By Fatima Zakir
Fri, 04, 21

I saw it and went back to work. It didn’t matter to me because Strings aren’t going anywhere....


I am not in a good place these days. My work life is messed me up big time. Wondering why? So, it was a usual evening when I was sitting at home, working on my laptop when I started receiving messages from friends asking about a news they had heard. It took a while for WhatsApp to download the picture and during those seconds, I kept wondering what did I do that is circulating on the internet. I mean, why would so many people message me asking about ‘some viral’ news unless it was about me. And then I saw it. Strings had decided to call it quits. No more Strings. They amicably dissolved the band. I saw it and went back to work. It didn’t matter to me because Strings aren’t going anywhere.

Then I started receiving calls. From friends, from distant friends; people wanting to know if I were okay after the news and I simply replied, “I can live the rest of my life with Mera Bichra Yaar”. Even friends I haven’t met in a decade or people I haven’t spoken in ages, messaged me to check on me. It may sound dramatic to you but for some people, like me, Strings was not just a band. Just imagine, even after a decade or more if people hear the word Strings and they remember you… you know it was more than just fan-girl relationship.

The Instagram didn’t give up, either. Everyday there is a post from either Bilal Maqsood or Faisal Kapadia cherishing family time or celebrating togetherness. It was in the morning I saw the post of final band meeting and I knew that was it. I couldn’t take it anymore. I need some catharsis to accept the news. So, this is my attempt at it.

I was a little girl when I fell in love with Strings. And as surprising as it may sound, I still am. It was the time when Strings had their official website and there was a forum on it for fans to interact. If you were a regular at the forum, you would be promoted to admin. I was amongst those people who were promoted to the admin of that forum. It was a big deal when we were in school. We were admins of official Strings website! There, we made friends. The fellow admins who were given the responsibility of the content on the forums became close.

There was a buddy system, too. Two or three people managed one group. I was admin of two. We became really close as we were admins together for a group. Guess what, I am still friends with some of them and in touch with others. It has been more than 15 years now. See, Strings kept us connected and still does.

Strings even did a meet-up for their fans at that time, at Pizza Hut, and only few members from the forum were ‘awarded’ signed CDs - the active members. Yes, I was one of the few lucky ones, too.

Most of my younger years were spent fighting Strings vs Junoon battles. Junoon is a bigger band. Okay. But my response has always been that Junoon may be a better band, but I like Strings more. It’s not a matter of who’s best; it’s a matter of my preference. Like I absolutely love Vital Signs and I agree they are the best one Pakistan ever had. In fact, Vital Signs is not even a band, it’s a feeling, it’s a mood. But, the love I have for Strings is unmatched. You can bring all the charts and prove others are better; for me, it was, it is and it always will be Strings.

People wanted to tease you because you were a fan so they always had random quizzes up their sleeves. Oh, let’s see how well do you know them. From answering all the questions about their personal and professional lives to proudly correcting people that Sir Kiye Pahar was not their first album. From remembering lyrics to each and every song to even telling which song is on Side A and which on B of the cassette in proper order, even from their first album. From enacting each and every move of Faisal Kapadia from Duur in school to unbuttoning shirt sleeves to imitate Bilal Maqsood from Anjane; guilty of all.

I am not a young girl anymore. I am in my mid 30s, independent working woman with a team working under me. Yet, when Strings released its album 30, I used to close my office’s door and take five to 10 minutes to listen to the new release every Friday of the month and everyone knew that was my ‘do-not-disturb’ time. I never missed their song’s release. And no matter the song clicks the first time or not, it always lifted me up even during my worse days.

Strings was the first concert I ever attended and Strings was also the last. I stopped attending concerts ages ago, yet Strings were the only reason I stepped out of my house to go to a crowded place.

Being connected to the media, it was not like I never got the opportunity to meet Strings. I have interviewed them and have even recorded a TVC with them. But I never gave them the background. Why? I am a fan and I wanted to stay a fan. I always wanted to look up to them with butterflies in my stomach, sparkle in my eyes and my throat getting dry. I didn’t want this relationship to change.

Yes, I grew up. From screaming the lyrics to their every song during their concerts from the front row to simply listening to them with a huge smile on my face, again from the first row in their concert, I grew up. From defending their every song when it got hate to just smiling at criticism because I didn’t care what others thought - I grew up. My connection with Strings changed its form but never its intensity.

It was last year, during lockdown, I started following Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia on Instagram. When people asked me how I was doing during this phase, I used to reply, “By watching Strings on Instagram. They are always up with something and my day is spent well.”

Bilal Maqsood was always up with covers of songs, new melodies, jingles, live with Anwar Maqsood, etc. While, Faisal Kapadia did live sessions with other celebrities, so they kept me busy.

Then came, Velo sound station, which is not old too. We just got a new song from Strings and everything seemed normal.

Pakistani music has a history of broken bands. From Vita Signs to Junoon and from Awaz to Jal, nearly every band gets into conflicts at one point or the other and breaks up. We use to mock other bands who couldn’t handle the fame for a few years and broke up. They should learn from Strings. They have spent an eternity together and gel so well. This is what we call maturity. It was their success but it got to our heads, instead.

Then why would they decide to dissolve the band? They repeatedly say they are not parting ways but just ending this journey together. Why? It’s too sudden and there is no apparent reason for it. Did they drain out and there is no music left in them? Impossible. What will we do now? I didn’t need this at this time in my life. I am going though a tough phase already; I can’t take this news right now. Or ever, maybe. This is a 33-year-old relationship and there is no closure, here. I need closure. I refuse to move on. Yes, this is very personal to me.

Strings have been a part of me, all my life and I meant it when I said I can spend the rest of my life with Mera Bichra Yaar, Humsafar, Keh Dia, Tum Ho, Palkein Teri, Jadoo, Anjane, etc. Right now, I feel a hole in my heart that there will be no new music from Strings but I am sure with time, I will be able to accept that. After all, Vital Signs are still alive. Junoon is still alive and so will be Strings.

I started off this article with denial and I guess I am still there… it’s never over for Strings. They were love, they are love and they always will be love. Nothing can take Strings away from me. They are a part of me and they will remain to be.

P.S: The editor of Us thought I should do a Strings obit piece; I owed it to them. It’s not obit because they are very much here so it’s just a piece of my heart for them. And she is right, I owed this to Strings.

Aww…. What a beautiful piece of heart it is! Team Us