Some terrible has happened. My most desperate attempts to make it on time have failed. I am not able to catch Salman Ahmed’s book launch Rock & Roll Jihad.
Damn it. I really wanted to attend. I really did. But the newsroom kept me late on Saturday. 10 am on a Sunday would normally be outrageous — attendance at any event written off. But this was Salman Ahmed, damn it.
Wait. There was still an off chance. After all, nothing at KLF has ever begun and ended on time. It is still possible. I reached Scillinas Hall. The event was over.
No, Salman... don’t do this to me. I was looking forward to listening to your inane ramblings; your hollow, banal musings on topics deeper than the deepest sea — or alternatively, an impression of yourself.
I remember well that introduction during a concert somewhere in the US many years ago. Ali Azmat, that estranged friend of yours, was about to perform “Lal Meri Pat”. He introduced the concept of Sufism — “The Sufis were basically these really cool guys.”
I always thought Ali was the man. He is quite the man. But as the years passed, and I heard and read your musings on religion, music and romanticism, I found that you were the actual brains behind the operation. Your performance at a recent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf jalsa only heightened my intrigue. Lip-syncing to Ali’s voice. Genius. That’ll show him.
I can’t believe I missed my chance, Salman. It is my fault. You came, launched your book on your “revolution”. And I have nothing.
I bought your book, Salman. A signed copy, no less. It looks wonderful. A mustard background. You on your knees in a purple kurti with a strange medallion and a stranger-still Moscow-type furry hat. Playing a green guitar (nice contrast). Staring up, wonderingly into the distance. Like you had just smelt something. Head tilted. A soft smile.
You probably nailed that pose on the first attempt.
Deepak Chopra tells me to read the book to be inspired. I am inspired by just the cover. Who knows what will happen when I read it. I can’t wait. The first chapter is named, ‘The Taliban and the guitar’. Profound. So profound.
O, Salman. I asked around. Someone must have attended. May be they can give me some material.
No one I asked had attended. Shame.
Or perhaps that was exactly what was planned. Tuck away your event. 10 am on a Sunday. Someone probably had to cover up what was obviously a mistake. And they succeeded.
Death be to you, O organisers and schedulers. May the fleas of a thousand sick camels infest your armpits.
No, Salman. Don’t do this to me...
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2012.