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After months at the grind – and I must admit that Nabila, Zain (Mustafa, Project Manager) and Saima (Zaidi, Graphic Designer) were being ground more than anyone else – Nabila launched her L”oreal sponsored book at the Commune Artist’s Colony where she keeps her office. Needless to say, it was an effortlessly elegant affair with everyone in presence to laud her commitment to excellence for more than two decades.

It was an honour to be part of this book, which I texted and edited for Nabila. This means that I wrote as she spoke and I made sure the script would be presented with as much perfection as her work. Someone asked me at the launch whether it was a difficult task and I’d have to respond to that with a yes and no.

It was difficult to deal with Nabila and Zain at the same time, both of them uncompromising task masters when it came to details but in the long run that was, of course, an advantage. Zain, who I dubbed Man Friday for his ability to multi-task to no end, played the perfect role as buffer. He buffed tensions, tempers, tantrums and even words. Sometimes I’d just sit at Nabila’s huge table and think, twiddling my thumbs, that why the hell didn’t he just write the damn thing himself!

Days and days of transcription bore these contained captions and overviews that you see in the book, but it was all so worth it. The net, if I may say so myself, is quite perfect.

This book was a tremendously cathartic experience for Nabila – something she kept comparing to childbirth – and it was born out of endless bowls of soup, sushi and crispy beef courtesy Chairman Mao. The view from her penthouse sea-view apartment was inspiring everyday. And for those of you unaware of her domestic skills, Nabila whips up a fabulous cup of coffee!

It wasn’t easy to bring her life together in a comprehensive 1000 word introduction but at the same time, it was fluid as it really did flow into rhythm very naturally. And it was totally worth it as I finally understood why I was bonding with this fabulous woman. There’s so much more to Nabila than meets the eye, though she generally wants peoples’ vision of her to stop there. But I do hope that this book will inspire people to look beyond…

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