Sunday, December 19, 2010

SMILING DUO GETS APART

Those we love, never go away
They walk beside us everyday
Unseen, unheard, still near
Still loved, still missed & still very dear

By Mahtab Bashir
mahtabbashir@gmail.com
Islamabad

There are several prominent incidents, which took place on the day of Aashura- the 10th of Moharram-ul-Haraam, making their place in the glorious Islamic history. This is the day in which Adam- the first man on this universe was created, Ibrahim was born, it rained for the first time, Mercy was revealed for the first time, Noah’s ark rested at the mountain of Joodi, Ibraham was released safe from the fire of Namrood, Ayub was relieved of his illness, Moses (Musa) was born, Yunus was born and later was freed from the belly of the giant fish, Yaqub regained his eyesight, Yusuf was freed from the well and also from confinement, Isa (Christ) was born, and also was raised to the skies, Muhammad (pbuh) was married to Khadija, and Imam Hussain attained martyrdom.

This is supposedly a day on which the Qiyamah (dooms-day)- a Day of Judgment will take place. This blessed day of Friday (10th Moharram), December 17, 2010 was proved out to be a Judgment Day for me as nature snatched my beloved friend Tahir aka Uncle- as I call him.

As I opened my eyes this Friday morning, I extended my hand towards cell phone and started checking the miss calls and text messages on its screen. Tahir’s miss call was there followed by his text message ‘Mataabi, pichli masjid may aa ja, udhar hi ikathay Juma Parhtay hain’, I read the text with one eye closed. I slept again. When I opened my both eyes next time, It was 1:20 pm. I hurriedly off to washroom, took bath and whil e taking my brunch I realised the time of Juma is out of my hand. I slowed down the pace and took out newspapers to read.

At 3:20 pm I rang the bell of Uncle’s home. ‘Kon Hay Ye Choti Tango Wala’ a voice came out; it was uncle’s favourite one-liner, whenever I pushed the bell of his home. I smiled and replied absurd answer that made him smile. Within few seconds, uncle opened the gate and came out with his trademark smile, wearing Bright White Shalwar Kameez and Black pullover. ‘Chal yar Uncle’- he understood my 3 words & there we were off to our walk. Taking just few steps Uncle asked, “Aaj Juma Kidhar Parha Hay, Mataabi,” I stared at his face and bend down my head. ‘May Samjh Giya Hoon, Tu Nay Parha Hi Nahi’, Mainay Tujhy Phone Bhi Kia Tha Subha or Text Bhi, Uncle said smilingly. ‘Bus Yar Uncle, raat deir may soya tha, ankh khuli to Juma hony wala tha’, I said with extreme innocence. Yaar Aaj to Bara Khaas Din Tha Mataaby, Aaj to Tujhy Juma Nahi Tha Chorna Chahiay, chal kheir hay, Uncle said. ‘Idhar say aa Yar- Upar ki Taraf chaltay hain’, uncle said pointing towards Rajput market in I-10/2. I said ok. While reaching to market, Uncle said Yar Matabay- Hamaray or Goron ki research may kitna farq hay. ‘Kia Hua Uncle? I asked laughingly. Yar may kuch din pehlay TV pay dekh raha tha Goray bata rahay thay ‘Chocolate Heart Patients Ky Liay Bohat Achi Cheez Hain’- Taqat Milti Hay is sy dil ko - or hamray Doctors pata nahi kia kehtay hain. Mainay to pichlay mahenay sy Choclate khana Shuru kar di Hay’, he said. I laughed again and said bus Uncle harmary or goray ki treatment bohat contrasting hay, or diagnose to hay hi nahi yahan pay. Hum beemar ko kehtay hain, Pankha Band kar do or garam kapra lay lo, Paseena ay ga to theek ho gay, Gora kehta hay, jo kuch pehna hua hay sab utaar do or jab body ka temperature environment temperature ky equal hua to theek ho jao gay. Phir uncle- hum Khansi may bhi isi tarah kartay hain, Koi Khatti cheez nahi khani, or Gora Aisy Syrup or Drinks suggest karta hay jo Khattay hon or jismay Citric Acid ho, I kept on talking…. Uncle laughed and said … Tu bari cheez hay Matabi and said ‘Chal Mujhay Choclate ly ky day’. I put my hand on back pocket and gave 50 Rs to shopkeeper, Tu nay bhi Khani hay’, Uncle asked me. Kio g mujhay kia hay, may apka Moonh dekho ga kia, I said, and found Uncle laughing again. On our way back, Uncle said to me, Yar Mataabi, Kal Kashmir Chaltay Hain, ground may ja kay larkon sy mshwara kartay hain. Monday ko Tyar Raheen Yar, Blue Area jana hay Paisay lenay. Gari ka Kaam karwana hay phir,” ok Uncle, may tayar hoon. Kashmir janay kay liay to Garam Kapray parso hi nikaal liay thay. Or haan Abhi Cricket khel kay motorcycle nikaal, mainay aik pharmaceutica l store ka pata kia hay, wahan chaltay hain apni medicine lenay. Shaheen or D-Watson bohat mehngi detay hain yar, Uncle said. I said yar uncle dekh lay kaheen 2 number na hon jahan ka address day rahay hain, I replied. Nahi yar check karwa lain gay kisi sy. Cricket khel kay chaltay hain bus. I said ok Uncle.

