A collection of poems ‘No Place for Good’, by a 12-year-old Abdullah bin Zubair, student of DPS Srinagar, was released in a function organized by valley’s reputed publishing house Jay Kay Books.The function was held at Shahenshah Hotel located on Boulevard road.Talking about his book, Abdullah said, “It all started when I was 8 years old. I remember in 2016 our schools were closed and I was confined to home, tired of lockdown.

I started to jot down my feelings and observations in the form of poems. I found that I can write. I kept writing poems, without any idea that one day these poems will take the shape of a book. By the end of 2019, I had a reasonable number of poems on my laptop. That’s when the idea of compiling my best poems in a book struck me. Fast forward to 2021, amid this pandemic and finally, my book has arrived.

”Abdullah said that he started reading books written by his mother, Prof. Syeda Afshana like Backyard of Corpses and Fugitive Sunshine. “My mother’s books were based on true stories and I liked them,” he said.Pertinently, the foreword of the book is written by one of the renowned poets and art critic of India Ranjit Hoskote and the cover illustration has been contributed by Delhi based eminent multimedia artist Ranbir Kaleka.

The blurb of the book has been authored by renowned poet and writer Mushtaque B Barq.Among others who graced the occasion were eminent cardiologist and columnist, Prof U Kaul, noted humorist and writer Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a prominent poet and writer Mushtaque B Barq, Chief Patron Urdu Fiction Writers Guild Wehshi Syed, noted film director and writer Faruq Masudi and luminary scholar Abdul Rehman Bhat.

The family members of Abdullah including his parents Dr Zubair Saleem and Prof Syeda Afshana were also present.Abdullah said that he started exploring his creativity when he was 5-6 years old.Abdullah said that his reading interest was piqued by the stories of Mayal Khairabadi, Aesop, Hans Christian Anderson and Ruskin Bond.Abdullah said that after starting writing poems at the age of 8 in 206, his poems were published in an online literary magazine called indianculutralforum.com.

“I gradually moved to authors like Leo Tolstoy, Mitch Albom, Agha Shahid Ali, Franz Kafka and Paulo Coelho. Further, I started reviewing books including Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which were then published in reputed newspapers,” he said.With a keen interest in film-making, Abdullah won the first prize for the best short film ‘Lockdown Phir Se’ in a film making competition at his school in 2020.

He also has a Youtube channel on which he posts short videos.In his congratulatory message, Vijay Dhar (Pro Vice-Chairman DPS, Srinagar), said, “It is a matter of great pride for DPS Srinagar that Abdullah-bin-Zubair is releasing his book of poems. My Blessings.”In the forward of the book, Ranjit Hoskote has observed, “I was taken aback to hear the thrum of violence even in poems that dwell on perfectly everyday moments: you speak of how truth vanishes, even as a printed word, leaving only ‘ruth’ behind on the page; as a reader, I am reminded by this word of ‘ruthless’, a word that defines the atrocities we suffer.

In another poem, you speak of how anger and boredom can spill over into mayhem: a drawing becomes an act of brutalisation. You speak to the tragic nature of our times. And yet, I find that I can also read your poems as I would read the poems of any young person arriving at key moments in life – a young person discovering friendship and alienation, distance and inwardness, exterior noise and inward silence; someone who turns to creative expression despite all that is stacked against it.

”Talking about the book, Mushtaque B Barq remarked, “I am thrilled to see such in-depth analysis of the surroundings by a child as young as 8 years when he started writing the poems. Abdullah is a gifted child and a poet and parental involvement aided with serious teaching are the fundamentals to create history. Abdullah has not only uplifted the tempo of the upcoming generation but has also opened doors for his contemporaries.

”On the occasion, Prof U Kaul said, “I congratulate everyone as this is a moment of pride for us to have among us a 12-year-old poet, a wonderful Abdullah. The poems in his book are sensitively written. I read these poems three times and I suggest everyone should read this book. The narrations are in mystical language, the words in poems show us the three-dimensional pictures. The poems are full of sorrow but still hold hope. Abdullah has beautifully crafted the poems and I congratulate him and his family.

”Zareef Ahmad Zareef said that “our future generations need to read and learn for their better future.”Emphasising the power of the pen, Zareef called “pen” the ultimate sword of power. “Children should get inspiration from Abdullah for writing at such a young age.” He also emphasized the importance of Kashmiri language.Wehshi Syed, sharing his thoughts about the book said, “I am thrilled to see the book of poems by such a young author.

The poems are lucid and clear and I wish Abdullah the best for his future”.In his speech, Abdullah said, “I think there are 4 important steps to become a writer: One is reading, the second listening, third absorbing and thinking over what you have read, and lastly putting all that into words. That’s writing. It seems like a simple process but I believe it’s complex. It needs patience and passion. The flow of writing comes gradually as you keep reading, listening and thinking.”The proceedings of the function were conducted by Mushtaque Barq, while the vote of thanks was presented by Sheikh Waseem of Jay Kay books.

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