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|by Thara D'Souza|
When the great grandfather of Indian writings penned down his thoughts, it became a "must read" for his fans. Along with Humra Quraishi this most transparent writer paints his bygone days in a witty and conversational manner. All topics that are close to his heart have found a place in this candid rendering.
For a first time reader the book may not explicate the real mettle of this literary genius. They should read his other works, Company of Women, Train to Pakistan, Unforgettable Women, Truth, Love & A Little Malice to understand more about this writer.
I could finish this book in 4 hours, in fact all his books I have read are in lighter vein. At 95, he is contemplating death which he wants to come "swiftly". "You ask me about the signs of a man of faith? When death comes to him, he has a smile on his lips." Again he stresses on death when he says "Urdu verse is highly romantic and there’s a morbid obsession with the passage of time - the decline of youth, old age and ultimately death".
Being a very old man “he is still young and is entitled to secrets, fantasies, scotch, and good company." He gives more importance to sex and dismisses romantic interludes as sheer waste of energy. He talks about his first love, about love and marriages, his ups and downs, his fears and weaknesses. He belongs to those few "patriots" who witnessed the severity and pains of partition.
KS gives a short glimpse of the Indian history from British rule till partition. Nehru till Rahul Gandhi, Advani's rath yatra till terror and 26/11. He declares that he supported the "necessary evil" emergency, but stayed away from Indira Gandhi who was "stern, severe, cold and insecure".
He believes that "India seems to be in good hands. The country is safe with this trio”. For him Rajiv Gandhi was just a boy scout and Rahul "talented matured with right attitude".
For him writing is a “solitary profession" and "only silence produce energy". He still writes weekly columns and book reviews right from morning till “my sundowner”. He wants to be remembered as someone who made people smile... not someone who " sells mirror in the city of blind".
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