Sunday, April 15, 2012

Izhar…. a legend!

Izhar…. a legend!

“I think you have every right to know that your friend , that is me, is suffering from Cancer and is fighting it right now in Bombay Hospital,” was the message I received one day from Izhar.

“What nonsense,” I said to myself. Not ready to accept it, for obvious reasons, I immediately dialed his number. As soon as I heard his voice I knew he was serious about it. Rest is understood as it is not always important to hammer the obvious. I don’t know what my silence conveyed to him and how many his words consoled me.

I had not met Izhar then, but we were connected through e-mail, FB and telephonically.He happened to read my article in Kasmir Times and sent one mail as feedback in response, that goes like this:

Awesome story



Izhar Wani


to me

Dear Veena, read your story in Kashmir Times "entitled" "I saw God in his eyes". It made for a good read. It has been wonderfully penned down and takes a reader right into what you and your family had experienced at that time. I hope things will and are changing for the better. We will again be one. I will able to sit with all my Burn Hallian friends, including Sunny Pandita, Pankaj Mahaldar, Sanjay Razdan, Ajay Mam, Vikram Handoo and many others. I wish, I could see them all again. I miss my favourite teacher Munshi Sir. I miss your community like anything as my father, a university scientist had over a dozen Pandit friends and I used to enjoy the company of my well-read uncles and their kins. God bless you and your family always....regards Izhar

We exchanged our thoughts on different subjects and by and by I found him very straight and simple person, very decent to talk to, intelligent and having command over English language. Later I came to know that he happened to be classmate of my younger brother, Sunny Pandita.

Izhar Wani


to me

. Yes, I was in Burn Hall between 70s and 80s. Sunny used to secure first position in almost all the standards. He is a refined guy, always talked sense and his speech at times had no parallels. I haven't seen him after matriculation but a school mate -- Adil Bashir -- told me Sunny is in USA. This is life. I read your article. It moved me. I had tears in my eyes and I thought I should appreciate your write-up. And see here you are helping me to connect me to a school friend. Veena, anytime you are in Srinagar please do give me a call on cell NO: 09419000622. You will love to meet my family, incluidng my two naughty daughters -- Saira, 10 and Saba, 5. I have taken a short break from FaceBook but will be back soon. I am a journalist working for Agence France Presse (AFP) since 1991. I have covered Iraq and Afghanistan, but mostly I am based in Srinagar. It is a great honour to be in touch with you. God bless you always..... Izhar

We grew along with this friendship. It was a wonderful relationship. There would be time when we would not be in touch for a month or so, but when we would, it would be like as if we had been constantly in touch. I would not consciously think of him. But when I would, it would be acknowledgement to a constant being within me which perhaps needed no acknowledgement. We hadn’t seen each other but I had introduced him to my family. he promised a number of times that he would come to jammu to meet us, which he could never fulfill.

He was full of life, very pleasant to talk to, a very good photographer besides being a journalist by profession. Above all he was secular by character .once he wrote while we were discussing political scenario of j&k:

Izhar Wani


to me

Dear Veena
Not only Jagmohan, the fear also played its role in the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. When serial slayings of Pandits working in Judiciary, police or intelligence were carried out with impunity, it instilled fear among the minority community. Some of the leaders pushed panic button, trigerring one of the fastest exodus in the history. Pandits, living in cities, villages and even on mountains fled, leaving behind everything they had acquired over the decades. There is a need to investigate who pushed the panic button as around same time even Muslims were being killed by militants, mostly those associated with pro-India political groups, police and CID and IB. ,...regards Izu

He lived every change in nature and captured it through his camera and pen. His latest photographs of winter in Kashmir are worth seeing.

Who could have thought of such a deadly disease to such a lovely person. Not atleast me… but for this heart breaking SMS. That day onwards when I would call him, he would console me by saying, “I will fight it Inshaallah! But pray for me.” And I would always utter “amen!” and he fought it to a great extent for some time.

It is during this time that I happened to go to Sgr. And it was then i.e. on 28th of July, 2011, I happened to meet him for the first time and alas, for the last time as well…. to have that one life time memory. We fixed the evening time. I along with my brother went Dalgate, his home, to meet him. He had given me his address and I had requested him to remain indoors as I would be able to locate the address and I would manage to reach him. When we were about to reach his home I saw him waiting outside, on the road, which he later on explained that he could not hold himself indoors that time. I saw him coming in our direction and I asked my brother to stop the car. I got down and heard myself asking, “Izhar?” and him replying, “Veena?” simultaneously. He extended his hand and by the time I realized I have to extend mine in response, he had withdrawn his. Shaking or not shaking hands did not matter… in fact nothing mattered. We were meeting for the first time as if we had departed a minute ago or perhaps never departed at all. That day he introduced us to his family. We were together for about an hour. He came to see us off at the main gate of his home. Again it was difficult to depart…. Depart never to see each other again or depart to be in everlasting bond of friendship and purity and of selfless and sincerity… the bond I am still bound by.


  1. Your explanation of Izhar and the bond you shared is beautiful, almost too much for a medium like this to handle, but must say you have managed well. I would say you have been lucky to have known someone like Izhar. Of course Izhar's untimely death is absolutely tragic.

  2. :) very beautiful, some relationships are so beautiful :)

  3. A tragic story about a real man...

  4. Veena,
    I compliment you for your beautiful expression of
    the relationship could be a prolific fiction writer..

    1. thanks sanjay and mari....
      @ agnishekhar:
      thanks for the compliment...i wish i could have been one. your saying so matters a lot to me. i am elated.