I had a very memorable trip to Pindi some years ago. The train trip itself became a good memory. I killed the ephemeral moments clicking pictures instead of slumber. The unkind weather helped in discovering the bogey’s door to take pictures because it was airy enough with a handsome view. The train sped its way through Gujjar Khan (a city south of Rawal Pindi) It was after crossing the Salt Range, when I saw an old road running along the train tracks which in old times used to connect Lahore and Rawalpindi, probably during the British Raj. Hence a century old gem. Still some village folks were using it as a mean of transport but hardly any modern vehicle. Time had worn most of that road after decades and centuries. New roads have sprung up making that path almost forgotten to the modern dwellers. Hidden in bushes and away from the eyes, it was hardly possible to see it from the road side. At places, it was so narrow that two cars cannot cross it simultaneously.My camera was clicking pictures at a steady rate. At one moment it clicked an old bridge which I didn’t know then. I discovered that after weeks when flicking through the pool. That picture, attached here, was a thought provoking push, a strong one. I wondered how many lovers, teachers, mothers, children, friends, enemies had crossed that old and forgotten bridge. Very literally, the paths of many lives would have crossed at that bridge. But no one would remember it as we forget even the paths we take ourselves in life. Don’t we?
Urdu always fascinated me, especially poetry. The beauty of poetry and the ebb and flow in it as a medium are no less than magic. As a child, I had read some Amr Ayyar series of books. The system of education system which I followed had Urdu compulsory. Many disliked it being a must but for me I always loved it. Once in an annual exam, I scored least marks in Urdu which made a teacher say that Aamir scores 99 in Chemistry, Physics and even Biology but 50 in Urdu especially when he loves Urdu is beyond logic. That didn’t lessen my interest for it. Language is as dynamic as life itself. The type of Urdu we speak everyday is evolving. I don’t apprehend or like the idea of Roman Urdu. No. Just no. It is a murder of art. Being a student of life still, I am learning with everyday including Urdu. But people deliberately making mistakes of grammar and expressions just to look more cool and filmy like those dirty BHAI LOG from the crappy-wood cinema industry is an injustice people keep doing to Urdu. The normal man’s Urdu is no longer just normal. When I planned to write a book, I wanted to write at least half of it in Urdu. It’s just the usage. If you won’t use a thing, that will simply go out of fashion first and then forgotten. But still there are Urdu lovers who are doing for the good of the language. I remember that day very vividly when I sneaked out of school just to buy a poetry book and come back to school unnoticed and my heart was beating violently when the size of Shehar-e-Sukhan Aarasta Hai was hard to hide. I didn’t expect that at all. And that was a joy I enjoy even today. Even that day is so fresh in my mind when I was asked to just go to any bookshop immediately and get a novel. I obediently did so. It took me two days to finish it. I liked the thrill of the story and the medium in which it existed. I’ve not read that after the initial reading yet it is a favorite.