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Friday, October 11, 2013

Kavish and Saher: An evening to remember

My wife said that I did not introduce Kavish or Saher properly. In fact, according to her, I said absolutely nothing at T2F's session with them.

This should have been the intro that I missed that day —



It's been years since I tried to trace Kavish.
I put his name on Facebook.
And on Twitter.
I asked if anyone could direct me to him.

No response.


One day I thought I'd ask Azhar Abbas Hashmi who is married to a close cousin of mine and has a lot to do with Urdu Poetry. He runs the Shahré Karachi Müshaaerah each year.

Azhar said Kavish was alive and I should ask said Yawar Mehdi for his number.
I phoned Yawar Sahab and he said I should get in touch with his daughter, Saher, who is also a poet.
He gave me her cell phone number.


Saher was a quite mischievous child, I recall.
I remember her sitting on a dias with the poets when Kavish had arranged a müshaaerah … with me being the Sadar.

Heh heh!

Only Kavish would have done something like this, especially when there was Asghar (Gorakhpuri) Bhai and many others who would obviously recite in the mahfil.
He decided to do this only because of his memories of Chittagong where my ships always had a müshaaerah.
(Apart from local poets, we'd occasionally have shaaers come from Dacca, too, as some of you may have heard in the CDs that I place occasionally at T2F.)

In East Pakistan one could never have a müshaaerah without Kavish.
He was loved by everyone.
Including the poets!

Pity nobody called him to Karachi in a large müshaaerah.

Kavish is a wonderful man and was a regular visitor at my house in Karachi when he had migrated from East Pakistan much after it became Bangladesh.
He ran small mahfils in the camp in Bangladesh, hoping that it would get people who loved Urdu to come together every now and then.
They worked.

But the trip to Pakistan never really made it for him.

اك موجِ صدا پہ كان دھر كے
ہم گھاٹ كہ رہ گٴے نہ گھر كے
 كاوش عمر

He loved writing and teaching.
That was all he wanted to do.
He tried small jobs … but nothing really serious.

One day, in 1980, he stopped coming to our house.

I asked Nasir Zaidi and Kazim Abdi (Kajju), both from Chittagong, who had migrated to Karachi.
Nasir lived in a house next to me and was a regular part of our group comprising Asghar Bhai, Nasir Jehan, and Kajju. He was part of the many mini-müshaaerahs at my house.
Both said they had no idea why he wasn't coming.
They said they hadn't seen him, either.

Ummi (my mother), until her death, always asked why Kavish had stopped coming.


I phoned up Saher and asked about Kavish.
Told her I had been Kavish's friend of almost half a century.
I got her address and a day that he'd be in her house … and drove up with Nuzhat to meet him.

As always, he was his wonderful self.
Except that he'd had a heart attack.
He felt old and weak, had a much lower voice.
He is just a year older than me and I have had a heart attack, too, but it affected him more badly.

He had no idea why he stopped coming to our house.
He just couldn't remember.
We talked of the old days and I discovered that he had met Nasir several times until Nasir passed away a few years ago.

Hmmm …

Kavish years ago

Kavish was always himself.
Not self-centred. Just himself.
Would never ask anyone for money or help.

So is Saher, it seems to me.
As the head of her generation she has looked after all of them well.
Her husband died and she has brought up her children in wonderful ways.
She works hard.
And she is a great poet.
Her nazms are amazing.
And her ghazals have beautiful ashaar.
Here is one.

عاشقی كؤے ملامت سے گزر جاتی ہے
دنگ رہ جاتے ہیں بہتان لگانے والے
سحر علی

Saher on her book cover


We arranged for Kavish and Saher to come to T2F and we could listen to the father and the daughter recite their poems.

Kavish at T2F

It was a pity to see Kavish reading softly from the papers that he had brought with him.
He used to remember all his poems and recite them from memory.

Saher at T2F

Saher also runs a quarterly magazine called Nazmé Nao


I am sorry if you were there and wondered who they were … and what were they to me. The above are the things I should have said when I was asked to open the program.

Sorry, Nuz.
I was too overwhelmed at seeing and hearing Kavish again!


A CD of that evening will be available soon. In the meanwhile you can buy another CD that has Kavish (from my ship days) and Naseer Turabi (from my home müshaaerahs) at T2F.


Kavish's poems: Sang-o-Saman
Saher's poems: Tümharay Gham Kay Maosam Mayñ
Saher publishes 4 magazines a year: Nazmé Nau

All of these will be available in T2F's bookshop in a few days!

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