DESPITE passing through the highs and lows of life, the author, wife of the famous poet-lyricist Kaifi Azmi, is full of wonder at the turns life takes.
This book is a recollection of the life of a hugely talented and sensitive human being, shared with a great poet. Both Shaukat and Kaifi were communists with Kaifi always carrying “his Party card in his brief case and would often take it out and say proudly, ‘This is my most valuable capital’.” When asked if he was still a party member during the last days of his life, he would reply, “Yes, card-carrying.” Like Kaifi, Shaukat has a lifelong commitment to a sincere and honest life and works constantly for the well-being of the common people. She gives a vivid description of the life in the Communist Party before Ranadive’s advent to power.
Though communists and not very religious-minded, when Kaifi suffers an attack which leaves his left arm paralysed, Shaukat writes, “Of all his many friends, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh, there was not one who did not go to his mosque or temple or gurd wara to pray for him and it was the effect of their prayers that he gradually recovered consciousness.”
They have a daughter Shabana, the film actress in her own right and a son named Baba. The end for Kaifi is heartrending and on a very touching note Shaukat says that his nurse dialed her phone number and placed the phone on Kaifi’s ears, hoping that on hearing his wife’s voice, Kaifi might recover, but Kaifi begins to fade away and dies on May 10, 2002, leaving his family grieving forever.
(Zubaan, 128-B Shahpur Jat, First Floor, New Delhi-110049; www.zubaanbooks.com)