If Only Anwar Bhai Knew
That I grew up in awe and admiration of the world surrounding him... but then, did I .... ?
So when my friend Jawed Iqbal asked me to pen down a full length article on the great supremo of our television, stage, art and entertainment industry... the multi faceted and the iconic Anwar Maqsood...I felt excited and happy, yet extremely humbled and nerVOUS 7ITH OTHER DISTINGUISHED PERSONALITIES paying tribute and critiquing Anwar bhai’s larger than life personality, who was I to say much, that too with any linguistic finesse and do justice to it? So I started to procrastinate, not totally giving up, as deep down, it felt friendly, it felt good and an honour to do so .... yet nothing structured was coming up. I called up the editor to back out, then called up again to check the deadline. 2 days!!
All along, I’d been speaking to the Slogan staffer at length, very fondly reminiscing, touching on anecdotes, events and associations with Anwar Bhai’s family and life and she so innocently said, ‘But Gul, just please send what you’ve been telling me.’
So dear Anwar Bhai, here I am...yes Gul Jaffri...to whose earnestly absent-minded question during your session at last year’s KLF, in front of a packed audience, you so rightly said, “..Janay na janay gul hi na janay, bagh tou sara jana hai...”
It’s my turn to pose a question (rather a personal one) .... and feel proud of it...” Does Anwar Bhai know?”
That I grew up listening to his sister Zehra Nigah Apa recite her poetry in her lilting melodious voice late into the starry nights at many of those huge Indo-Pak mushairas.
That my early memory from college days takes me to the home of his brother, dashing charismatic Ahmad Maqsood Hamidi and his equally stylish and attractive wife Rukhsana, on many occasions, accompanying my uncle Kazmi, for their bridge sessions, dinNERS MUSIC SITTINGS 7HERE *UGINDER "AKHSHI (later to be my very dear friend) would be belting out some ghazals and geets in her powerful voice.
That a desire to possess a piece or two of exquisitely hand-crafted, richly steeped in tradition, line of clothing brought me to the doorsteps of the creative and inimitable Sughra Apa and her iconic bahu Banto Kazmi.
Fatima Surraya Bajia, eldest of this illustrious brood, a mother-like sister to Anwar bhai .... who impacted one and all on many counts than one... including the insignificant me. Like a mousy fan of Bajia as a person, of her literary, social and cultural work, I’d cherish giving an adaab and receiving a hug OR A PAT IN RETURN 7ITHOUT FAIL
That Zubaida Apa and I hit a social, subtle warmth and friendship...mutual admiration. She enjoyed my detailed interest in all her sartorial tastes and choices of adornment and she enjoyed my fun and laughter and party antics.
That Amra, his cousin sister and I worked together in curriculum development and struck a cordial friendship.
That Strings was, is and will remain the favourite Pakistani band for me and my daughters.
That Uzma Munir, his niece, is a very close friend from Singapore, that his bahu Ayesha’s phuppi (aunt) Khurshid is a dear friend from Riyadh... the list goes on and ON 7HAT AN ILLUSTRIOUS FAMILY !NWAR Masood has!
Last but not least, that his extremely talented, witty, smart, well-dressed, darling Immo who is my darling too.
Had he known ..... both Azhar, my husband, and I would have continued to enjoy the scrumptious food, the charming hospitality and the supremely brilliant collection of music that we so cherished.
Anwar Bhai has an amazingly varied and rich music treasury... to sit and listen with him as he unfolds the cadences and nuances of classical ragas, geets, ghazals with understanding, is an experience unto itself. One would’ve loved to have more of it.
I’ve harped long enough on my walk, memories and journey into the world of those around Anwar Bhai, not knowing their exact proximity to him... having joined face to face the teeming hordes of admirers of the entertainment giant Anwar Maqsood .... just like the ‘piece de resistance’ is how he walked .... or rather... drove himself into our life, our home and our hearts. Yes, I mean it literally. He drove the bridegroom Zia Mohyeddin’s car as driver-designate to pick the pretty, young charming bride, my youngest sis Azra, as her family lined up to welcome him. It was as if Anwar Bhai was somehow part of the romantic play, bringing in the comic relief in his inimitable, style... And as they say... they lived happily ever after.
May you, Anwar Bhai, continue writing the best satire/scripts with your uniquely pungent, sharp, political insights and observations and continue your indulgence in art .... for a long, long time to come.