It was the first over, I was keeping the wicket while Uncle was fielding on straight boundary line. Just 2-3 balls delivered and we found two boys of our team scuffled with each other. We all came closer to them and tried to untie the boys while Uncle with his full volume hurried near to them. He was in sheer anger over the boy who started the brawl- the things were settled down soon with our interference. Again a boy (an associate of the one who started the fight put down the wickets- Uncle got furious and shouted ‘Wicket kis nay girai hay- Khari Karo Wicket’- these were the last words I heard from Uncle. As soon he uttered these words, he fall down the ground. We, without wasting a second ran towards Uncle. His eyeballs were not visible, his face changed colours first in yellow than red. I started rubbing back side of his feet, few tried to pump his chest, one of boy appeared with a glass of water. We put Uncle in a car and off we went to Hospital. After 30 minutes struggle to keep Uncle breath going Doctors pronounced him dead. And Uncle made this smiling duo separated. It all occurred in a blink of eyes that gave me a message of man being a mortal and planned never works for anyone- for me and Uncle for sure.

Before doctors of Family Health Hospital says it all- and all hands outside emergency were in the air for Uncle’s recovery, one of our senior colleague hinted me from a distance, its Over! Hiding tears in my eyes, I went straight to Osama, a darling of Uncle and family. ‘Mahtab Bhai, Uncle theek ho jay ga na- Ya Allah Meray Uncle ko Theek Kar day’, this angel faced little fellow pleaded. I caressed him softly and said Osama beta, Uncle ky liay Dua kia kar, yar- and I widened the distance to get a spot where no one could see my drenched face.

As soon I reached to the road outside, Uncle’s Bhabhis hurriedly got off from vehicles crying and asked me ‘Mahtab, kia haal hay Tahir ka, theek to hay na wo’. I knew its all over but I don’t want to break the news- not atleast for Tahir to whom I spend my major chunk of life. ‘Emergency room may hain, Treatment ho rahi hay, Bhabhi. Ap please Dua karain’, I told them and left the hospital premises.

Later, the ambulance appeared on the main gate of Hospital- many believed that Tahir is going to be shifted some another hospitals- PIMS, or Shifa or Nescom while I remained busy in maintaining my composure. The news of Uncle’s sudden and uncertain demise, however leaked down within few minutes later. This is how I remember this blessed day of 10th of Moharram when Tahir embraced martyrdom. I often heard, people saying ‘Kahmiri Bewafa Hotay Hain- and I became stanch believer of this one-liner the moment Uncle left me in a lurch.

And just before the cracks of dawn got wider, around 4:00 am we were heading towards Kashmir- the village of Uncle, near Rawalakot, a place we both planned to visit few hours ago. I was sitting on a front seat of a vehicle right behind the ambulance where Uncle was sleeping cool and calm and with the tears in my eyes I whispered to Uncle, “Uncle hum Jaa To rahay Hain Teray Gaon- Par Tu nay Ambulance may janay ka to nahi bola tha.”

Our friendship started blossoming right after the moment I was shifted to I-10/2, from F-6/4 back in 1999-2000, and since than there was nothing hidden between us. We shared everything relating to socio-economic to religio-political to sports, from domestic issues (national) to international- and yes of domestic (home issues).

I haven’t seen a person more avid observer than to Tahir on this planet earth. Whenever I met him he straightaway had a quick glance from head to toe and then initiated the talk- most of the time funny. On a serious note, he was a man who could think beyond his heart and mind. Whenever, I discussed him an issue he promptly jumped to the conclusions and with his reservations and suggestions, we concluded the topic. And every time I found the result was the same in a longer run as Tahir fancied long ago.

