Inappropriate as it may sound, I have always been fascinated by Zaidi’s death, particularly by his apparent decision to end himself. Perhaps a sub-conscious death wish in me finds this such an alluring case. In real terms, Pakistan lost a fine civil servant and an unsung poet whose stature could be belittled only by a society as dysfunctional as ours. I have followed his path: in Dera Ghazi Khan, where he served as the sub-divisional magistrate; in the medieval resort of Fort Munroe, where he spent his summer, working away and composing verse; and all the places in the inimitable Murree hills. I have had a chance to stay in proximity of where he lived in Murree. For years, I have studied him in order to appreciate the intricacies of his inner universe. Would I be melodramatic in proclaiming that during this Zaidi trail, I have heard the echoes of his anguish, observed flashes of his infinite genius and traces of his apparent hedonism?
Wherever I have been, culturally endowed locals ascribe the following couplet to the houses in which he lived:
“Traverse these stones, if you can, to reach me
The path to my house is not studded by a galaxy.”