Love Letters To Icons: Naheed Akhtar

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 Naheed Akhtar, a woman with an unforgettable voice.

Dearest Naheed,

In a world with so much grief to consume, there is very little love for us to wrap our arms around. I am in a part of time where sorrow has begun its slow climb as the nights become longer and colder than they were before. Winters have never been my favorite season, partly because, how brutally they have robbed me of those I loved, leaving me with nothing but scarred palms and a busted lip. But also because they always make me beg for warmth.

Naheed, I will be talking about love in this letter; I will talk about the ways we sacrifice in the name of love and how love can outweigh anything else that may hold any significance in our life.

But first, let me tell the reader, why I love you, the way I love you. Naheed, your glory is unparalleled, your desire for music, your dedication and understanding for music.

You retired in your prime, those who loved you wished you back and those who didn’t anticipated your return. Everyone knew of your greatness, and they knew the heights that greatness could climb to. Which made your departure even more jarring.

You know this as you found love when you took a ‘break’ from singing back in 1986. Your official retirement was announced in 1991. Everyone was shunned silent by your sudden farewell to the showbiz industry. Initially you seeked nothing but a moment of silence from all the noise of not just music but also of the people who would hear their hearts scream the name of their lovers as your voice would be poured into them.

You fell in love, Naheed. You fell in love with Asif Ali Pota; A writer, journalist, and just Asif to you. You fell for his words first, and the way he could mould them into feelings. You fell for him in an interview, you told us this back in 2005, when every prayer that was sent to the sky was for you to come back to singing.

And then you did come back, in 2013, and everyone hung their galloping mouths as you poured your music into them once more.

Naheed, I’m glad you retired in your glory, I’m glad that you were wanted when you decided to farewell. There is a mercy in knowing that you could’ve been like those you saw fall from grace. There is a gratitude in knowing that the people that loved you, will always love you, and there will always be someone waiting for you to return

Naheed, I want to sacrifice this part of the letter for love. I want to sacrifice, once more, as I did countless times before. To sacrifice another thing in the name of that which is not ours and which may never be.

Naheed, you left everything after you met Asif, and I know how that feels, how it feels to be reckless. To sacrifice everything for someone and ask nothing in return. No one asks us for this sacrifice, but we willingly make it because it offers a closure that is inexplicably satisfying. I gave a girl everything I had, Naheed; money I didn’t have, time I couldn’t waste, love she didn’t deserve. In my story, Naheed, I am left wounded and cold. In my story, I learn the difference between crying and weeping; if crying is stepping on shards of glass, weeping is a dog lost in the forest.

I’m glad your story ended differently. I’m glad it ended in the light and not in the darkness. I am glad that your glory breeds musicians like Natasha Noorani and so many others, who will always call you their idol even if they’re glory never reaches the same grace as yours.



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