Saturday, June 4, 2011

Raheemuddin, my friend; writes Muslim Saleem

Holland se aaya mera dost, bloggers salaam karo
Bhopal: June 3, 2011
Asma Farooq, Rebecca, Raheemuddin and Muslim Saleem at Bhopal Railway station on June 3, 2011

Muslim Saleem and Raheemuddin at Bhopal Railway station on June 3, 2011
It was a historic and emotional reunion between old time pals Raheemuddin and Muslim Saleem at Bhopal railway station from 10.05 to 10.15 pm on Friday, June 3, 2011. Raheemuddin and Muslim Saleem were very fast friend during their schooldays at AMU City School and then Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh. They were together in the school till 1970. After joining the university, Raheemuddin branched out to commerce while Muslim Saleem went to the Art Faculty and therefore, the frequency of meetings dwindled, but not the brotherly affection. In 1974, Muslim Saleem moved to Allahabad and then Bhopal in 1979 and settled there. In the meantime, Raheemuddin settled in Holland. Since 1974, there has been no correspondence between the two. About seven months ago, Muslim Saleem received a call from Holland. The caller was none other than the old pal Raheemuddin. It was after almost 36 years that the two friends talked to each other on mobile phone. It was almost a miracle. Raheemuddin had asked every common acquaintance about Muslim Saleem’s whereabouts but to no avail. However, Raheemuddin, a very determined person, did not lose hope and started searching Muslim Saleem in google. About 40 years ago, Raheemuddin had recognised the literary and poetic potential of Muslim Saleem, though it was in its nascent state. He had firm belief that Muslim Saleem will scale great height and some day his entry will be made in some website or blog. He kept surfing Muslim Saleem’s name until he found some entries on the websites and Muslim Saleem’s own websites,, and From one of these websites Raheemuddin obtained Muslim Saleem’s mobile number and gave him a big surprise by dialling him from Holland.
About four days ago, Raheemuddin rang up and told Muslim Saleem that he will pass through Bhopal by AP Express from Nagpur on way to Aligarh and asked for a meeting at the railway station. The historic occasion came at 10.05 pm at Bhopal railway station when the two fast friends were reunited. Raheemuddin, his daughter Rebecca and a relative were given a warm welcome by Muslim Saleem, his wife Asma Farooq and elder son Ataullah Faizan by garlanding them. The train left at 10.15, leaving a long trail of old memories.
Muslim Saleem and Raheemuddin came together when they joined class VI of AMU City School, Aligarh. Raheemuddin’s well-to-do family lived at Dubey ki Padao. They had a shop on the roadside while their four-storey house was somewhat deep in the alley. Muslim Saleem lived in Qazi Para. He was undergoing financial as well emotional strains. At that time, Raheemuddin gave moral support to Muslim Saleem. Whatever poetry Muslim Saleem wrote, Raheemuddin memorised it and scribbled some of them on pieces of paper. His appreciation was a great boost to Muslim Saleem’s literary quests. Muslim Saleem used to frequent Raheemuddin’s house and they share most of their off-school time. Raheemuddin also visited Muslim Saleem’s dilapidated house and was doted by his mother Mrs Umme Habiba Begum like her own son.
I am writing these lines only 30 minutes after Raheemuddin’s train left Bhopal railway station. The emotions expressed between these lines have come right from the heart and that is why one will find a great flow in these words. It is hoped that process of out meetings, correspondence and phone calls will never cease now. (Muslim Saleem: June 3, 2011)

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