I had never bought art before, thinking it the bastion of well-heeled ladies and rich bankers. But I knew I had to have this painting, and I bought it for a fraction of what Abbas’s paintings sell for now. Later, I went back to the gallery to find out if they had any more of his work.

In the last three years, Pakistani literature has been undergoing a ‘boom’, an odd appellation that makes me think of both Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions and the exploits of its cricket star Shahid ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi: all fire and drama that creates a blinding flash, performs inconsistently, then burns out quickly.