There are some things you cannot pack in during interviews. (Read the full version here.) The same happened with Ahmed Faraz. Little things: I called and said, “I am Farzana” as though he was supposed to know. He did not ask “Kaun?” He gave me the directions to where he was. When? “Ab…” Now. I liked the sense of nowness, the urgency.
He flattered, he cajoled, he looked amused as my tape-recorder went quiet and laughed aloud as I kept banging it on his table to get it started. There was curiosity. I began to see the blue of my kameez differently. It became not just an electric blue; it became something that he called luminescent.
He got several calls. All from women. I can tell these things. His voice dropped, not as in a secret, but a whisper. Then a group of government types came in. The interview was done and I thought I should leave. He said, “I thought you will join me for lunch.”
I had to miss it, but I know what he meant when he told me, “Sometimes new people too give you the feeling that you have met them before, which makes you wonder about reincarnation.”
Some people are just reborn again and again because they never leave. He was what I have called the conscience of Pakistan. He loved it enough to criticise it and question it. His words in his own voice keep challenging…the heavens can wait…