It is sometimes sad to know that readers (most of them) only remember Ismat Chughtai for 'Lihaaf' or 'The Quilt'. She has written a lot more and the 'more' is even more interesting than 'Lihaaf'. I remember the first time I was introduced to her works. I had turned twenty-three and my friend had taken me to watch a play, 'Manto Ismat Hazir Hain' produced by Motley, - which featured two short stories by Manto, a story by Chughtai and an essay by her as well with reference to the court trial that almost got both the writers imprisoned in the 1940s for so-called 'obscenity' in their writing.
I was mesmerized after watching the play. The urge to know more of her and read more works by her was immense. I had read a bit of Manto earlier, however Chughtai took my attention and held it there. Prithvi theatre bookshop was the ideal place to find her books, though translated in Hindi (now I cannot read Urdu. I only wish I can someday). I remember reading almost all of her books, except her memoirs, 'Kaghazi hai Pairahan' which I ultimately did. I did struggle a bit as I do not read so many books in Hindi (and am not proud of the fact). The beauty of the language was brilliant. The words used to describe her life from early childhood to being a mother and a wife and a famous writer before all of that resonated way after finishing
01:45 PM, Apr 18, 2012