Finally, I did go Bhopal yesterday. The feeling that I could actually meet dear Shams bhai proved stronger than my laziness.
I reached Bhopal station and he came to pick me. We went his home. We went out. Visited places – the lakes, Taj-ul-Masajid (Crown of the Mosques), the shaheen (Eagle) of Iqbal, curfew waali maata, various historical structures in Bhopal, many of them in ruins, few maintained. We rode on his bike on roads. We had samovar tea. We had lunch.
And we talked, talked, and talked –
of the city, it’s people, it’s structures and monuments, it’s literature, it’s language. We talked of Maharashtra, it’s politics, the social movements of Maharashtra, and the literary movements thereof. We talked of Mahatma Phule. We talked of Sikandar Jahaan Begum. We talked of Annabhau Sathe and Dr. Ambedkar. We talked about the Dhamma Chakra Pravartan festival at Deekahsbhoomi, Nagpur. We talked of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. We talked of Maratha Seva Sangh. We talked of Marathi ghazal. We talked of poetic meter. And then it was a time to finish the visit and come back!
Later I felt like I talked too much and made him listen all the time. I had gone there to listen to him. I noted a few times when he was talking about himself, I myself started talking. Perhaps, I was so excited.. Perhaps some other time..
I came back. Today, he posted a poem on his Facebook.. A poem dedicated to me.. “a friend comes from far away..” ek dost bahut door se aata hai.. Never believed someone would dedicate me a poem..
And I am overwhelmed.. almost in tears to read it!
Dedicated to Ganesh Dhamodkar
Shams ‘Adnan’ Alavi
[Arz-e-Baraar=Land of Berar in today’s Maharashtra