You might not know him by name, but if you have seen any of the Milestones' videos, you will recognize him as the long haired, droopy eyed guitarist, musst in his music. He is currently on tour with his new project Aakash, the group you get when Milestones minus Candy joins forces with Ali Haider.
Wearing jeans and a shiny brown shirt, I notice that his hair is longer than mine. I think my ammi would like it! "What? You want to interview me?" he questions. In the constant roar backstage of SMU's McFarlin Auditorium, with performers going in and out of the dressing room, his soft voice is barely audible. "Yes, sir!" I reply: "I don't know your name but I do know this much, you're a member of a group called Milestones!"
Ali Tim, this somewhat shy young guitarist, often goes unnoticed by the crowd. After I raise an eyebrow on the "Tim" part, he explains, "Its a pseudonym, an adopted name for writing." So then I find out that he is a journalist, a music journalist in fact, who has been writing for the past 10 years.
After Milestones, "We wanted to carry on the music," he explains, "Ali Haider liked the music and he said why don't you do this project with me. If it does well, we'll do it on a permanent basis." Originally called Aaraaf, the name was changed to Aakash after the mullah opposition thought using the name of a Surat from the Quran was derogatory. As the album turned out to be a success with hit songs such as "Dilwale" and "Masti" the members of Aakash have decided to stick together. "It did really well in India and Pakistan. MagnaSound released it in India. It also got released in England through Mahvish Enterprises" he adds.
For the past seven to eight months, Aakash has been touring in England, Canada, and the United States. "I live in Canada" I say. "Really?" he asks: "me too!" In fact, it has been a year since his family moved to Toronto, (my city!) but obviously, that has not impeded his music!
He finally answers the question that is burning on all our minds. Is Milestones gone for good? "No, its still there on the map," he reassures me. And Candy? "She migrated to Canada too. We wanted to carry on with the music so we did this thing with Ali Haider." Any hopes of her coming back? "No, we've got another female singer which is a secret." That perks my curiosity so I start guessing, Hadiqa, Fariha, Nazli? Laughing, he says, "No, I'm not going to let that out right now, but I will say that she's very famous and very good!"
Currently with one successful album with Aakash and two singles, his band members are working on another Aakash album to be released this year. Also, the new Milestones album is in the making. As for me, I'll have to hunt him down in Toronto, I tell him!Asma Ahmad