Just escaping the superstitious numero of thirteen, it was the ferocious moment well before the cracks of dawn get wider and my brother made his way to heaven through that chasm of 4th Muharram-ul-Haraam, 14th January, 2008. My beloved brother ultimately succumbed against the noxious tentacles of squamous cell carcinoma battling valiantly for life over 14 months. I feel honored that he felt comfortable and safe to go to meet his maker peacefully infront of my eyes; however the vision of his last breath will play on my mind once and forever. His diverse traits set him apart from the rest. He impressed everyone to the core and now he is doing it in the air of heavens.
Muhammad Moazzam Bashir, 47, a commoner of 15th & 17th CTP, serving as an additional commissioner of Income tax was a down to earth, munificent, kind-hearted, life-loving, unselfish individual remained involve in a lively conversation to everyone coming his way with the eyes on the future. His calm and composed disposition even in the dark moments of anxiety, spoke volume to us when we were overawed by our position. In his thoughts, beyond a somewhat labored eloquence, I found plenty of wisdom, embodied with improvised phrases. It was delightful to notice in him that rare gift of appreciating the importance of apparently ordinary things and projecting before us with courage, conviction and perfection. To me, my brother's intellectual journey made him more a nomad in the kingdom of knowledge than a sedentary inhabitant who was apprehensive of wondering into unknown tenuous of thoughts. His overwhelming life offered me a lot to think and his premature bereavement left loads to feel.
After the biopsy reports confirmation in positive, Moazzam bhai was well-responsive to the prospect as I knew him a person to go till the bottom to investigate the whole thing while staying on pinnacle. And I have no qualm in saying that this was the clandestine behind his success and lesson to all his remnants. The Biopsy descriptions lead to three major surgeries followed by radio and biotherapy. Nothing hampered the cell growth as it travelled one spot to another freely in no time. Cancer rapidly devoured bhai's insides and chemotherapy left him exhausted. There were over half a dozen deep wounds filled with pus gulping bhai internally, and swelling was on the rise. It was so painful physically for bhai, and mentally for us as communication was mute between us since ten months. He swayed upon us with his hand-writings on note-books. He shed his weight immensly but he refused to shed his intellect till the very end. Despite all these hard times, he survived with a lot of dignity, commitment, hopefulness and utmost patience. I still can't believe Moazzam Bhai has made his exit, I still can't accept it, but I believe it is just a transition from a good place towards a better spot where stars are spelling out his name.
Moazzam Bhai was a person of extreme generosity, never had a second thought of donating things, be it an expensive wrist-watch or an imported shirt. My wardrobe is still stuffed with the generosity of Bhai as sometime I thought, should I buy any locallly-stiched shirt or tie or to get Eue de Cologne with my own expense or should I keep on bragging against my friends and office fellows with imported material courtesy of Bhai? And I always opted the later. I am also a propitious and fortunate not because of the same physical frame structure of Bhai but with the same size of feet. I distinctly remember the day once I visited his home at Gujranwala and he said goodbye to me with a sack, jam-packed with thirteen pair of broche shoes. I shyly picked the bag but I never refused because it was my built-in right and because I am his smallest brother.
Today, when people from cross-section of society embrace me for consolation, a lot many says, it is the same aroma inside you of your brother and I promptly respond, an attire and cologne may be the same but I don't have his brain to match. There is no replica of Moazzam Bhai, not at all.
He was a tastefully well-dressed person always scolding me for my weird choice of outfit and unpolished pair of slippers. He loved to be drenched in fragrance with wide range of perfumes studded in his cupboard. Ironically, I would never forget the day when in hospital room a staff nurse said furiously: "It's so stinky inside, why don’t you use air freshener then"? We were well-prepared for all the questions but we were numb and helpless.
