Good Read

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Im­rana Maq­sood writes in much the same way as she speaks. It’s in­for­mal and id­iomatic. Take her first book which she co-au­thored with her sis­ter Amra Alam Karachi Halwa, Ba­dayun ke Pede. It was un­put­down­able. Her sev­eral books for chil­dren were in­for­ma­tive and penned in a way that her read­ers did not find them bor­ing. I can­not com­ment on her two cook­ery books be­cause no one cooked these recipes for me and, as they say, eat­ing is be­liev­ing. Hence si­lence is golden. Most re­cently she came out with Uljhe Suljhe An­war, which is all about her hubby dear.

She says that the age-old re­la­tion­ship be­tween hus­band and wife (theirs is 49 years old) is one in which you be­gin to take each other for granted, like the roof and the walls of your house. It is only when the roof caves in or a wall gets dam­aged com­pletely that you re­al­ize its im­por­tance. This re­viewer or, for that mat­ter, no one can con­vey the flavour of the state­ment by trans­lat­ing it. But you can’t chal­lenge it.

If some­one doesn’t like the book, he or she can hold me, yes me, by my throat be­cause it was I who ca­joled Im­rana to write about her hus­band and in­tro­duced her to Hoori, the lady who runs Mak­tabayeDa­nial. I tempted Im­rana by say­ing that she would be in good com­pany be­cause the pub­lish­ing house has au­thors and po­ets of the cal­i­bre of Sa­j­jad Za­heer, Sibte Hasan, Mush­taq Yousufi, Ali Sar­dar Jafri, Kaifi Azmi, Javed Akhtar and Gulzar on its list. She agreed. The book be­came a good seller.

It’s a good read but what also makes it a good buy is the in­clu­sion of An­war Maq­sood’s spicy col­umns, his ‘in­ter­view’ with Mir Taqi Mir and the en­tire text of ar­guably his finest long play Daur-e-Junoon, not to for­get the crisp fore­word by Haseena Moin, who is sup­posed to write her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. Ev­ery time you phone her she will say, yes I have writ­ten the first two chap­ters. Let me com­plete this se­rial and I shall get down to write the re­main­ing chap­ters. A sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian like me can only hope against hope.

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