So, she texted me one evening that the members of the Critical Thinking Forum, IIUI (CTF, IIUI) were going to attend the session at the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (#USEFP ) and Dr. Munazza (Head of Department) had asked for the active member of English Reading Forum (ERF) to go along with them. She said that had selected some of the members and if I could confirm their availability. I asked her what it is all about. Ma’am Sonia replied, “It is a surprise. Hurry up! Confirm me if those members are interested to go”.
I did the communication and text messaging task within few minutes and confirmed her that along with me, Madiha Ghous, Asra Zafar and Momina Hafeez would be joining CTF folks.
And then she revealed the secret. My eyes popped out and I couldn’t breathe properly out of excitement when I read Ma’am Sonia’s message. My heart shouted like crazy mad teenager. Text stated that, “We are going to attend the book launch of Bilal Tanweer’s debut novel The Scatter Here Is Too Great”. The excitement grew till the day came.
To be very honest, I was excited like a child who jumps and laughs when sees a new toy because I had waited anxiously for the book to come out of the publishers’ hands and set on the book shelves; I so wanted to get hold of it as soon as possible. But outta my laziness, I didn’t get hands on it as I had slept like a hibernated frog during my semester break. But yeah, when I was awake I had been following the reviews and stuff.
I don’t know why but yes I was so excited for reasons unknown one can say.
So the day came.
For security issues it was decided that instead of going by personal conveyance it is better to go as a group in university bus. Everyone was settled in the bus with gupshup mode ON and finally the journey started.
We had been late because of the clearance at the entrance of the venue, as a result of which we all got the side seats. Anyway, finally we made it.
We came, we saw, we sat.
Now the big hurdle was the pillar between the speaker and the ME. This thing was terribly annoying but none the less, I and my buddy still loved the listening part. After few minutes Ma’am Sonia signaled that she has asked for the chairs on the other side. Without giving a second thought I jumped and sat on the front row facing the author few steps away from me.
Harris Khalique was the moderator of the book launch session. He himself is a fascinating poet. Bilal Tanweer spoke so fine and tackled all the question and answers brilliantly.
I was hardly settled and had just started enjoying when I heard “… with this amazing talk the session comes to an end”. My mouth was wide open that what the hell, the session just ended? Seriously? Tring tring tring the bell rang in my mind.
Then they announced that audience can buy a book and get it signed by the author. Without any further delay, I got the book and when I was getting it signed my imaginary crackers were blowing with some dhol dhamakka and fireworks around. That was the happy moment which I would call *meri choti choti khushian* #smirk. I just wanted to jump and shout that Oh yeah I made it. Finally my hands are on the “The Scatter Here Is Too Great”.
I remember Mohammad Hanif’s session, which I attended years ago. When he signed the book I have had the ditto feelings. Anyway after the book signing the best moment was when Ma’am Sonia clicked that moment for me.
After sumptuous tea came the best part. We all sat in a circular sitting with the author who discussed his work in detail with us. I regret that I had not read the book then otherwise I would have thoroughly enjoyed the discussion. Nevertheless, the talk and discussion made me read it as soon as possible. Bilal Tanweer’s idea of hope just made me become his diehard fan at that moment. He states, “What is the use of forgetting the past? It is the past which gives us the HOPE that becomes our motivation in the future.” Later on CTF team engaged him with continuous bombardment of questions. All the information Tanweer had about the books was within no time shared. Even he himself admitted that if again had conversation with us he would repeat the same stuff over and over again.
While Tanweer was talking about hate speech, Mariam our fellow quoted the Arabic quote translated as, “What is the point of moving the mountains, mountains are there in order to change the follow of the air not to change their position.” Then she said writer should not change his position rather let the reader interpret what they think about the story.
Yeah, well that is right, it made me think that writers and teachers both are the people who are not supposed to move with the flow rather they should make a flow.
The discussion with author made me think about some good things about him; he is the man who gives others enough space to share their views unlike many other authors. He is frank and not strangely idiosyncratic and kharoos oh yeah that is how I would put it.
The day ended with the group photograph with the author. Those golden hours were the awesome ones. I was excited because when you are following someone since AGES and get a chance to meet that person, it is like a dream come true.
The discussion of the members of ERF and CTF at the end of the day in the bus on our way back was full of humor and intellect.
So, in the end….,
“It was A Day to Remember!”