My brother, to me was more like a duplication of father, always concerned for my future. While posted here in capital city as Deputy Secretary in Ministry of Commerce, Moazzam bhai was my room mate at home. I have very doting memories of spending those two years with him. It was the time when I tried my luck to go for competitive examinations with the passion to get parallel to him professionally. "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, I M Possible", was his life-time message to me. Every night he induced new tips in my brain with novel instructions. Alas! I couldn't follow that man and I flunked with dignity though, but my passion could not be translated into reality.
Many nights later, while cupid struck me and one night I was in washroom, my cell phone was on charging fully utilising the options of silent mode and vibrator. Just after my appearance again in the room, I found Moazzam Bhai reading a book, he tilted the book slightly and whispered: "Study, I mean professional study for the sake of your sheltered future and love … can never be friends, can not be syncronised", my dear brother! I shook my head, stared back at him with a tiny smile & everything went in the air.
I would not fail to remember last year summer when I went through bad experience of developing a skin allergy. I hired the services of different classified dermatolgists who prescribed wide range of liquids, lotions, creams and pills. I still remember the only common medicated cream was with the name of "cutivate", nothing worked to push me back to my comfort zone. And I was feeling like walking through clutches of stress, anxiety, frustration, and mental aggravation because of unemployment, some domestic reasons coupled with broken relations. Moazzam Bhai came, had a glance at me and retorted: "You are your own doctor; remedy is in your hand. Give your thoughts a positive touch. There's nothing good or bad but your thinking makes the difference. Your brain can help you preventing all diseases. This is not a skin problem, it's a brain problem, my kid." And soon after I gave new shapes to my ideas, I never visted any skin specialist till then. I must confess here, he was indeed a trouble-shooter not only for me but every individual of our family, relatives and beyond.
There's not a single occasion I've experienced, when Moazzam Bhai came to Islamabad and not desired to see my photo albums, reading my published articles and diaries of my selected poetry.
He used to take pleasure in every afore-mentioned activity. He ardently watched out my photo albums and complimented me as a "photogenic person". Now my favorite habit of taking my own pictures through my own cell phone is quickly fading, I am out of touch with writings and contributing for newspapers since indefinite period not because I've lost my words but I've lost an admirer.
The year 2006 commenced with the sad note of demise of my Taya Gee, who was residing along Moazzam Bhai in Gujranwala. It was a bright sunny day of 20th of January when Taya Gee became the victim of reckless driver while crossing a road. With the broken legs, right arm, ribs and skull, he breathed his last on the spot. As soon as this dreadful news covered the distance to Islamabad, a deep sense and emotions of outrage against the culprit raised in our home. There was no person more poignant then Moazzam Bhai. The clash of mind gripped us, the offender was held and Moazzam Bhai made the verdict immediately well before the judge of court. His decree for many of us was mind-baffling, but precise and succinct: "I forgive this blood." During his ailing days, Moazzam Bhai came to know about the dark sides of some of close associates and relatives. Those were the persons to whom Bhai devoted fair share of his life but they turned down the value of services Bhai construct for them. However, a strange dazzle of his eyes revealed to me that he has no retribution against any of them.
He was talented in more then one sense of the word, got an aesthetic sense of art and paintings. He was a prolific watercolorist. A lot of paintings of the Quranic verses are hanging on wall to wall of different rooms. He was a fervent music lover of all genres and a passionate reader of books from poetry to prose. Gardening was his second religion. The gardens inside home in Income tax colony were all barren, and Moazzam Bhai single handedly made a green revolution there. I hardly memorize a single evening, when Bhai was at home and not playing with floral and watering the plants. I wonder, had someone ask him if tomorrow is doomsday, what would you do? And his answer could have been, "I would plant a tree."
It was the love and affection of him towards family that he never missed out any auspicious moment of us. No matter, he was in Karachi, Lahore, Gujranwala, or Gujrat, he joined us every time well before time. Last three Eids, we missed him because of his dwindling health with special prayers of mother and father. Though death is unavoidable, Moazzam Bhai's was surely untimely. Life belongs to those who are ready to die and he wanted to live but opted to die.
