Zaheer Akhtar and I became close friends during my law college days in Lahore. We both were from Jhelum but didn’t know each other. The bike I rode in Lahore, had a Jhelum-issued registration number. I didn’t have any friend in the college and I used to leave college soon after the classes. One day when I was about to leave, he stopped me near the gate and asked me, “Are you from Jhelum?” The answer to that question made us good friends.
He lived with a joint family. All his elder brothers and their wives lived in one large three-storied house. His brothers owned a dairy and a transport business. Zaheer, being the youngest, was favorite of the whole family and was never short of cash. I would often go to Zaheer’s house to enjoy homemade meals. Whenever I was tired of eating food prepared by my cook, I would visit Zaheer’s house.
Zaheer was not a book person. I never saw a single book in his house except the course books, which he rarely opened. One summer afternoon, we both stopped by Rahat Bakery at The Mall to get drinks. I entered a nearby bookshop and found a very nice book on love and relationships. I wanted to buy the book but the price tag was beyond my budget at that time. I hit a cunning idea. I made my mind to convince Zaheer to buy the book and then borrow it from him. I knew Zaheer would not even read the book even after I am done with it.
Now I had to convince a non-book person to buy a book on love and relationship. I started telling him that the book had won many awards and it’s a must have in everyone’s library. He was not moved. Then I told him that it would improve his vocabulary to a great deal and he would do good in law exams. He showed a little interest in the book and started seeing the front cover. Playing my final card, I told him that the book is all about befriending girls and romancing with them. Zaheer agreed and bought the book. Then I took him to my apartment, made him sit in my room and watch a movie while I finished the book in my tv lounge. Zaheer didn’t read the book, but also didn’t get any idea about my mischief.