I can hardly call myself a writer in the true sense of the word! A readaholic since my childhood, I would gleefully read anything and everything I could get my hands upon! And my Nana often used to say fondly (and sometimes a bit angrily when I paid him less attention than my book or magazine)… is ke hath mein to phatte hue kaghaz pe bhee kuch likha hua aajaayeiga to parhne beth jaayeigi!!!
This love for reading was inculcated in me by my parents.. I remember that before I and my siblings had even learnt to read, they subscribed to a number of children’s magazines with strict orders to everyone around that no one would read them out to us! In those days, it seemed as if we had a treasure to which we ourselves would have to find the keys! So, I, my twin sisters (who are only a year older than me), our eldest brother (one year their senior) and the youngest of us ,my (one and a half years) younger brother struggled together to read the books and magazines we found around us, and with each others help, we learnt to read at an early age.
We siblings did not have a considerable age gap, so we shared our hobbies and games together with no communication gaps. The love for books and reading developed with our growing ages and we spent a considerable parts of our pocket moneys in buying new books.
Time flew and we moved on to our new lives and three of us moved out from our childhood city Dhaka.Life had its new challenges, surprises, joys, fears and pains for me, but the love for the printed word survived all the adversities! It was only by chance that I stumbled upon the writer dormant in me. After the death of Daddy (to whom I was deeply attached) I wanted to write something about the great person he was and and I have to pay credit to some well wishers for their encouragement to start my career as a writer. My first article about my father appeared in Qaumi Gazzette, a magazine of the Shamsi community and Alhumdulillah was widely acclaimed. It was re printed in Shamsi Awaz, a magazine from Muradabad India. And from there, the journey began.
Although I was a bit nervous, and had no idea whether my articles would be approved, I started sending them to The Review (in-Page Magazine of Dawn). Confessions of a Grandmother was my first published article, slowly and steadily my writings kept on appearing in Dawn. Being a slow writer I take a lot of time on each piece, pouring out my heart on each sentence and re reading and writing many times before I am satisfied.
The big break through came when the National Book Foundation announced a writing competition and my son’s freind Faizan Usmani and my daughter-in-law Saira Owais( Both of them writers) urged me to participate). I agreed after a lot of convincing from them. And Alhumdulillah, my entry Follow the Light, which is based on true stories from the early history of Islam got the first prize! The next year I participated again and my second book Footsteps, which is compiled on the same pattern, bagged the 3rd prize.
Although I have been writing for more than four years now, but with no formal education about writing, I still feel that I have to learn a lot and still a far way to go!!
Hum chal to dye ae jazbaa e dil jaana hai kidhar maalum nahin
Aaghaaz e safar pe naazaan hain anjaam e safar maalum nahin!!!!