Athar Masood is a well known personality among music lovers. He often writes about the issues and problems relating to music industry in our region. Recently, he has authored a travelogue, Chandigarh Tak, which describes details of his visit to Chandigarh, India, for attending the 37th Sangeet Sammelan. It is a music journey and its story starts with the invitation of Navjeevan Khosla to Pakistani artistes on Sangeet Sammelan at Indian National Theatre (INT). Khosla came to Lahore with Indian artistes to attend the annual music programme at Sanjan Nagar Institute of Philosophy and Arts (SIPA), Lahore where musicians from both India and Pakistan performed. At the end of the event, Khosla invited Athar and other artists to participate in the Indian National Theatre event.
The preparation of going to India started and the author faced hardly any trouble getting an Indian visa, all because the management of SIPA. On the day of departure the author along with Qasim Jafri, Dr Ghazala Irfan, Rasheeda, Sadia and Iram set on their journey through Wagha Border. On crossing the border they came to know that it was a Diwali day and from the very start of their journey they got the opportunity to amuse themselves with Diwali celebrations. They observed the customs and norms of the areas which were on their way to Chandigarh. Shops of sweets and gifts were open. They took short breaks to refresh and amuse themselves with the festive atmosphere all around. People dressed especially for Diwali were busy enjoying the occasion.
When they reached Chandigarh they were received warmly by Khoslas at their house in Panchkula, a beautiful small town in Haryana near Chandigarh. Navjeevan Khosla is the President of the Indian National Theatre. He is a retired officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and is very keen about sub-continental music. Besides he has special association with Lahore because he obtained his masters degree in English literature from Government College, Lahore in early 1940s. Khosla says that he is proud of being the student of (late) Prof. Patras Bukhari.
The 37th Chandigarh Sangeet Sammelan was a three-day event which started in a simple and dignified manner on Friday. What was interesting for the author was that in three days session the first two held in the evening and the concluding session started a little before noon on Sunday and ended in early afternoon. During these three days a lot of performances were made. Special lunch in honour of all performing artists and the guests from Pakistan had been arranged by INT on Saturday at Hotel Aroma. This hotel bears historic value because famous national and International personalities had stayed in that hotel. Besides, the first airline, taxi service, flower shop and the courier company offices were also opened in this hotel. Taking lunch in this hotel was a wonderful experience and was a very good opportunity to meet and converse with the artistes and people.
In leisure, Khosla Sahib made them visit many places and took them to different restaurants. One of those places was Rock Garden. It was an amazing place made by Nek Chand with the waste of industrial and home thrown-away items. The garden is most famous for its sculptures made from recycled ceramic. Now it has become a full fledged park. At the end of three days session on October 27, the author along with other colleagues set back to Pakistan .
Chandigarh Tak is a light hearted book of 95 pages which can be read in a single sitting. The book imparts lots of information about the culture and tradition of Indian families. It is published by Fiction House and costs only Rs. 300.