i have been so insanely busy working on talks, an art exhibition and a film, and promoting as well as collaborating on the execution of numerous events, that i have not spent much time simply hanging out with ammi abbu. last night i took a small break. made some barbecue chicken pizza and a big salad with a spicy mango dressing. then watched mughal-e-azam (1960) with my parents. an indian classic set in emperor akbar’s court, the film is kitschy of course and requires the suspension of disbelief, but i have to say, i was captivated by madhubala. her real name was mumtaz jehan begum dehlavi. she was born in delhi in 1933. not just a beauty. there’s something magnetic about her screen presence. the film is two hours long and we were up until midnight but what a lovely way to spend an evening with my ammi abbu. #grateful

writing obits is easy

my feed, on all platforms, is still enriched by sinéad, the beautiful shuhada’ sadaqat. people are reminiscing and sharing personal stories, others are writing about her courageous, unflinching activism, her incomparable, transcendent voice and music, her deliberate decision not to embrace commercial success and its oppressive demands, her painful childhood and mental health struggles, but also her unique, unforgettable, otherworldly presence, her incredible generosity… i cannot help but think how this kind of validation/admiration would have meant so much to her when she was alive. a warm blanket made of countless memories, words and emotions that could have held her. perhaps it’s easier to write obits and tributes than to be there for people. it shouldn’t be that way.

photo: getty images/ringer illustration