LAHORE: After acclaimed novel Between Clay and Dust, author and translator Musharraf Ali Farooqi has written and released a children’s book titled Tik-Tik, The Master of Time. The book is the first release from Farooqi’s publishing house, Kitab.
Tik-Tik, The Master of Time is the story of two children from the planet Nopter who are looking for a way to grow up faster.
The Express Tribune caught up with the author at The Last Word in Lahore during the first leg of book launch and spoke to him about his different writing modes. Farooqi insists that switching from fiction for adults to fiction for children is as easy as switching genres as a reader.
“To me it is not an effort. I do not see a problem as a writer in switching between genres that I enjoy as a reader. So it is the same experience for me. I switch and I start writing for kids, I switch and I start writing for adults,” he said.
There is no philosophical method for Farooqi when it comes to writing for children and he says he writes partially to entertain himself.
Quality publishing for children’s literature is a niche in Pakistan and an enthusiastic Farooqi says that it is essential for children to be exposed to good reading. Investing in children is not limited to sending them to a good school, but parents and schools need to inculcate healthy reading habits in order to make them more complete human beings.
Farooqi, who is also a publisher, believes that his job is to make children “intelligent readers” and he ponders over what to publish. But when it comes to writing he allows himself to enjoy the creative license. “I want to write what I want to write, I am not writing with a pre-determined outcome in my mind that this is going to reform the society, no. This is going to give us some good laughs. And that is where my work ends.”
His wife, Michelle Farooqi has done the illustrations for the book. The duo has also collaborated on an illustrated novel for adults, “The Rabbit Rap”, due for release this November. The books would not have been the same without her illustrations he admits, “She draws something, and shares it with me, and then we see if it reflects the actual character as I have imagined it or she has imagined it. There is always a common point.”
Farooqi, an avid reader and translator of Urdu classics, would also like to restore children’s Urdu literature, which will help develop an understanding of Pakistani literary heritage.
“I will make sure that I provide enough background data for teachers, for parents, for children themselves. And make it available widely and freely,” he said. He feels that once Urdu literature is made as important as Shakespeare or Dickens, children will automatically develop a sense of ownership and pride over their own literary heritage.
Farooqi remains hopeful about his publishing venture, which to him is like “curating the text”. He says that it is possible to provide economical options for children’s reading in Pakistan, because there are enough resources.
A translation of Tik-Tik, The Master of Time will be available in six months.