26 Apr






A friend of my friend says




It is quite cold and I am carrying a lump packet of hukka tobacco weighing 2 kg. I am going down in the countryside to a local shop to deliver it, collect money which was 1 rupee, get back to the shop in the main bazar where I was working as a chhota and hand over the money. On the way I notice a group of children playing in a clearing in the dim light of the fast fading day. I linger there for a while watching them play even though the packet is heavy for my little hands and needs to be got rid off as quickly as possible.I hardly ever have time to play. I also notice a man carrying a ladder on his shoulder with a tin can of kerosine in his hand. Every hundred yards or so, he will find a local council lantern fixed on a pole or to a wall. He will climb to it, open the glass pane of the lantern, replenish the lamp with a measured quantity of kerosine, light it, close the pane and climb down and walk to the next lamp. I pass him and then allow him to pass me so that I can watch him do his duty again. By the time I will return it is dark and I find my way in the dim light of these lamps. The pot holes and the boulders would be highlighted with their dim illumination and soft shadows. The narrow open drains (naalees) will have turned in to winding luminous lines.

The council had provided for the lighting of these lamps, but there was no arangement for turning them off. The amount of the kerosine poured in each lamp was calculated to last about three hours, after which it will go off autometically due to lack of fuel. After which time the lanes will plunge into total darkness. Every body was indoors by then and only the thieves and homeless dogs will rule the streets.The council had no intention to light the streets for such.

For this and similar odd jobs, done after school, I was paid a pittance of 2 paisas normally, an anna occasionally (like Sundays) and 4-6 annas on special days like Deewali when the business was brisk.

The year is 1957-8-9 and I was 11-12.

One day I was minding the shop alone.The owner would roultinely leave it all to me for the most hot 3-4 hours of the day in summer, went home for lunch, rested and reappeared on the shop in the cool of the evening. An old man with a long beard asked for something for which I had to go inside the shop. As I returned in the front of the shop I noticed he had already succeded in collecting a handful of hukka tobacco and was on his way. I caught him quickly within yards and got him to release the stolen tobacco back in to my little hands, to which he complied and did not resist. I related this incidence to the owner and he praised me.

BUT, now I think I shouild have let the old man go with it, because I now know what it means when you have the urge and you have no money. But how would I know then?

The owner was kind to me and never scolded me and always considered me as a little brother. The only loss I caused him ever was 8 annas and even then he just kept quite and remained stern for the evening. What happened was that one of his friends sent him a letter without stamps. The dakiya (postman) came to me when I was alone, in the afternoon.He said that the letter was “bairang” and I must pay him 8 annas as a pelnalty. I paid. I should have told him to deliver the letter when the owner was around. The letter it turned out contained a cartoon (April fool). His friend came in the evening and taunted him that he made him a fool. He was foolish not to realise that he played on my gullibilirty. To this day I have not forgiven him.


Posted by on April 26, 2011 in LIFE'S GREAT MOMENTS


8 responses to “LET THERE BE LIGHT

  1. Rafiullah Mian

    June 23, 2011 at 12:29 am

    This is an awesome starting of real life story. Really, I felt an amazing wind of past. The past; always attract me.
    A very beautiful writing to learn how today’s a successful man rises from a zero point.
    Please Keep it writing.

  2. shakilakhtar

    June 24, 2011 at 3:30 am

    اک طرف یاروں کی محفل میں ملیں تنہائیاں
    اک طرف برسوں تلک اغیار میں تنہا رہا

    آپ کا یہ شعر رفیع صاحب کچھ کچھ میرے حسب حال ہے
    ماضی کو بھلانا ممکن نہیں ہے
    کوشش کریں گے کہ کچھ لکیں
    آپ کی حوصلہ افزائی کا شکریا

  3. Sumaira

    August 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Abu…was this really your story?? incredible!!! and so wonderfully written!! please do write some more!!

    • shakilakhtar

      August 11, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      yes it is me, that is how life began and then it continues, by the grace of Allah(SBWT)

  4. Dr Yousuf H. Qureshi

    September 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    13th September 2011

    Dr Yousuf H. Qureshi, Associate Professor & Director Hospital & Health Care Managemnt Program at AUE, Dubai, UAE

    Great Shakil Sahib,

    Let me tell you a story of mine.

    It was September 1969 – Actually this month has two stories But I will tell one now and the other when I will be among friends in person!!

    Well i was a nineteen years old and have recently been forced to go back to Dow Medical College Karachi after completing three years Medical studies in Sydney. Father was posted in Sydney but as he was transferred to Bogota, Columbia, he did not want the scoundrel son to remain with “Rangeenian” of Sydney.

    Anyways I was, as usual with other teen agers hooked to smoking. Well Money was scarced my Dad used to send 150 Ruppees a month as stipend. So for the start of month it was “Gold Flake then dwindled to capstan, then to Scissors and then to K2 (Brand of cigarrettes. But we used to save ‘Totas” and when all the money dwindled we’d roll the tobaccos from these totas in cigarette Papers and smoke.

    !3th September 1969 the money, this month did not arrive, due to some reason or delayed deleberately (Wallah alam). I was sitting alone in the hostel room and making these cigarettes from totass, then suddenly , really, cursed myself (Laanat bhaiji Apnay AAp Pur) that what a habbit I have aquired as no one was giving loan as well.

    I decided NOT to smoke again. And since then I never smoked and during and after the college I am still a lobyist for “Anti Smoking” And really it gives me a headache IF some one is smoking in front of me and I had to inhale Passive Smoke.

    Other story is tragic BUT “Rangeen” background so later!!

