Remembering Manto and wondering how he would have reacted to today’s “bulldozer governance”
Of course, Paul and his wife Aruna laughed. They had a great sense of humor and were cultured and sophisticated according to the traditional strain. What struck me about Aruna was the fact that she never tried to interrupt her husband or even speak on his behalf. She kept a rather low profile and looked at her husband with admiration. It was written basically that she loved and admired him…always there by her side. They seemed compatible, happy to be with each other, so much so that once Paul came without her, Khushwant looked somewhat surprised and asked him why his wife hadn’t. not accompanied. He told us that she had been overtaken by family reunions and therefore could not come. Then he began to speak fondly of his children, his wife and his family.
Only once during our interactions did the subject of the couple’s young daughter, Ambika, succumbing to early childhood cancer come up and I still remember how immensely sad they looked. Heartbreak, loss of a hard-to-bear child… In fact, Aruna and Swraj told us that their young daughter would love to go to London Zoo and spend time there as it brings her a bit of relief and happiness. , so after his death they tried to support the upkeep and development of London Zoo in every way possible.
That evening, Khushwant had also seemed pained and pensive. His talks were about death. “During death and departures, I often tell Bade Mian (I call my creator, Bade Mian) that he should wait for me because I still have work to finish. I keep telling him: Baden Mian abhi mera intezar karo, abhi bahut kaam baqi hai …
Khushwant recited these lines from Allama Iqbal:
Baagh-e-bahisht dit mujhay hukm-e safar diya thha kyon?/
Kaar-e-Jahaan daraaz hai, ab mera intezaar kar.
(Why did you drive me out of the garden of paradise? /
I have a lot of work that remains unfinished; now you must wait for me.)
Views are personal