Sunday, 10 April 2011

Dear Sir.

Yesterday was anticipated to be a very very big day for me. Given, I was going to exhibit my Firefly dream at SAARC. I had stayed up late for days and put together things. I even worked out the collages I did for my minor with you as keychains. I had planned to come by and give them to you as gifts since you always  appreciated them, and you had given me encouragement to put forward my 'digital' prints.

I was at the mela, and the news came. I didn't know what to think at first. It was one of those situations where I couldn't sit in a corner and cry, nor could I go back a day and come talk to you with Maria about Mazaar Bazaar. We were working so hard on getting things sorted for the Bahaaron ka Mela. It was insane. 

I spoke to Ms Darr. I spoke to members of the council. I seriously didn't know for a while, what we would become or be... what we should do or not do. And I certainly did not know how I would welcome my mini thesis without your presence in the Print Making Studio. Remember? We talked about children's books. And why I'd want to work on them. After having one proposal rejected on Friday, I had thought of the books again, and how I'd apply what I learnt with you. 

In the blur of emotions, immense pressure from surroundings, and more clearly... a plea for patience... I held it in. Everything. Because I remembered the day I cam late to studio, because of low blood pressure. I know you were upset. But you very humorously told me... 

"Zindagi mein masle tu chalte rehte hain. Insaan guzar bhi jaata hai, uski zindagi khatam hojati laikin masle tu chalte rehte hain. Masle hi masle hain."

Sir, with that in mind, I couldn't back out of everything we had set out to do Yesterday. I stayed at SAARC and then came to Indus. Seeing all the flowers, I went back to my minor. Everything pretty. Everything  beautiful, that was my concept. Remember? 

I bought a digital print yesterday, it had a fish. You always worked on fish in your studio in between the time you had with your guests and green tea. That time we tricked Anamta... we all laughed so much, til we nearly cried because of how funny it was! And your collection of lawn prints... Iman Ali would've been your brand ambassador. You used to swoon over all the pretty papers and scrapbooking supplies. You appreciated all the little things... that we'd probably never think of. I can't forget the adorable 'art' masterpieces by your children up in your office. The stories you'd tell us about them. Those times you'd ask our opinion on your prints, or the excitement you'd show when the soft ground turned out successful. Sir it meant a lot, you valued our words. Our feedback. 

I felt so at home in print making. There was always freedom to explore and experiment, and after your critiques, even more freedom to explore and experiment... and those not so successful experiments led to the work I produced at the end. My six panel-prints will always be very special to me. Whatever I've learned in your company has been immeasurable. The time I have spent in your studio has been priceless. 

Sir, it's funny na... things that make you laugh or smile so much, can also be the things that make you sad. You have been a great mentor. And all your optimism has made tough days awesome. It was a little difficult understanding the splurge of ideas we'd have from you everyday. At that time it seemed like you wanted something changed. Not because you did, but because you wanted us to try out endless possibilities. I've been unnerved and stressed... but my work's always surfaced my struggle and success. For that I am grateful. For that I can never forget what you've taught me. Your patience with me was commendable, and your encouragement has pushed me to work as much as I have.

I feel it's a little late to apologize again for coming late to class that day, but I believe Allah Kareem writes stories with reason. I received your message very well in advance to be prepared for yesterday.

Masle tu Chalte rehte haina? We learn to be stronger with them, we learn to work around them, and we learn to better ourselves with them.

Your Student

For all you've taught me, for all that you inspired me to do. For all that I never understood, to all that I understand now. May Allah Kareem make the road thereon easy, and let us not forget to remember... life's lessons. To Him we belong, and to Him is our return.

Inna Lilla Wainna Ilaihe Rajioon.

In Memory of Usman Ghouri. Artist. Print Maker. 


  1. im so in shock..a great person, was so helpful n kind, n genuine..was a pleasure learning from him during our brief time(we had an assignment) in the printmaking dept....u will be missed, n remembered by all.......:(

  2. i think for a lot of us who have been associated with him its so sad and such a tragedy and i think writing about him is a great way of paying tribute :)

  3. It is quite a shock for us, but I suppose that little reminder that we all leave, and we all should be prepared for it. I'll miss him. He's just not there anymore... today was tough. May Allah make it easy for his family. And may we, as his students keep his inspiration alive!


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