Friday, July 9, 2010

Golden Era !

Literary imagination is an aesthetic object offered by a writer to a lover of books.
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There were times when I used to envy my brothers because they can go outside late night almost midnight to get the books from the street corner libraries.
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Sometimes, when I blackmail them by crying and sobbing they took me too.
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It was almost 3 X 4 space under some apartments’s step.
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And it consists usually Ibn-e-Safi’s books.
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The librarian was a young man of 21 years…may be.
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And he was famous of his being so stick on returning the books. His name was Sagheer Bhai.
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The Library got some rules:
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1: You cant take more than three books at a time.
2: If it is a new book of Ibn-e-Safi , you cant keep it more than two days with you.
3: Only on returning the books you already have, can take the new books.
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If you violet any of the above rules, librarian has the rights to cancel your membership.
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My brother got the membership of the library by paying only 25 rupees.
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That library served as a meeting point too.
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After the long hectic day Karachi-est meet there and talked about so many things from politics to games…from cinema to religion.
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The library was so small that no one can stand in it.
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Librarian has the list hanged out the door and everyone used to search his required books and then order it to Librarian.
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He used to go inside and take out the books for the readers.
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It has few benches and pews outside on which people used to sit and entertain themselves with the hot discussions of that time.
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And then it became a fashion to young boys to establish a library soon after they are old enough to manage it.
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“I tried to establish one too….” Shafique Sahib said with twinkle in his eyes.
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I have noticed so many times that whenever people talked about their childhood…they got twinkle in their eyes.
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“ Well….soon after when I collected 100 books, I didn’t wait and asked my father to let me open my own library.” He goes on with smile on his face.
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“Then I clean the garage and place my 100 books there but as I was only 9 years old I had no idea of how to lend books and didn’t asked for any deposits to safe my books from stealing or “never returning” lead to once given never returned scenario.
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And soon in almost three to four days my all books were gone with no idea where and who had took them.
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This gives my father opportunity to close down my library”.
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hmmm….I am sorry to hear that Shafique Sahib…you have my deepest sympathies.
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My beloved husband told me that he followed one of his uncle one day, as he was fond of him and found him always missing from home in evenings.
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One day when he went to meet his uncle and didn’t found him asked about him and was told that he can find his uncle at Nagan Chourangi on such store.
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When he reached there he learned that his uncle owns the small library and was busy in reading.
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His uncle refused to meet my beloved husband as it was his reading time and asked him to come some other time.
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“Uncle has such a small libaray but I saw people coming and taking books from him.”
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The fashion…or the custom or the pattern of having these small libraries starts when Ibn-e-Safi has started writing for young generations.
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His books were so famous and so very acceptable to the common mass of the Pakistan that the craving to have his books read led so many people to open up such libraries.
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I can only imagine that golden era when all the city were full of such small libraries and young
generation was so into the reading habit.
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The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency—the belief that the here and now is all there is.

3 comments:

  1. I once met a person who was an avid reader and had read thousands of books, each book purchased from his own pocket but he did not have a single book with him. He used to read and pass on to some known serious reader after putting his name and date of his passing the book, with the advise that the recipient after reading it has to do the same. So this cycle expended and created a readers community.

    I just simply loved the innocent little story of Shafique Sahib and recognized the twinkle of his eyes. Thinking thanks for sharing this exceptional narrative.

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  2. Dar Sahib

    Thank you so much for coming. The person who started the chain must be very prophetic in nature.

    It was good to learn about him. We should elaborate these type of personalities and should give them exposure so that develop the reading habit in young generation.

    I am honored that you came. Regards.

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