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Irshad Akbar



Colour photograph of Irshad Akbar sitting with his fathers Chillum/ pipe.
Irshad with his father's old 'chilum' © Carl Rose

I have many small mementoes of my father that I keep safely. They include his wrist watch, certificates for safe driving awards and newspaper cuttings when he was praying on the bus in 1971. However, the 'chilum' (pipe) is one that I will always treasure. In the early sixties, when I was a young boy, my father used to sit with his friends talking together about old times, their likes, dislikes, fears and hopes for the future. He used to get the tobacco from a pouch, rub it gently between the palms of his hands and then pour it into the neck of a metal tube. He would light the tobacco and it would then be circulated round his group of friends. We were never allowed to touch the tobacco, however my brothers and I would take it in turns to fetch and carry the 'chilum' when my father requested it.