Tahir thought I am the most mature, sagacious and confident boy whom he could always spend his time- Perhaps that’s why no matter wherever he went, he telephoned me to join him, be he is going to a barber shop for cutting, going to Sabzi Mandi, or shopping clothes or buying interior stuff for home or going to a bank. I distinctly remember, the day (December 16) prior to his martyrdom (December 17), I told him- ‘Uncle, I want to get some furniture- a 4 seater for drawing room’. And then I forgot. The next moment he forced me to get bike and there we were first in Islamabad furniture markets and later to Rawalpindi. He was a perfectionist, as he went through all minor aspects of anything within few seconds. I just told him the requirements of furniture and he started peeping the windows and inside the show rooms of markets. Finally, Uncle hinted me to go inside a showroom where an elegantly wooden made 4 seater was waiting for us. I started bargaining with the owner as I always did and uncle kept on smiling as he always did. After spending half an hour we finally ‘Lock’ the price and I told Uncle you better go on a Suzuki pick up with furniture and I am following you. He did the same. Reaching my home, Uncle told me laughingly ‘Yar Matabi, Tu nay kis banday ky saath bitha dia tha mujhy’. I asked what happened Uncle? ‘yar toba toba- Itni gapain marta tha bus kia baton yar. Yar ye dunia kis taraf ja rahi hay. Aik banday ko pata bhi hay kay may lambi lambi gapain chor raha hoo, or log samjh bhi jatay hain- phir bhi wo baaz nahi ata’. I smiled and asked again Hua kia Uncle? He said yar mujhay kehta hay, meray sath 5 larkiyan phansi hui hain, or sab ki sab kehti hain, may nay shadi karni hay to sirf teray sath. Warna sari umar nahi karni’. … and then the air around us filled with the mixed voice of our laughter.

Soon after, I pushed the furniture inside my Drawing Room, Uncle was standing outside my gate. Ammi Abbu and my sister appreciated our choice yet again. I came outside home and Uncle said Chal Yar Mahataby- kuch fruit lena hay. I started my bike and there we were in a fruit market. It was around 9:00pm and was freezing. On our 5-8 minute drive Uncle asked me, Han Matabi, Pasand aya Furniture, Ghar Walo ko, I said Han Uncle. They said it is elegant and updated’. Than again Uncle started smiling sharing pick up driver’s tale. On reaching fruit market, Uncle got 6 dozen fruiter and Kinnu. At that moment my wallet was virtually empty after the furniture purchase. I had just 150 Rs, out of which Uncle voiced me to give him Rs. 50. I said meray liay aik darjan fruiter lay lain Uncle- Wo zyda meethay hotay hain. He was holding 4 black shopping bags and jumped back behind me. I smiling said Yar Uncle Black Shopping Bag to Ban Ho Gay Hain. And he said chal yar yahan sab kuch chalta hay. I stopped my bike in front of Uncle’s home. He got down and handed over one black shopping bag to me ‘Ye teray Liay Hain’. I asked O yar Uncle Mainay Mazak Kia tha. Inka Maza Dhoop may beth kay khanay may hay, or wo bhi Chat Masala laga kay. Or apko pata hay, ajkal to dhoop may bethnay ka time hi nahi milta yar, I said. ‘Woay Pakar Ye, Zyda Chur Chur Na kar- Kal Chutti Hay, Kha Lena’, Uncle said in his lovely Kashmiri Urdu accent. He handed over the bag forcefully and I came to my home and put oranges on a dining table where few of apples and guavas were already resting.

We both were good shoppers- of anything, as we and majority of our family members thought. And we were doing it since over a decade. This furniture followed by fruits shopping proved out to be our last purchase. The next day was Friday- a day of our separation. I took the breakfast and straight went to Uncle’s home where as I mentioned earlier we had a walk, played cricket and than came the final moments. Later moments of Friday went off in mourning and praying for Uncle’s salvation. Saturday past in Rawalakot where we handed over Uncle to Almighty. On the same day –Saturday night I reached back to Islamabad. I straight went to my drawing room to see the furniture that was selected by Uncle and on which he was sitting few hours ago, while purchasing. The moment I reached my dining room- tears role down my cheeks as I saw all the dozen oranges Uncle purchased for me are lying intact on the table- and none of them was missing.

He cherished every second when I was along him. We had joy, we had fun, as we had literally never left any restaurant, shopping mall, recreational spots, and down town of twin cities unfolded.

Three years ago, again in a month of Holy Ramadan and blessed day of Friday, Uncle got cardiac arrest. I was working in Lok Virsa those days and my schedule was too hectic from 9-5. I remember the day, when I was on official task of purchasing bulk of CDs/ DVDs from Saddar, Rawalpindi for my project Pakistan Monument. Captain (Kamran) our mutual friend called me on a phone and shared this news about Uncle’s heart attack. I was surprised but knew well it won’t work for me had I go to my boss to leave the office immediately. Captain told me he is going to Rawalakot and I must go with him. It was hard to me to say YES or NO instantly. With the prayers on my lips, I called on Uncle’s cell number to enquire about his health. Some relative of Uncle picked the call and told me he is getting better, and you keep praying. This quick call brought back relief inside me and I went back to my office instead of going Kashmir.

