He just disappeared – yesterday morning – he just disappeared –

Nida is the call to prayer – maybe, he finally heard the true call – the call he had been looking for all is life – maybe, yesterday morning, as his eyes closed for the last time, in his heart, his searching soul, the call to prayer took him away –

Nida Fazli – one of the most complete human beings I have ever met – poet, romantic, child, thinker, sufi, rationalist, dreamer, and, above all, a hindustani –

To meet him was to meet poetry – not the commercial give and take of qafiya and radeef, but the rise and fall of emotions etched in the simplest of words – his smile – toothy, lopsided, full – that was Nida – when he spoke, his words came tumbling out, and when he was silent, his words rested, panting gently, in the library of his throat –

His family left India in the 60”s to settle down in Karachi – but Nida stayed on in the land he loved, and until yesterday morning, when the call to final prayer took him away, he served his country with such grace and humility and art –

In his art, he battled lovingly with the stringent demands of both religion and nation – he chuckeld at them, and with them – yet there was never a harsh word which passed his lips, never an opinion offered out of ego or anger –

He wrote of children and trees and schools and streets and graves and moonlight and rivers and gods with equal love – his poetry was his, but also everybody’s.

In the glamorous, often empty, world of the films, he made a marginal name – but this never bothered him – he was content to walk his own pagdandis, of the heart and of the verse.

The morning that he disappeared, a friend and I – both very close to Nida-sahib – were planning a show with him in Dehra Dun – the friend was to talk to Nida-sahib by 11 a.m., and then confirm the date with me – the friend called back, to confirm another date –

I can just imagine khuda and Nida meeting, and khuda’s smiling complaints, and Nida’s chuckling explanations – and how then khuda asked Nida to recite for him, and how the two of them for hours were so, so happy –

I had recorded these two nazms for Nida-sahib, and was about to send them to him, when he disappeared – so here they are – the one about his father deserves a little explanation – his father died in Karachi, and Nida-sahib was in India, and could not go to read the fatiha on his father’s grave – the result was the most beautiful poem on father-son love I have ever read –

May Nida and his father being sharing this poem as we write –

Nida-sahib – how can I thank you for the time, the words, the suggestions, the guidance, the love – not only for a nacheez like me, but for all of humanity --