TRIBUTE: Remembering Hollywood’s Jan Sahab

  • Naseer Ganai
  • Publish Date: Feb 5 2018 1:49AM
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  • Updated Date: Feb 5 2018 1:49AM
TRIBUTE: Remembering Hollywood’s Jan Sahab

He always wore a smile and he will forever be missed

In the autumn of 2016, if anyone would have entered the Hollywood restaurant in Lal Chowk, he would have found himself in a different world. Reporters working with various papers would frequent the place at the end of day’s work and engage in all sorts of discussions which had nothing to do with the Hollywood. The place had become a sort of a press club for journalists, especially for print reporters of the Valley.

Over multiple cups of tea, they would freely discuss all issues – from all the crap that was being written about Kashmir to the impact of the changing world order on Kashmir. They would talk about China, America, India, and add Kabul as well to create more impact. Without Kabul, no discussion looks intellectual enough! In the process, no chair or table would remain in its original place.

Many of us who had read Lawrence Wright, Joby Warrick and other stuff would talk about ideological drift and I would look outside the window feeling satisfied that Srinagar has changed in the past one hour when I entered the restaurant.

One day I was surprised to find some of my colleagues passionately explaining to a journalist from New Delhi how the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a game changer and how it would help this region.  The restaurant staff, as usual, was least interest in this intellectual talk. They would serve tea without making any fuss.

Surprisingly, Jan Sahab, the owner of the restaurant, never bothered what these CPEC enthusiasts did to the chairs and the tables of his restaurant. The restaurant is in the second floor and Jan Sahab was always on the ground floor. He never bothered about the chaos upstairs! We would arrange tables and chairs the way we liked. And no one asked us whether we were allowed to do it or not.

Looking back, I feel it was nothing but affection of Jan Sahab towards us that he allowed us for years to use his restaurant the way we liked. At times we would leave the restaurant without paying bills, presuming someone among us would pay. But Jan Sahab took these aberrations with a smile. He wouldn’t even remind us the next day about previous day’s unpaid bill. 

Since his sudden death, I have not visited the restaurant. It pains to even look at the restaurant now. It wouldn’t be the same again without him around, at least not for us who have been regular to the restaurant for the past so many years not only for having food and tea but also for filing stories.

Naseer Ganai, 

Senior Journalist,