By  - Dr. Khalid Sohail


Last evening
while I was walking back
from Khizr’s home
after meeting guest writers and artists
I was wondering,
immigrant birds
fly into a new garden in a new city
do they nest only on those branches
where they feel at home?
I gradually realized
it was so wonderful
to see that
at Khizr’s place,
guests from all corners of the world
feeling at home.
When poets and writers
philosophers and artists
from East and West, North and South
come to town
they like to stay at Khizr’s place,
sit in front of the fire,
share their stories
and then travel to unknown destinations.
The sounds and fragrances
of those people and stories
can be heard and felt all over Khizr’s home.
Khizr believes
every artist is a mystic at heart
and blossoms
in the company of other artists and mystics.
He likes to introduce his friends to others
and become a creative bridge.
His home
which stands by a lake,
surrounded by seagulls and geese and shady trees,
has become a lighthouse
like its owner
who helps lost boats and souls
to find their destinations
and discover shores of their creative selves.
Whenever I visit his home
and meet other artists and mystics
I feel inspired
by a new thought
a fresh idea
an incredible passion
a unique dream.
I remember
one evening
when I visited his home
I met his old friends
from university days,
the friends who had
shared the fire of idealism
when they were students.
They wanted to fight
against every injustice
and create a peaceful and just world.
Those were the days
when they used to get together
at the university
and share their poems and stories and songs of peace and love.
But then
they graduated from university
and started to face
the harsh realities of the world
and were divided into many groups
The first group
got married and had children
because their families expected it.
They wore the chains of traditions
and sacrificed their creations
on the altar of procreations.
They were so tired
after a hectic routine of daily work
they had no free time
to write or create
or even listen to music
or go for leisurely walks.
The routine life
made them hollow people
The second group
was dazzled by the glitter of wealth.
They realized
artists were the merchants of dreams
and in this materialistic world
people want to buy
big houses and cars
not dreams.
So these artists and intellectuals
became business people
gathered wealth and gold
bought expensive paintings
to decorate their drawing rooms
acquired encyclopedias and leather bound books
to put in their bookcases
but lost touch with other artists and intellectuals.
The third group was
desperate to become famous.
They worked more on
their media coverage than
developing their artistic skills.
To become popular
in the shortest period of time
they wrote cheap novels;
rather than improving
people’s taste in literature and art
they ruined their own.
The fourth group
who were so rebellious
clashed violently with tradition
and lost their minds
landing in mental asylums;
their creativity
was eclipsed by insanity.
That evening I realized
Khizr was one of the few
who went on creating all their lives
and kept on doing their own things
without worrying about
traditions and families and money and fame.
He took the road less travelled,
chose the trail of his heart
rather than
the highway of tradition.
after twenty-five years
he received no awards
but people
from all over the world
come to see him
to be inspired
and discover the sparks of creativity
beneath the ashes of their routine lives.
I realized
how lucky is Khizr
who has creative springs flowing in his heart
and how lucky are those
who are inspired in his company
and feel at home in his home
more than in their own homes.


                                                                             March 2002