KARACHI: It’s a small bunglow in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. A brand new music enterprise is about to be launched and all the important thing gamers are ready for the proceedings to start.
However they will’t – not till the person of the hour exhibits up.
Nobody needs to say that Aamir Zaki is in dire straits and that his decide and drop is being coated as a result of he actually can’t make it with out assist, each bodily and monetary. Everyone seems to be singing songs of his genius but nobody truly is aware of what could be bothering him this time.
Seemingly carried by the wind, Zaki’s slender body enters the drawing room. Everybody stands as much as greet, be it Faakhir or the child who doesn’t know who he actually was.
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The host, as anticipated in most interactions with Zaki, begins off by singing praises of his success and of how nicely suited his expertise have been for a challenge they have been about to launch.
Zaki retains on smiling and searching in no specific path. With an unlit cigarette in hand, he scans the room very rigorously.
Everybody shares their share of anecdotes about Zaki’s brilliance however its guitar virtuoso’s silence that’s deafening.
“I’m positive you’re engaged in a really deep thought course of. Would you thoughts sharing it with us earthlings,” asks one of many hosts, the query greeted with loud laughter.
“Nothing particular… simply inform me the place I can smoke this cigarette,” solutions Zaki. Everybody shares a loud giggle as he’s proven to the basement.
He winks at me in what’s a suggestion to hitch him. “I want to speak to you about one thing,” he says. I, like a loyal servant, open all doorways that lie in our path to the basement till Zaki is settled in an arm chair, together with his cigarette now lit.
“You do realise I by no means smirk… I solely smile,” Zaki says. He’s referring to an interview of his I carried out lately. As I attempt to defend my selection of phrases to explain his expression that day, he stays adamant.
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“You need me to open the dictionary proper now? As a result of, sadly, we will’t replay a specific second that has already handed… very similar to the higher a part of my life.”
There’s a clumsy silence as I attempt to confirm if I ought to apologise to him for utilizing that exact phrase or sympathise for the sense of remorse in his tone. Each have their very own failings so I choose a 3rd choice: “Excited concerning the new enterprise?”
“There’s nothing new about any enterprise. It’s only a bunch of individuals telling you ways nice you’re as they attempt to take advantage of it. Now how do you clarify something to those individuals?” he replies.
“However wouldn’t it’s unfair to guage the intentions of somebody who’s making an attempt to get you some work,” I ask him.
“In fact not. They’re nice youngsters, however the issue is with the society we stay in. To be trustworthy, I’m finished right here… I’ve no cash in my pocket and I’m not doing that properly. All I want is a few help and I’m not going to beg anybody for that,” he provides me an affirming look.
By now his cigarette had virtually extinguished. He was struggling to mild it up once more with each joule of power in his physique. Earlier than I might rise up to assist him by way of, he was smoking once more.
“Now I’m in not that dangerous a form,” he quipped.
Aamir Zaki. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
“However that’s it. All I can do is smoke up and play the guitar, I feel that’s ok for somebody like me. ‘Oh however Aamir Bhai, that’s too much less… we’d like extra out of you! The kids need to study extra from you however that gained’t occur should you’re not in fine condition!’,” he says, mocking ‘nicely-wishers’.
“The factor is I’m bipolar and I endure from melancholy… however don’t share this with the world now. Share it after the venture materialises – or if it fails to materialise,” he pleads. “Should you share it now, nobody will sponsor it.”
“And you already know why? As a result of admitting you’ve issues is problematic for this society. All I’ve to do is seem ‘alright’ and conceal the darkness in my soul, and the sponsors will love me! It’s professional-enterprise you understand,” he provides.
Considering that perhaps Zaki is making an attempt to justify his reclusive, anti-social angle, I inform him that issues don’t work like that.
“They do. If society permits you to be who you’re inside the 4 partitions of your house, then maybe you’ll be able to survive with an occasional smile. However this society doesn’t. If I break my guitars in my house in the future, individuals label me the subsequent. What’s your drawback man? Individuals simply need to make all the things about themselves.”
However so does Zaki by seeing in the whole lot a grand scheme to maintain him from attaining no matter it’s he needs to realize. “Aren’t you affected by the identical drawback as this society based on you?”
“I’m executed, like I stated earlier than,” replies Zaki. “This mentorship programme, Coke Studio, look for [designer] Arsalan Iqbal… these are simply methods to kill time. The system has sucked out no matter juice I had in me. Sure, individuals assume I’m able to much more, however not with these current circumstances.”
I ask him if he’s looking for any assist. “I’m taking some very exhausting treatment for melancholy and that has made my face swell. I’m not doing exhausting medicine any extra however I feel I’m rising weaker by the day. With or with out medicine or medicine, the top is just about the identical.”
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Simply as we have been getting someplace, the host interrupts, telling us dinner is prepared. As me and Zaki stroll again to the drawing room, he jogs my memory that ‘smirk’ was the fallacious phrase to make use of and that regardless of how a lot I attempt to reveal what goes inside him, it won’t change how the world sees him.
“Like a fallen hero, a man who poisoned his personal potential or somebody who can’t work with individuals. I want individuals understood higher however maybe it’s too late.”
The music enterprise Zaki and I mentioned in my final dialog with him was ‘Sing with Aqeel’. Aqeel Ahmed was one of many few musicians – maybe the one one – who Zaki was in contact with earlier than his dying on Friday.
“Aamir bhai referred to as me two days again. He wanted some cash. He stated he had managed to pay the lease someway by borrowing cash however he was nervous concerning the future. He stated he shivered out of melancholy on a regular basis upon waking up and that he additionally wanted some cash to take his mom to the physician,” Aqeel advised The Categorical Tribune.
He received teary eyed upon recalling the telephone name and wished he had lent Zaki some cash at the moment. However it was actually too late.
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