This book tells a real love story between a renowned author and an artist. Amrita Pritam, well-known Punjabi poet, novelist and essayist and Imroz, her long time companion and artist shared a relationship of words and colours, thoughts, words and poems.
This book provides an intimate glimpse of the extraordinary relationship that blossomed for more than 45 years. When Amrita met Imroz, a struggling artist, she was a mother of two. Much older to Imroz, she longed to get out of her loveless marriage. The two, Amrita and Imroz loved each other and withstood all opposition with courage and conviction. Imroz devoted all his life to her. The tradition of marriage did not fascinate them. In Amrita he found his love, disillusioned as she was with her marriage. He did not have children because Amrita was already a mother of two and her children became ‘ours’, he claims with the pride of a father. He believes that when you love somebody, you just accept the person in totality. According to him, “A person in love never says why. A lover accepts everything about the beloved unconditionally.”
The letters reflect the love that these two ordinary mortals shared. Together they lived in their world where Amrita’s career as a writer blossomed and she became a legend in Punjabi literature, while Imroz preferred to remain behind her like a shadow but never let her feel alone. Before coming to live together, they exchanged love letters, and as specimens, a few are given below.
In one of the letters that Imroz wrote on January 27, 1961 to Amrita, he says:
“I had a home once, but I lost it. Only a feeling lingers when my being gets seized with our thoughts. We had woven many dreams together and we were confident that we shall fulfil them all.
“Dreams are shattered…but…but self-belief lingers.
“Are we just dreamers? Can’t we pick up threads of reality? No, I don’t agree. If I can dream, I can visualsie reality as well. I am not a dream. I am a reality, a solid and an inevitable reality and so are you…the destiny of all realities. Look, how annoyed I am at my incomplete self. Look, how annoyance becomes a challenge for a man and then everything in him awakens.
“Time always waits…
“We shall definitely meet…”
On her visit to a museum, Amrita Pritam writes:
“I am looking at some pictures of Gorky in a museum. In his lifetime, Gorky had earned a special friendship and respect from Lenin. Here is a picture of his childhood home as well – a place that is associated with his grandfather’s love, abject poverty, beatings and torture. There are several traces of the mishaps and misfortunes that he went through in this period. Here is a picture of the first table on which he wrote his first story, the newspaper that published his story for the first time.
“The picture of the Czar’s men in front of his house, standing guard in 1902, the wallet with a bullet-hole that saved his life when in 1903, the Czar’s men fired at him.
“The picture of that bloody Sunday – 9th of January 1905 when the Czar ordered fire on the workers protesting peacefully – an act that filled Gorky with so much pain that he wrote an article about the agony and misery of the working class. When this article was published, Gorky was put behind bars by the Czar.
“Gorky – prisoner No. 689-9 – and I was in front of the picture of that iron bed from where Gorky wrote such rich literature.
“Only a nation of passionate lovers can make such museums and dedicate them exclusively to writers.”
This book has many letters of love and longing, giving an insight into the personalities of two highly creative minds. The reader gets a close glimpse of the unusual relationship between the renowned Punjabi writer and poet and her artist companion.
While charting their different careers in different cities, Amrita in Delhi and Imroz in Mumbai, they discussed each day’s happening with each other, even if it took days for the other to receive the letter from one. These creative minds yearned for satisfaction, for love and recognition. These letters offer a peak into their minds against the backdrop of an emotional imagery – a mix of visual, situational and emotional content to the letters.
Sadly Amrita is no longer alive, but for Imroz she is still present. He asks, “How can Amrita be dead, when I am alive? We shared and continue to share many beautiful moments. Amrita is still alive in my being.”
(Hind Pocket Books Pvt Ltd, J-40, Jorbagh Lane, New Delhi-110 003.)