First of all, this is messed up.
There’s no other way to put it: Sajid Hussain has suddenly vanished. Where to? Nobody knows. Not even the otherwise proficient Swedish Police say they have a clue. What is going on? Where is Sajid Hussain?
For a people who is used to having people go missing and never showing up, these are rightly emotional times. The saddest part is that Sajid’s disappearance comes as a shock to all but not too much a surprise, as normally such a case would do.
Sajid Hussain is the best our generation has to offer. There is no comparison. You ask anyone who has met, spoken to or read Sajid, they’ll say one thing about him: The man is incredible.
In 2012, I read an article in The News International about a ruthless drug lord and how he silently dealt with his rivals. I knew the story, but it was the first time I was reading about it. It was so powerfully written that each word made me feel like I was reading it out loud to myself. The story was exactly how I had heard it years ago. But the storytelling was something I had never experienced before.
The piece was written by Sajid. I knew him, and knew he could write, but didn’t know he could write so well. The article moved me so much that I decided to go and meet him.
I travelled to Oman and we met. That day, a taxi driver had scolded him throughout his ride for closing the door too hard while jumping on to sit in the back seat. The man would just not stop yelling at him. “What did you do?” I sniggered. “Nothing,” Sajid replied, “I kept listening to him till we reached.”.
We spent the day talking about everything we had thought of until that point in life. The next morning, he did something to me that nobody had ever done before. He made a hungover me sit down and read a book. He sat next to me, doing exactly what he asked me to do. Next thing, I was deep into the first chapter when someone knocked the door to ask for me. It was Ali Jan Dad, the poet.
As special as I felt at that moment for someone like Dad to come and ask for me, I didn’t want to leave. That morning, I ditched Ali Jan Dad. And didn’t feel guilty about it.
I finished the book on my return from the trip. It was the first book I had finished in years. I found myself a changed man, or someone who now wanted to see things beyond the tunnel. It wasn’t because of the book, but the experience that was so new and powerful to me. And the man attached to the experience, was already someone I looked up to.
In the following years, Sajid and I grew closer to a point where we did not feel the need to talk or explain things to one another. He understood me. I understood his work. He understood everything that I needed or wanted to understand. He once asked what I wanted to become? “A storyteller”’ I replied without skipping a beat. “You already are one,” he said, “I like the way you see.”. It was the best thing I had heard someone say about me.
Sajid has taught me it’s okay to be emotional and not be emotional about it. Maybe that explains his honesty towards people’s emotions. Thing about him is that he cannot lie, even if you told him to.
The love has not faded. He takes turns in being the elder brother and then the youngest of all. He will guide if you ask him to and obey if you yelled at him.
At one point, my life’s purpose was to impress Sajid with my writings, to see if he liked the stories I wrote, or if he still liked me as a friend. His attention made me feel special and had me jumping up the hill looking for creative ideas.
Sajid loves creativity. As if it is the only thing he searches for all day wherever he is. One day, he published a piece I wrote and texted me back:
“What an ending! What a fucking line! How did you come up with that?” he said, I felt like kissing his mouth that day.
So much irreplaceable love. We would talk about each other’s weaknesses. Not in a sense of writing, but weaknesses that were so strong as feelings that we could not write about them. I once disclosed to him why I couldn’t write about missing persons. I told him everytime I wanted to, I just could not. “Have you cried enough on it?” he asked.
The dead did not haunt him as much as the missing did. It is his mantra to change the world; one word at a time.
Sajid is a man you would go to if someone, say, went missing in Sweden. He would come up with the most logical and practical advice in the room. Things like that. The crazier the event, the more unshaken the man.
The last time I spoke to him was the day before he disappeared. “Are you happy?” I asked. “Never been happier,” he replied, and then I didn’t let him speak. I should’ve let him. I didn’t know.
I am lost. I don’t even know whether to mention him in the present tense or the past. Normally he would be the one to correct it.
I cannot think of where he might be. What is he doing right now? Has he eaten? Sajid would not eat if such a thing happened. He would lose his appetite. Is he alright? Where is he? For the first time in recent life, I don’t know where my mentor is.
All I know is Sajid must not go.
Not now, not ever. Sajid is the best we have and the best I have known. He must not go. I don’t know what else to say. I want to talk to Sajid about this. I want to tell him all that is happening.
Well, Sajid, here it is. I have finally cried enough and am writing on the subject. I hope you like it.