There is not a colossal cruel moment an aged father can have as hearing this news of his young son. My father, Bashir Hussain Nazim, (pride of performance) a renowned scholar and Naatia poet bear this heartbreaking incident with a lot of audacity, by the grace of God. Although I still wake up with a silent cry, mixed up with hiccup and recitation of the holy Quran from his room. My mother is with my eldest bhabi always engrossed in prayers and recitation of Quran. I found her strolling in every nook and corner of that house, repeatedly opening up all packed closets of her biggest son and put her love inside it with rosary in her hand and tears in her eyes.
Moazzam Bhai's rendered meritorious services in Income tax department of Federal Board of Revenue. He was a team player who brought stability to his departments. He was never divisive, but sought to promote consensus because he saw it as strengthening the discipline. More important, though, were the ways in which he influenced others, but never being influenced. He had a remarkable ability to project warmth, affection, respect, and sincere appreciation for officers, colleagues and friends. His professional career was marked by tireless service as a dedicated and altruistic officer. One of the qualities that made Bhai such valuable officer was the depth of his docile attitude from ministerial levels to staff. Wherever he was posted, he brought business community closer to revenue department. He became increasingly involved in the activities of the Social set-up as his social circle was so enormous. He was one of the eminent members of think tank of Gujranwala. Those who knew Moazzam Bhai well delighted in his talent for evoking shared moments and recounting the minute details that induced mirth and fond memories. My brother will be remembered for the way he dedicated his career to the services of Income Tax department of Pakistan for his genuine, kindhearted nature.
Before I round off this piece of writing, it would be a sheer injustice if I forget to acknowledge the services of Prof. Dr. Sheharyar, Head of Oncology Deptt, Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Prof. Dr. Riaz Ahmed Warraich, Head of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Dr. Muhammad Hafeez of Mayo Hospital, Dr. Moazzam Ali Tarar of Jinnah Hospital, Dr. Mukarram Bashir of CMH Thal, and all batchmates and friends of Moazzam Bhai. I would like to owe a huge debt of gratitude to my cousin Waseem, who was great source of strength and inspiration during the laborious work. His continuous assistance and help was literally unparallel. He abandoned 14 crucial months of his career to keep Bhai alive. Words are totally inadequate to express my thanks to Mamu Saleem and his whole family for their confidence and help extended to us. My massive thanks go to my cousin Saqib for his imperative role in difficult moment from dawn to dusk. Words fall short to thank Sabeen for her motivational words. I am also indebted to my friends especially Madiha, Hafsa, Farhat, Leena, Bushra, Rafea, Lalarukh, Attiya, Rabia, Hina, Romia, Tahir, Iqbal, Kamran, Amjad and a few millions other friends of my father and of Moazzam Bhai who were constantly praying for his health. I would never compensate your prayers.
Winding up this article is not difficult but winding up my memories towards Moazzam Bhai is so difficult. Allow me to say something resembling the moral of a story: "Moazzam Bhai was, in a way, a depiction of our own future, observing him, the future seems bright."
Reliving the memory of Muhammad Moazzam Bashir Celestial Realm of awe and admiration of his personality inspires our hearts, kindness, intellect and prudent intelligence kindles our thoughts. It is requested to all dear readers to pray for Moazzam Bhai's maghfirat. May Almighty Allah bless his soul in eternal peace and grant us the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss and give us strength to nurture his all three daughters to his penchant.
I have never imagined you'd ever be so far away, my brother. Your wisdom will continue to shine on us forever. I know you have never flirted in your life then why ... you flirted WITH life?? Even today, when I raise my hands in sincere prayers for dear departed, a voice whispers in my ears…
Yad karo to Aa jaoon' ga aansoo ban kar aankhon' may.
MUHAMMAD MAHTAB BASHIR
House # 2026, Street # 32,
Cell: 0300 52 56 875
Day after day
Time passed away
And I just can't get you off my mind
Nobody knows, I hide it inside
I keep on searching but I can't find
The courage to show to letting you know
I've never felt so much love before
And once again I'm thinking about
Taking the easy way out
But if I let you go I will never know
What my life would be holding you close to me
Will I ever see you smiling back at me?
