What can I say about you?

A father figure to me


From the day, I met you!

A friend to young and old alike,

You treated every one with equal affection

To be in your company, was a delight!

To bask in your sunny personality

Young people flocked around you,

Like bees to honey, day & night!


To be with you, was to feel good

About one self,

You had that quality,

To make one happy about himself,

To make one realize his potential

To appreciate, good qualities one had,

Or even if one did not have,

You found something nice in him or her…


You were a powerhouse

Of knowledge and wisdom,

Whenever, I needed to know something,

I just had to come to you,

And you had the answer…

Well read, well informed,

With a philosophy your own,


You were source of inspiration

For young and old!


You wrote those wonderful plays

Like, “Ghalib Kaun Hai”

And “Ghalib kay Udain gay Purze”

To spread the folk and Urdu culture

Was one of your ways…

Humble and down to earth,

You never made much of your achievements

Which were so many, so to say…


You had a wonderful library,

With every book well thumbed in it,

One could find a Rumi, a Shirazi

Or Shahname of Firdausi,

Dastan-e-Amir Hamza, or


Adorning your shelves,

Along with Brecht and Neruda,

Russell would smile his, characteristic smile,

Tagore would look pensively,

Gibran and Khayyam

Would pour out their wisdom,


From your library…

I would sit for hours,

Browsing through your books,

While you would regale me with stories

About each one in detail,

A phenomenal memory and recall,

You knew them all…


I can still feel your warm hug,

The warmth of your personality,

The quiet wisdom and confidence,


The stories you told me,

Of the Commune, Banney Bhai,

Shaukat & Kaifi Azmi,

Sultana & Sardar Jafri!


It was a delight to just sit and listen to your stories…

I will miss you on many a morning,

On quiet afternoons,

When I would drop in on you

And for hours chat and converse with you

On any subject under the sun,

On any theme or view…


It’s rare to find such giving souls,

Such companions of joy,

Such knowledge, such enchantment,

A rarity to find…

I will always cherish your memory,

Your wisdom, your living mind…


Author & copyright: Zoya Zaidi (In Memory of ‘Bawa’, Mehdi Sahab; 3.1.2015),


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