Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

Saw a familiar name on FB
A train of beautiful memories followed
Instantly taking me back
Three decades and a half
Place : Our house in Kasmir Univ Campus
Year: Some time in mid seventies
Me: Barely nine or ten
Clad in a red polka dot frock.

I cleary remember
A lanky handsome lad
Walks in with my dad
Thin, tall ,black framed glasses
Barely in his mid twenties
Who is he? I wonder
Dad calls my mon to tell
“He is a distant kin,
A dear friend’s son”
Him: appointed lecturer in Kasmir
Department of English
“He will live in our guestroom”
My dad announces
He settles down.

I clearly remember
A kind of a shy, reserved
Man of few words to begin with
As the days pass by,
The ice really breaks
He becomes the best pal
Of my twin brothers
Barely seven or eight
They would always be found
Sitting and listening to stories
In his room and laughing
Enjoying the mimicry he did
Of various clowns and characters

I clearly remember
A lanky young man
So sober and loving
To my mom
He called her ‘chachijan’
Shared his pain and secrets with her
Stood by her in the kitchen
Loved the ‘aaloo gosht’ she made.

I clearly remember
That tall young man
So quiet and thoughtful
So respectful to my dad
Talked with him for hours
In from of the bukhari
About the current politics,
Of Kasmir university gossip,
Of English literature
Of Urdu poetry
The poetry which we kids
Were told he had learnt
By heart as a little kid.

I clearly remember
That lanky young lad
Know not who he was
To the outside world
What was his job
What was his passion
All I knew that he was
Our Safder Bhai
Who told us wonderful stories
In that cosy outhouse
In grey winter evenings
In a beautiful place
We call Kashmir
Yes he was our Safder bhai
Who the rest know as
Late Safder Hashmi.
By Ilmana Fasih
7 Jan 2011

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