Those were the days! I was at peace with myself, a contented young man, as someone has said and said it beautifully; it was "a blessing greater than riches; and he to whom that is given need ask no more." Living on the sixth floor, of a twin building overlooking sea watching ships sailing on calm seas were sobering to mind and heart. Lost in reveries- having a pleasant dream-like thoughts, I often felt at the top of the world. Sometimes, in one of the flats in the building, it was lovely to taste poetry and literature in the evenings in the company of some of the giants of literature. The flat owned by Dr. Zoe Ansari, an intellectual and men of letters on many evenings came to life with big names in literature- some I had read and some I had heard about, filling every inch of space in his drawing room-cum-library. Despite, feeling dwarf before these luminaries hearing them in their lively moments were intellectually stimulating. Zoe Ansari belonged to a great galaxy of progressive writers that included Krishan Chander, Ismat Chugtai, Ali Sardar Jafri, Sahir Ludhianvi, Kaifi Azmi, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas and Rajinder Singh Bedi. Living, in the neighborhood of a linguist, a scholar, a writer and a critic was rewarding in as much as, I came to know some of them personally.
The city that I knew as a teenager for my favorite matinee idols Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand and great actresses Madhubala and Meena Kumari unfolded for me in a different avatar, a place of great poets, writers, and journalists. In fact, during those days of sparse communication links, an occasional trunk call, and a fortnightly letter connected me to the home. I was almost disconnected to the political situation back home; it was only an occasion single column news in a newspaper or chat with friends in the press club that connected me to the political situation in the State.
For quite some time, the barrack type press club which was almost at walking distance from my office in Fort area had become my noontime rendezvous. It was on one such afternoon, in March 1984, I was relishing my favorite chicken soup with a friend that a journalist informed us that two Congress leaders from the state Mufti Mohammad Syed and Ghulam Nabi Azad are talking to journalists in the adjacent room. Minus a chance meeting with Mufti Mohammad Syed in 1976, during student days and having seen Azad as a frequent visitor to the Arts Block on the campus, I had no introduction to the two Congress leaders. Their presence in the press club did not arouse any curiosity in me. I chose to relish my soup. Once, they finished talking to the newsmen; I saw most of the journalists leaving the room with a bunch of strips of black and white photographs in their hands. Before, we asked journalists what the leaders said a friend jumped over the table and said, 'Congress will see Farooq Abdullah axed for having joined hands with pro-Pakistan Molvi Farooq and his allegiance with the Kashmir Liberation Front in Pakistan.' Out of curiosity, I asked him to show me the pictures. In one of the pictures, Farooq Abdullah was administering an oath to a bespectacled Liberation Front leader Abdul Khaliq Ansari, with Mohammad Maqbool Bhat looking on. In another picture, Farooq Abdullah taking oath from Amanullah Khan and another picture published in Quaid, an Urdu newspaper from Azad Kashmir Farooq was seen welcomed by the supporters of the Liberation Front.
One of the journalist friends convinced about the dismissal of Farooq government said, the B….. will be punished for spurning alliance with the Congress in the election.