Yusufi Sahab - Impossible to Duplicate!

No use praising him! Adjectives seem inadequate, words fail. But, his prose is definitely superlative. When somebody remarked that his prose is the best since Ghalib, at first you get upset, and start to compare with others! But, incredibly, you do get defeated. I am not agreeing that yes, he was the best in humorous prose after Ghalib, since some of his chunks do sound a bit engineered. But, if there is somebody better than him, then you’d have to use spade to dig him out!

Actually, Yusufi sahab’s style of humorous prose was such that you’d need a theatrical interval of, say, ‘Iago aside’ type in Shakespeare. You have to lighten your mind while talking shop! Don’t read his chapters one after the other, or they weigh down on you. It’s better to read one episode, and close the book. Another chapter next afternoon. Some chunks of his are like trying to fit in too much fun in paragraphs.

Of course, Yusufi sahab has a knack of describing a common-looking scene from his very acute angle. In Zarguzisht, an account of his days at Agha Hasan Abedi sahab’s controversial bank in England, BCCI, he typically uses a lingo full of banking terms. The way he describes his everyday occurrences in the bank, brings out not only the greed and venom of the moneyed class, but, at the same time, he produces humour and satire with a finesse that would be impossible to achieve in a limited time scale.

Wandering into his alley, you find there’s no other street to the left or right of him. His style isn’t to be copied or learned. It’s either there, and then mastered, or not there at all. Therefore, in more than a century, there was just one Yusufi!