Baarish, Samawar, Khushbu.
It was the title of a regular page in an Urdu weekly back in the days. You may call it a column but it was not like other columns. The author never had to force-write anything. He always had a lot to tell. From the jungles of Bengal to the villages of Sri Lanka, from the towns of Burma to the mountains of Kashmir, from the streets of Lahore to the gardens of Amritsar, he had been everywhere! And he used to write in great detail, and with great charm, about the people he had met and the places he had been to. He remembered the aroma of the tea, the freshness of the air, the colors of the flowers, and the dance of the leaves. It was all so surreal. He was a romantic and his prose was beautiful.
His name was A. Hameed. After the partition, he had to write a lot of popular fiction to earn a living. 250 books in total. Maybe that’s why some people don’t consider him a serious writer but the quality of his travel writings was absolutely marvelous. I wish I could write more about his writings but I was just a kid back then, I don’t recall much. Now that I have seen the beauty that is Sri Lanka, I want to read him again. Will share.
Picture courtesy, Rashid Ashraf