Recently, a member handed me an envelope with 75 pages of a (copied) manuscript. It was on musty, old paper, I presume printed with a type-writer, with occasional hand written corrections and additions between the lines. Many of the pages are simply photos (unfortunately photocopied which meant the quality was poor and many were difficult to make out), and many are short (3 to 4 line) paragraphs. Genius in its simplicity, sprinkled with humor which I am sure is often unintentional, there is no wonder the squash world reveres this man as one of the all time greats of the game (if not the greatest).
The manuscript is dated August 15, 1985 – that’s 27 years ago. It is a draft of one of Hashim Khan’s books on squash: “Squash Racquets: Pro and Khan”. It was a delight to read through – it was not corrected for the characteristic Hashim grammatical inaccuracies. His charming ‘pigeon’ English comes shining through every word and one cannot help but have his alluring accent ringing in your head as you read. It is not the complete book, but only the first couple of chapters (I’m guessing) and it is incredible how much of what he wrote back then is unquestionably still relevant in the game today. Racquets, rules, athletes, and even the ball may have all changed over the years, but the fundamentals have not. Hashim has a way with words that should make you face-palm yourself and realize “D’uh! It’s so obvious!” and just by reading this should make you a better squash player. (I do not know if this book was ever published – I cannot find any reference to it on-line – or maybe it was published under a different title?)
Over the summer, I will add numerous snippets of the manuscript to the blog. (It is too much to unload it all at once.) They will be copies directly from the manuscript exactly how it was given to me. Hashim wrote the book with help from a good friend of his - Barbara Stewart – who was also an accomplished squash player as well as a professional writer.
I sincerely hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did. We start with a little of Hashim’s life story. Just click on the individual pages to enlarge them.