1. What impressions of Shahid do you gather from the piece?
Ans. Shahid was a Kashmiri by birth but settled in America. He was an academician, a learned and popular teacher of English literature. He himself was a creative writer, a poet. His voice was at once lyrical and disciplined. His students almost worshipped him. Though a Muslim, he had a secular outlook. He believed in separation of politics and religious beliefs. In his childhood, he had set up a small temple of Hindu gods in his own room. He never used his pen for political propaganda. He was very lively and open-hearted. He was a great fan of Begum Akhtar and old Hindi films. He loved parties and Kashmiri dishes like rogan josh. The life of such a promising poet was cut short by a cancerous tumour in his brain.
2. How do Shahid and the writer react to the knowledge that Shahid is going to die?
Ans. Shahid had his first sudden blackout in February 2000. Tests revealed that he had a brain tumour. He underwent several operations and therapy treatment of cancer, but he could not get well. Shahid spoke to the writer about his approaching death in 2001. He had occasional lapses of memory, but he was still on his feet. He said that he wasn’t dying. But when it happened, he (the writer) must write something about him. Shahid never felt depressed and he died in America while he was asleep. His death shocked the writer deeply. His friendship with Shahid was brief, but his death left a big void in his life.
3. Find out the meaning of diaspora. What do you understand of the Indian diaspora from the piece?
Ans. The word ‘diaspora’ means dispersion or migration of people or communities from one country to another. Shahid was a Kashmiri diaspora in the sense he had moved off to America and settled down there. He was an expatriate from Kashmir.