We were fond of dining and Bar-B-Queue was our favourite dish. Soon after Uncle got recovered, our menu changed drastically. I have never tasted Chicken in my life while Uncle was suggested to get away from spicy fried food. Time went by and things settled down, though our menu was split but our heart and mind never.

Our houses give a picturesque view and offer an impression of a Fort like ambience, with 10 houses each side of all four corners with shady trees infront of them, and a ground with children’s swings, slides and seesaw in the middle. Tahir used to say ‘Yar Matabi Pooray I-10 may iss tarah ki location tujhay kaheen nahi milay gi, and I always backed his words saying there’s no iota of doubt Uncle.

Whenever I stood right in the middle of ground, there were either beggars or someone standing outside my gate or Uncle’s. He repeatedly said to me ‘Matabi- in 40 Gharon May Aik Tera Ghar Hay or Aik Mera Ghar Hay, jiskay samnay ye to koi na koi khara hota hay ya phir koi na koi Shopping Bag utha kay Andar Ja Raha Hota Hay, Baki Kasam Say Pata nahi ye Log becharay Kaisay rehtay hain. Garian sab kay paas hain magar ajtak koi khanay ki cheez lajatay nahi dekhi, I smiled again but I knew he is talking sense. Bus Uncle yahi bat hay yar. Siyanay kehtay hain Khay huay ko koi nahi dekhta par pehnay huay ko sab dekhtay hain’, I replied. ‘Par Matabi in may aisy ghar bhi hain jo bohat paisy walay hain par khana theek nahi khatay,” Uncle explained. I laughed again saying bus Uncle aisa hi daor hay aaj kal. ‘Yar tum or hum agar in logo ki tarah kanjoos ban jain to aaj hamaray ghar bhi 4-4 garian khari hon’, I said I agree Uncle. ‘’Par Na tum logo ki aisi adat hay na hum logo ki. Sab kuch khaany peenay or pehn-ny may hi laga detay hain’, uncle kept on saying.


I said chal yar Uncle markaz chaltay hain, kuch chezain leni hain. After taking a big pause Uncle asked me ‘Aaj kia Khaya hay Matabi’. I said yar chicken paka hay, or apko pata hay, may wo khata nahi- isi liay markaz ja rahay hain’, I said. Uncle never forgot to ask me this question at night before our regular walk got started. And I told him the menu. ‘Yar Matabi to waisy bara sacha or acha insan hay’, he said. O ho Uncle Khairiat hay, aaj bari tarfain kar rahay hain, I asked Tahir smilingly. And he in his typical style said, ‘Woay Matabi yar tu aik wahid banda hay, jiskay ghar Daal pakay to Daal hi btata hay’ warna idhar aisy log bhi hain jo saal may 2 dafa mutton khatay hain par jab bhi unsy pocho kia kha kay aya hay, wo foran kehtay hain mutton. And I laughed out to my belly full. ……. TO BE CONTINUED

8 comments:

lalarukh said...

May his soul rest in peace Ameen.

Sana J. said...

Sudden death is a shock which leaves the mind crippled and one is unable to gain the right state of consciousness for some time.. However the greater number of unfortunate events in your life assures me that you will get through this too.. but of course the memories will be there haunting you sometimes and pleasing you at other times.

The writing above describes the depth of your relationship with him.. and after reading this I feel more closer to the concept of mortality and reality of life.

hafsakhawaja said...

Extremely saddened to know about your friend,you were blessed to be with him one last time - sharing joy and happiness.

May Allah grant him peace and elevate his status in heaven.
May He give you all strength to cope with this loss!

m@ht@b said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF61dd-0VEU

m@ht@b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
m@ht@b said...

this is for u Uncle!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF61dd-0VEU

A said...

NO WORDS CAN BE SAY ,, I KNOW THAT NOBODY WILL TRUST ME N WILL NEVER AGREE TO ME SO I KEEP MY SELF SILENT BUT....ONLY THE GREAT ALMIGHTY KNOWS THE SECRET OF MY HEART..... N ON THE DAY OF JUGDMENT ALL WILL BECM THAT WHAT WS,IS,WILL, MY RELATION TO MY DEAR FRIEND ( TAHIR BAI)....(MAY TAHIR BAI GOD BLESS YOUR SOUL
IN PEACE..AMEEN SUMA AMEEN...
INNA LILLAAHE, WA INAA ELAIHE RAJEWUON...

Ch Hannan said...

Uncle was very great person ... i can't forget the time spending with uncle .. Playing cricket in evening or in night playing voli ball . this time was very great ...Love U Uncle