How will I know if I let you go?
Night after night I hear myself say
Why can't this feeling just fade away
There's no one like you (no one like you)
You speak to my heart (speak to my heart)
It's such a shame we're worlds apart
It's too shy to ask, I'm too proud to lose
But sooner or later I gotta choose
And once again I'm thinking about
Taking the easy way out
But if I let you go I will never know
What my life would be, holding you close to me
Will I ever see you smiling back at me?
How will I know, if I let you go?
Courtesy: WESTLIFE (my personal favorite)
They say, "time is a great healer", but to me… every passing moment gets me spiritually and emotionally more closer to my beloved brother. Every day I get a note of condolence through emails, telephone-calls, letters & Sms. There are many across the world, who made calls & stunned over sad demise of Moazzam Bhai. Your words in any form give us strength. I know well this is where no one can help you but one can feel sorry, that's what only you can do & that's what only we all need. Millions of people including so many dignitaries attended Moazzam Bhai's funeral & console us at the time of lurch. I, on behalf of my father, extend a deep debt of gratitude to all of you. And I sanguinely request with hope, you would remember and pray for my brother's soul more keenly as you did for his recovery during his ailing days. Your overwhelming support reminds all our family members to smile again.
Thank you all of you.
For more .. please visit the following links
WORDS THAT KEEP ME BREATHING ...
Olive from Rawalpindi Sms':
September 06, 2008 20:49
Aug 17, 2008 11:02 AM
It was just now that I read the email about the pain that you have faced and still undergoing due to the sad demise of your brother. May Allah rest his soul in eternal peace and grant you and your family strength to bear this irreparable loss. It is 15th of Shaban tonight... May Allah bless you all...
With profound regards,
Aug 14, 2008 8:41 AM
m really sorry Mahtab n definitely v wil pray for ur brother .Although there can never be any replacement for the loss of a loved one, wepray to Allah to grant u n ur family sabar to bear this huge loss.
Please excuse me very much- for my late reply to you. I have been really busy in the last few days with work, organising my finances, getting ready to apply for visas etc. etc. So i'm a little behind on my emails.
It's 7.30pm here in Sydney- and i am a little tired- so i will reply to your email later.
I just wanted to send a quick email- to let you know i'm not ignoring you- and i do thank you for sharing with me- including about your beloved brother. I read the stories you lovingly wrote. It sounds like you both shared a very special relationship. ... I have thought about your story, your families story since you emailed me- and i really feel for you and your family- it must be very very hard. So i think and say a little prayer for you all in my own way. Life can certainly be hard- loss is very hard- and again i feel for you and your family. I wish you all hope, warmth, love and that you feel the comfort of others in those hard times...
take good care Mahtab
Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 3:07 AM
AOA I am regularly receiving Mahtab's Articals. I will suggest him to read twice (after taking a print, as on computer you miss a lot of things) before sending these articals to press. I found many small mistakes in the Moazzam sb/s artical as well as of Helmet related one. I have read fully the artical on Moazzam sb some days ago. It is really superb. A prize of US$ 100/- is due to him (although have mistakes).
Baqi sub theek hai. Hashir and Aqib are fine and fully enjoying / wasting time after their first term exams. They are having 1-1/2 months summer vacations now. Aqib is very upset after disappearance of GEO SUPER as he was watching cricket matches of ICL very closely and supporting Lahore Badshahs.
Zaini fell down in school a week ago and escaped a collar bone / shoulder fracture. She is resting at home with a sling but still feeling pain in left shoulder. At night she cries. thats the life.
Baqi sub theek hai. How are Ammi and Abba ji. My respectful salam to them. salam to everyone around. Take care and Allah Hafiz Pls reply in detail soon. MASOOD
March 27, 2008 8:24 PM
My Dear Mahtab,Yaar I was Intentionally diverting myself from this heart-breaking and shocking state of grief by not calling anybody, so, i can escape from this..... But, I cannot Be successful in this try. What a FOOL I was..... Muhammad Moazzam Bashir, Whom i always call Moazzam Mamoo, A True Gentleman , A Legend, An Inspiration to all youngsters,in and out of family. A person with whom you can share each detail of your life. When ever i met him, I always saw him smiling and saying " RAZI BHAI, KI HAAL WAY ".
