'For Abba With Love' – Shabana Azmi's Tribute to Kaifi Azmi

Verses on Love and Women
Book Excerpt 

[From the Foreword written by Shabana Azmi.]

He was always different, a fact that didn’t sit too easily on my young shoulders. He didn’t go to ‘office’ or wear the normal trousers and shirt like other ‘respectable’ fathers but chose to wear a white cotton kurta-pyjama twenty-four hours of the day. He did not speak English and, worse still, I didn’t call him ‘Daddy’ like other children, but some strange-sounding ‘Abba’! I learned very quickly to avoid referring to him in front of my classmates and lied that he did some vague ‘business’! Imagine letting my school friends know that he was a poet. What on earth did that mean—a euphemism for someone who did no work?

Being my parent’s child was, for me, unconventional in every way. My school required that both parents speak English. Since neither Abba nor Mummy did, I faked my entry into school. Sultana Jafri, . . .