40 rs and a dream Part III

When digests such as  Sabrung were at their peak in Pakistan, they went ahead in every facet of publishing and tried to make them selves better, where they failed though was to successfully convert themselves into an institution. It was the same in my case, as after launching and successfully claiming my spot in the line of publications with an ever widening circulation my digest was still revolving around me.

Such was the amount of effort I had put into Subrung that I now found it very difficult to maintain it. Obviously I had grown in age as well as wisdom by now and perhaps it was my full pockets that weighed me down but it was due to my own will and demand for perfection that Subrung started to become irregular. I was at a point where even the slightest of mistakes in my publication or its serial stories would literally set my heart on fire. An example of this would be perhaps the fact that I spent many a day rewriting my own work to the extent of an almost madness like frenzy. Case in point is an episode of Amber Bel which I wrote 22 times before it went into print.

Obviously such rigors toiled and lay heavy on me and I began to realize that things were getting out of hand. The entire digest would be ready and waiting, the staff and members of my 6 offices in press building working but delayed only because I would not have written the due episode of “bazigar” and “amber bel” to my standard yet. These delays did not just cost suffering to my fans but also to my own finances as sometimes it would be months on end that I kept paying my staff whilst they did nothing but waited for me.

Perhaps as the wise say too much passion is not a good thing either and so it was in my case as these gaps in publication led to the gradual selling of the assets I had acquired over the years. The largest gap came from 1986-1990 where no sabrung was published for almost 3.75 years, but when it was finally; even then the loyal fans bought it all up. This is one thing I have been most fortunate in over the years, that is the love of the many fans and friends I have received who have supported me and my eccentricities. However it pained me to read stories that circulated about me in the various newspapers of the day in these gaps which claimed that I had lost interest in Sabrung because I was now opening petrol pumps or was the owner of a brand new cinema and such. Any excuse to tarnish my name. I wonder what those people would think if they knew the reality, that I had was obsessed with Sabrung that I hardly spent any time with my family much the less open up another business.

It was at this moment in my life that a major publishing house approached me to buy the ownership of Sabrung, they offered me a commission/loyalty in profits as well as a hefty monthly salary to take over my creation. After the contract was inked, I sent it to Muhammad Aslam Malik a mentor and friend and head of the largest distribution house of print in Dubai for advice which came in spades. He told me in no uncertain terms that it would be very very hard for me having built my own fortune and success with my own hands to work for someone else and so I never signed that contract.

It was perhaps a cruel hand of misfortune that soon after I decided not to, my friend Malik passed on to his maker and I became like a ship without its anchor, drifting in the seas of uncertainty. Helpless before my mounting financial vows I then approached the same publishing house again but  was dismayed to find after a wait of about three years for them to come around that their interests had shifted to a more visual medium or TV. Obviously I could not nor do fault them for this turn as I myself had let my change go. They later went on to form the largest media house in Pakistan.

As fate would have it my mentors son Rashid Malik had by now, come across my correspondence to his father in regards to this offer and as he himself wanted to start a publication from Karachi he approached me for Sabrung. When I handed Sabrung over to him on mutually agreeable terms I felt as a great weight had lifted from me as he was now in charge of distribution as well as advertising and other facets while I could concentrate on my writing along. Sadly though this relationship did not last for long as my insistence on perfection still remained and thus the regularity that Rashid wanted from by now from his digest could not be achieved, so rather than let him suffer loss at my hands I opted to part ways totally with what I had created.

After being free from my endeavors in publication I was soon picked up and hired by Mir Shakilul Rehman as a script editor for the Geo network. They started me on reviewing scripts for in house productions but have now entrusted in me the full charge of all scripts  to review/select for drama serials broadcast by this network, both in house and outsourced. This is where I am right now, still editing and re editing stories written by many a writer young and old and selecting the best among them to roll forth into tv and in front of millions of viewers.

My personal writing has taken a step back due to my bout with colon cancer and the extensive chemotherapy I received soon after for a year but be assured my friends my pen is still very much alive and anxious to write again. In fact with the finishing of this memoir and my tale I feel an inspiration to move on and finish another one of the great unfinished sagas in urdu publication that is the story of “Baazi Gar”, a story which has seen 3000 pages published in print and is yet to reach its conclusion.

It is time then, that I must bid you goodbye for now and set forth on my new task. It is time to write again..

These memoirs have been published in The Friday times on April 16th 2010, as narrated to me by M Adilzada