    • shakilakhtar

      September 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm

      thanks Dr. sahib for your story. I am sure all of us have something to tell others, speacially to thos who care.

  5. Vijay Kumar Gupta

    November 13, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    मैं देर से आया, आपके मित्रों में। मगर आप अच्छा लिखतें हैं इसमें कोई शक़ नहीं। क्या आप को मा’लूम है अब्राहिम लिंकन भी बचपन में अपने पडौस की “मोदी” की दुकान में नौकरी करते थे। एक शाम जब उन्होंने अपना नकद का हिसाब मिलाया तो देखा एक /दो penny ज़्यादा हो रहीं हैं। देर तक सोचते रहे। फिर उन्हें याद आया की एक बुढ़िया को उन्होंने शायद कम पैसे लौटाए हैं। उस बुढ़िया का घर वे जानते थे, अत: वहाँ वे कड़कती ठंठ में गए, पैसे लौटाए, फिर वापस घर आए । रात हो चुकी थी। घरवालों ने जब देरी का सबब पूछा, तो उन्होंने बताया। “तुम्हें क्या पड़ी थी ? वो बुढ़िया तो काफी अमीर थी, उस को फ़र्क नहीं पड़ता।” लिंकन ने कहा, “फ़र्क मुझे पड रहा था। आख़िर हिसाब हिसाब है। न कम, न ज़्यादा। मुझे पैसा लौटने से जो शांति मिली, वो किसी और तरीके से नहीं मिलती।”
    आप और पृष्ठ लिखिए। सहजनपुर को सजीव कीजिये। …

    मैंने आपका “हिन्दी, हिंदुस्तानी, उर्दू” पढ़ा। कुछ समझा नहीं। आप व्यंग कर रहे थे या संजीदा थे ? ख़ैर मैं अपनी बात बताता हूँ। मेरे पिताजी ने अपनी पूरी पढ़ाई उर्दू में की थी। उन्हें हिन्दी मेरी माताजी ने सिखाई क्योंकि उनको उर्दू नहीं आती थी। मगर मैंने हिन्दी ही में पढ़ाई की। उर्दू का तब घर में चर्चा ही नहीं होता था। फिर पिताजी मुझे एक तरही मुशाइरे में ले गए । मैं छोटा ही था — तक़रीबन 13/14 साल का। मुझे अच्छा लगा। आज भी याद है, तरह थी इक़बाल साहब की : “ख़ुदी को कर बुलंद इतना कि हर तक़दीर से पहले / ख़ुदा बंदे से ख़ुद पूछे बता तेरी रज़ा क्या है।”
    पिताजी ने मेरा झुकाव देख कर मुझे उर्दू / शा’इरी से दूर रहने को कहा। चोरी-छिपे मैं हिन्दी में शा’इरी पढ़ता था। प्रकाश पंडित फिर एक दोस्त ने पकड़ा दिया गोयलिया का हाथ। उसके बा’द तो मैं पढ़ता ही गया, न समझता था फिर भी लगा रहा। और फिर मुझे मिले ‘नव्वाब’ देहलवी और ‘ताबिश’ देहलवी जो भाई थे और दोनों ही शा’इर थे। दोनों जनाब ‘आरज़ू’ लखनवी के शागिर्द थे। एक समय मैं बहादुर शाह ‘जफर’, ‘हसरत’ मोहनी, ‘दाग़’ और ‘अकबर’ इलाहाबादी के खूब शे’र सुना-सुना कर अपने दोस्तों में काफ़ी बदनाम हो गया था। मगर ये किस्से और कभी…

    अब केवल इसी में रमने का फैसला किया है। मेरी इच्छा है की मैं उर्दू को हिन्दी में सही तरह से लिखने का काम करूँ।
    मेरे उर्दू-दाँ दोस्त कहते हैं कि उर्दू को सही तरीके से हिन्दी में कभी नहीं लिखा जा सकता। मैं इससे सहमत नहीं हूँ, क्या आप हैं? क्या आप और मैं मिलके इस काम को अंजाम नहीं दे सकते? आप न्यू ज़ीलैंड में रहिए, मैं यहाँ-वहाँ रहूँगा, मगर इस internet के जरिये हम ये काम कर सकते हैं।

    • shakilakhtar

      November 14, 2015 at 10:44 am

      प्रिय गुप्ता जी नमस्ते
      आप का लेख पढ़ा और मालूम हुआ आप पूरे उर्दू के आशिक़ हैं और में यक़ीन दिलाता हूँ आप उर्दू को हिंदी में मुन्तक़िल करने की भरपूर सलाहियत रखते हैं. आप के लेख में मैं ने उर्दू के तमाम अल्फ़ाज़ को बिलकुल सही लिखा पाया. शीन क़ाफ़ से पूरी तहरीर और तक़रीर उर्दू के लिए बेहद ज़रूरी होती है. ज़रुरत को और ज़िन्दगी को जरूरत और जिंदगी कहने से सारा मज़ा किरकिरा होजाता है. उर्दू और हिंदी में यह एक बुनियादी फ़र्क़ है. आप आगे आगे चलिए और हम अपनी बिसात के मुताबिक़ आप का बहरपुर साथ देने को हाज़िर हैं। उर्दू हिंदी हिंदुस्तानी में हम ने यह कहने की कोशिश की है के यह दो अलग अलग जुबानें हैं लेकिन खूबसूरती यह है कि एक को जानने वाला दुसरे हो समझ लेता है.
      आखिर में लिंकन से हम को मिला कर आप ने कमाल किया है. कहाँ हम गंगू तेली और कहाँ वह राजा भोज.
      खुश रहिये.


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