Bashir Manzar

Ah! Shahid Bukhari

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Death is inevitable. It can knock you down anytime. I am trying to write this piece, what is the guarantee that I can complete the second sentence. This is how life is but we don’t take it, and sometimes, I think, we should not take it like this. If we take it like this, we may do nothing; be static; just grow in mass like vegetables.

So, at times, we may put the thoughts of death aside, look at life at it is, and try to live. And, that is what we all do and have been doing. And, that is what Shahid Masood Bukhari did and was doing when he drove with his dear daughter to his Dhobiwan residence.

Once inside home, he fell unconscious, frightened daughter called out neighbours, they came – bla, bla, bla …. He was shifted to nearby hospital and declared “Brought Dead.”

I am still writing and completing my sentences, he couldn’t. He just parked the car and end of story!

Coming back to me.

I had a friend from Mumbai. We had lunch and then I dropped her at the houseboat, she is staying at. It was there around 5 pm that I got a call and the caller informed me about Shahid’s sudden death.

The news was devastating.

Who was he and what was he to me? Who was he? There are lots of people who can write about that. But what was he to me, I am the only person who knows the answer.

Younger than me, he was a best friend.

Shahid was a gem of a person. He started as studio photographer and he excelled in it like storm. He knew the technology, which is obsolete now, but was very much in then.

Any would-be bride or bridegroom had a dream to get clicked by Shahid. He knew it, he loved it (as I would have).

His shop at Magam was sort of our den. He would spend major portion of his earnings offering us tea and snacks.

He was not destined to remain confined to that shop. He had ideas; he had dreams; he wanted to make some difference somewhere. He was into it.

He was a good orator, wrote good Urdu, spoke melodious Urdu. He was a keen watcher and observer. He had wonderful broadcasting voice and was photogenic that is why he did wonderful both at Radio Kashmir and Doordarshan.

He wrote and report for Kashmir Images and Uqab too and finally was working as editor KTv.

He was versatile and that is why he flirted with politics for a while. I knew all his political endeavors – some were with my consent, some were not. But he did it well.

And finally he settled down to be a journalist. And, he made a mark.


Before Covid, we were always in touch. Covid pandemic disconnected everything. Three months back, I got a call from Shahid to be part of some discussion on his KTv, I refused. He insisted. I told him that I have stopped coming on TVs. I asked him how are things and how is he doing. He recited this verse:

Shuhrat Mili Tou Neend Bhi Apni Nahi Rahi,

Gumnaam Zindagi Thee Tou Kitna Sakoon Tha.

That was it! We never spoke after that. But he continued doing what he was doing. I knew it. He never wanted favours. He was Shahid, he wanted it to be his exclusive.

Shahid, you were a wonderful person, I wonder why I write your obituary and not you writing mine. May be God has its own plans. Let us wait and see.

P.S. I remember his wedding. We had to go with Baraat to Sopore. I had a very rusty Fiat Car. Our common friend Abass Wani, who later won Gulmarg Assembly elections, was driving the car. He went to his in-laws in that car. Alas, I couldn’t join his last journey and failed to attend his Jinaza.

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