“People think I am a writer,’ he would say, ‘and when they think that they are missing the point. I write things down but the writing is just a tool. It’s nothing more than ink arranged over a surface of wood pulp. If they had real insight, they would see that I am really a basket-weaver. I have always told you that, Tahir Jan. I take reeds from the river that have been nurtured by fresh water and grown in good soil, and I turn them into baskets, a product that has so many uses. I know how to make baskets from something so simple because my father taught me, and his father taught him.
“Make baskets of your own,’ he would say; ‘make them all kinds of shapes and colours. But never forget that your baskets are made of something that is there for anyone to cut and use. And never imagine that you created the reeds yourself. You are only the person who shapes them into something that can be of use to others.”