Featured Interviews - Mr. Imran Saqib
Finding Sanity in Insanity- “Losing it-Tales of Karachi”

Having graduated in 2004 with a BBA and MBA in finance from IBA, followed by another master in HR from the George Washington University, Imran Saqib has been teaching at the IBA since 2007. He primarily teaches HR courses at the IBA and is one of the leading figures who have helped in establishing HR as a recent major for the BBA program. Apart from having a laudable student life and a satisfactory career, Imran Saqib has recently added another feather to his cap: he has published a book of short stories spanning and exploring characters from Karachi.


Karachi, Pakistan's heat as called by many is the most maddening yet strangely sorted cities of Pakistan. It drives you mad and yet you're driven mad once you’re away from it. This paradoxical relation that Karachiites generally have with the city is explored and presented in 'Losing it-Tales of Karachi.' According to Imran Saqib, he has been writing short stories from a very young age. Initially he wanted to pursue literature after A' Levels but instead opted for doing his BBA and MBA on his father’s advice which in retrospect he feels was a wise decision. Saqib however has never been able to fully satisfy his thirst for writing and making his work public until recently.

 

The trend for hardcover publishing has been on the decline since the world turned to digitized versions of books available through platforms like Kindle and Amazon. This is fast re-shaping reading habits. When Saqib got the opportunity to publish his book through a small UK publisher he jumped at the idea even though it was only through digital formats. Saqib commented on his views on writing, "My writing is driven by the realization that we need to document personal and professional stories and histories. Our society has unique yet fascinating personal, corporate and social issues, which are usually forgotten over time. Lack of documentation prevents future generations from gaining valuable insights about the social, business and professional contexts which may have existed in times past but they are still relevant for understanding our society. Both my short stories as well as case studies are aimed at making this tacit knowledge and experience explicit and at giving voice to these silent characters." Saqib's primary inspiration for this compilation of short stories came from the drive to document the issues faced in Karachi through a narrative. "Regardless of the critical or commercial reception of the work, such stories and characters become real and become part of documented consciousness and history which I think is very important."


The literary piece is an accumulation of his observations and ideas for the last several years. Saqib borrowed his characters and events from glimpses of real-life and real people he met. When asked about his inspiration about the characters he explained, "One character in the book can be an manifestation of more than twenty people that I might have known or met whose life experiences and personalities I borrowed to form my characters." The book delves into the lives of people through six stories and six characters, all on the edge of frustration- on the verge of "Losing It". These people have been driven to this point by their life in Karachi, its happenings, its tensions, its vagaries, it’s sudden-ness, and its often unrealistic expectations from its dwellers. Yet there is comfort in the familiarity of people on the city streets and the familiarity it holds for them. The city is a paradox- a spectrum of tensions and comfort at the same time. Feelings of anxiety and excitement, fear and happiness, familiarity and change interplay at the same time to relieve the frustration and the madness felt by the characters in the book- and on a broader level by the citizens of the city. Yet most of them are resilient enough to find a way out.


Saqib has a commendable collection of stories, from which this book only offers six. More can be expected in future. Saqib looks back at the journey and praises IBA which has nurtured both creative and intellectual growth. The two year study leave to the US to purse a Masters through the Fulbright program was a great opportunity which allowed Saqib to experience the world, and observe it through a varied lens which also added to his creative juices. For the near future, Saqib doesn’t see himself as a full-time story teller he would rather teach which is his passion and a force that drives him to wake up and get out of bed every morning.

 

In fact he says that one can always be a story teller, regardless of whatever profession or stage of life he or she is in. For Saqib, every person is an author, who has at the least one story to tell. Building on the same point, he urges every one, and especially the IBA alumni, to document their experiences, in whatever field they might be, and share them with the IBA fraternity and society at large. These experiences may range from being a good boss to dealing with a bad boss to working with an angry team member to negotiating with a difficult labor union. Anything and everything should be recorded, because documentation will allow future leaders to learn from the first hand experiences and be a guiding path for both teachers and students to understand the local environment and mould students to meet the challenges in the same manner.


Moreover, he urges students to develop a habit of writing and both real and fictional works. These stories, ideas, thoughts and experiences should be shared through publications, blogs, websites, or just be a personal record. He concluded the interview by commenting, "I remember reading Stephen King's interview and he said that the best writing comes from when you are writing something for yourself without the need of impressing anyone-issues, ideas and thoughts most important to you. As true as that is, the ultimate pleasure as a writer for me is when an audience deems my work worthy of reading and when my thoughts get across to other people."

 

We thank Imran Saqib for his valuable time and wish him best of luck for all future endeavors!
(Losing it-Tales of Karachi- Available in Kindle and Amazon through No trees Publishing- www.notreespublishing.com)


Interview Conducted by:
Taskeen Fatima Lakhani- Alumnus 2012

 

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