29 January, 2008
Emaad from Rawalpindi writes:
31 jan, 2008
Its So Sad
Lalarukh from Rawalpindi writes:
Wed, Feb 13, 2008 at 8:28 AM
May his soul rest in peace and May Almighty Allah Give u strength to endure this demise.
Article is touchy. voice of heart. Take care and try to overcome this greif.May Allah always b with u.
Unknown SMS from Islamabad:
27 Feb, 2008 12:46
Asalamoalakum I m a regular reader of ur articles. I m really impressed u have done a marvelous job in the article about ur brother death. I literely cry whil reading last line of the article. Keep up the good work. Take care
Abdul Rashid khan from Yangon, Burma writes:
Wed, Feb 13, 2008 at 4:41 AM
Bhaijan assalam u alaikum!
How are you sir. I have been missing you since your departure. Kindly let us know about your welfare. Since your great father was in Lahore when I visited your Gujranwala home, I could not have the honour of meeting him at that time, could you now convey my Salam to him, please.
We received the eulogy to the dear departed Moazzam Bashir Saheb, "My Brother: A walking Lexicon", by our small brother Mahtab Bashir. It is quite touching and naturally full of younger brotherly feelings and at some places it has gone to be innocent like the author himself.
I would share my view with you brother Mahtab later. Kindly send your e-messages on my e-mail address.
Masood Bhaijan please akhhan kholo. Allah hafiz. aRashidkhan, PA to Ambassador, Embassy of Pakistan, Yangon.
Fazeelat Shakir from Karachi writes:
Sat, 8 Mar 2008 21:30:19 +0000
Assalamoalykum! How r you? I visited your blog. Got to know about your brother. Felt really sorry for the sad demise of your brother...an irrecoverable loss!And you have amazing writing style. I read it all. It was very well done!Take good care!Allah Hafiz!
iftikhar alam writes from Rawalpindi:
Friday, February 01, 2008 1:43:19 PM
Asalam O Alaikum!
Mehtab Bashir Saab!
It was very shocking news for me when our orkut friend A Mian (Attiya Imdad) told me that you have lost your elder brother on January 14.
Inalila-hi-wa-inaa alaihi rajighoon!!!
Allah taala unko janat naseeb kary.
You scrapped me few days back about letter to the editor but did not told me about this dreadful event. I know the importance of elder brother, as I am the eldest brother of my brothers, they all respect me like our father and I treat them alike. And I am sure that your brother was also the same. How old he was and what was his profession?
If you want to write about your brother like Attiya wrote about her mother, I help you in publishing it on our city pages.
May Allah keep his soul in eternal peace.
Duaon ka talabgar
Farhat Akram from Islamabad emails:
Apr 15, 2008 8:30 AM
I offer prayers and Fateha for your loving brother, hope the lesson you or any body connected with him would not go in drain down the life lane ... i didn't know much of the background of the story and this line but i hope what i have told you and sent you my inspiration for this line was not based on this sort of painful experience but the agony i have passed through for the last six years was enough to teach me the lessons Omnipotent taught me. He is excellent teacher Mehtab and teaches the lessons only by letting people go through serious of exercises. If at the beginning of the exercise you raise the cries then HE would be very annoyed but at every step of life one does pay Shukar then i think every step is worthy of His Happiness. Any way
i can speak and go on and on till the end.
I can well imagine regarding your pain and agony you are going through , Allah will help you recover.
I hope things will get better soon.
Aamer W G Chaudhary emails from unkown place:
Mon, 14 Apr 2008 17:30:45 +0000
sorry to hear about the demise of your brother. I have offered Fateha for him. May Allah bless the departed soul! AmeenRegards