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Halqa Islamabad: Last Meeting of 2005





Taru tay Haat” (Deep waters and Shallow waters) short story of Malik Mehar Ali appreciated in Halqa at Islamabad

Islamabad—“Taru tay Haat” (Deep waters and Shallow waters) is the title of the Punjabi short story, a very short story indeed, that was read and appreciated at the last meeting of Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq held in the year 2005.

The writer Malik Mehar Ali working in Pakistan Academy of Letters was described as having mastered the art of writing pithy sentences, casting a spell over his readers and avoiding unnecessary loads in his stories. Dr Wahid Ahmed the noted fiction writer presided over the meeting while Mansha Yad, M. Hamid Shahid, Akhtar Sheikh, Ejaz Chaudhry, Akhtar Usman, Wafa Chishti and Asghar Abid participated in evaluating the story unveiling its salient aspects. Akmal Shehzad Ghuman a noted short story writer from Lahore was the guest of the evening.

Barely a two-page story “Taru tay Haat” moved its listeners to the extent that they regarded the story a political commentary on the exploitation of the third world people by the so called developed nations of the world. The story also reflects a father’s deep love for his daughter, maintained Mansha Yad. On another scale the story was seen as a social commentary on our villages where feudal lords call shots and have mortgaged the lives and properties of their tenants. In short, the story was found a complete expression with a matchless diction and Punjabi idiom.

The story goes as the wife of the deceased old farmer discloses to her distant relations who have come to condole with her that it was not that her husband died of breathlessness, actually the overwhelming grief that his daughter was divorced had taken his life. He saw his daughter’s tears mixing in the waters of the stream that he had to swim across daily. According to his wife, he mentioned this fact to her one day after his daughter return home for good after just six months of her marriage: “The deep water of the stream I think I have crossed but the shallow waters of my daughter’s tears seem impossible to cross”.

They said the dialogues in the story are crisp and punctuated with the undertones of grief and pain. A dialogue between the farmer when he was young and his mother also drew the attention of critics. The son asks his mother why it is so that many others [influential ] landlords cross the stream without letting their clothes wet while he often gets breathless while attempting to cross it even in the prime of his age.

She replies that they do not swim across rather they cross the stream sitting over the shoulders of many like him. But the inevitable happens and he in a preoccupied condition gets in the waters of the stream and drowns like a sinking stone. Mohsin Sheikh also read out his poem on the occasion.


Istaara Writers Club