I’ve been reading Urdu books since I was 4.
I read kid’s books and magazines.
Bachchon ka Mahnama Umang, Noor, Hilaal, and Butool. Our household was subscribed to Umang and Noor. As soon as the newspaper boy would deliver the magazine, I would devour the magazines until every single line is read, and re-read, and sometimes even remembered, and recited. That would be quick, and I would need to wait patiently for next month. So there was hunger to read more. I started reading anything that I would find. I have read all kinds of stuff back in childhood, even if I wouldn’t understand. Most of it, I don’t even remember. What I read back then, found a strong foundation of what I read now.
After kids’ book, the first author that I read was Ibn-e-safi. And he is still on of my favorite writers. I may not have read all the big names in Urdu world, but I have read many. Or I may have. From classics to modern – Deputy Nazeer Ahmad, Munshi Prem Chand, Krishna Chandra, Bano Qudsiya, Bushra Khatoon, Masroor Jahan, Iffat Mohani, Atiya Parveen, Najma Shakir, Nighat Abdullah, Riffat Siraj, Umair Ahmad, Nemrah Ahmad, Rahat Jabeen, Aamna Riyaaz, Ibn-e-safi, Mohiuddin Nawab, M Ilyas, M A Rahat, Kashif Zubair… I will stop here, cuz list is growing, and it’s only 20% of names.
I do not even remember the titles, let alone the stories, of all the books I’ve read. Many a times I would start a book, and after a few pages, the realization of familiarity sinks in. After a few more pages are turned, I remember that I’ve already read it. Most of the stories have at least one iconic scene, which is engraved in your mind, and that becomes the identity of that story.
This series is a humble effort to acknowledge all those authors who have been there with me since my childhood. And whose writing has impacted me deeply, and has changed me who I am as a person.