé Sang
When Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan visited our house (along with their delightful accompanists, Sudhir Nayak and Murad Ali), Arshad sang a couple of shayrs again for them.


T2F lives and will live on. Today I have taken over as its Executive Director and will continue for a while until another younger person - we hope to find one sooner (not later) - takes this over from me and stays on, following your legacy and improving and adding to its value.

Thank you, not just from me but everyone in Pakistan, for having conceived this place. We all so wish you were here.


Sabeen's Grave Today
I am reminded often of what LBJ said, when he took over as President of USA after JFK's assassination: "All I have I would have given gladly not to be standing here today."

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