Love Letters To Icons: Barbra Sharif

There are countless female icons that have coloured our history and left a lasting impression on us with their talent, charisma and presence. Every week, Ammaar – known on Instagram as ammaavocado – will be sharing his letter of love and admiration to some of these inspiring women. This week it’s to the bold and beautiful, Babra Sharif.

Beloved Babra,

There’s very little that I’ve understood, in pursuit of understanding what I feel. I’ve realized that most things that I wish for myself will never be mine and that’s what will keep me alive. I am not saying that I am not worthy of your love, what I’m saying is that your love must live unfelt. There needs to be something still left to say, or done, or experienced.

That’s how we felt when you retired Babra. I’m not suggesting that your departure was an unwise impulsive decision. But what I mean is that we still needed more. We still wished you here. And by ‘we’ I mean my mother, my aunt, and everyone who still fills up with joy when speaking of your grace.

Babra, there is much for us to give up when we give up in our prime. When everyone wants us to truly live the best versions of ourselves, but we decide to have our last memory be of our glory. That’s perhaps why retired aswell. Perhaps your last memory has also been of your glory and not how that glory was taken from you.

Babra, all I know is love, and the ways in which it undoes us. All I know is that one can sacrifice anything for one’s love; her career, her life, everything she worked towards, to be where she is. It is not easy ofcourse. Especially when you come from a family like mine. Where everyone can not afford anything or even the things that could allow a luxury but only afford a meal and some joy that isn’t as expensive to force us into a night with no meal on the table. In a life like this, the only luxury that can be afforded at any time is love. It is for us, but not ours. It requires sacrifice even if we have the least to sacrifice.

If I’m being honest, I do not care how the world will end, all I care is whether I’ll be next to the people I love when it does. And so in love, the excitement is the mystery of it all; who can we love enough to make them live our last moments with us. I do not want your love. the thing about seeing an issue in the function of your heart is that it is something I cannot change myself. I cannot change the inherent thoughts and feelings I have, I can’t change how doubt seeps in to consume any hope I can slither for myself.

I imagine you were all hope in your time, when you were known as ‘Jet powder girl’ back in the 70s. I can imagine you, rubbing your palms in angst and imagining every possibility that could make you the queen of the industry. I can imagine you, and your eager heart, ready to walk into whatever glory the future had for you.

For someone who dreamt of her stardust since she was a child, it’s sinful to imagine that you would one day, give it all up. I surely cannot imagine that. And so I believe that this decision too, was made in the moment. It was not a decision made for any selfish reason but for reasons that most of us won’t understand. For me, it’s hard to explain why I’m still writing, Babra. After the excessive criticism I faced and still do face, anyone with any sense would have given up. But for me it was a sin to even consider that. Partly because of the work I wanted to do for this breed of art but also because of what it made me feel. The excitement, the adrenaline. On days there was nothing else, writing stayed for me. And I imagine acting to have done that for you.

And in this way, my sin became my virtue. My God tells me to break, so that someone I love can stay whole. And so I realize, your love must remain beyond my reach and it must remain only something I can wish and imagine of. Because that’s what love has always been for me; a fantasy. Something I wished for all my life but never thought about what I could do when I had it.



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