He left us all alone
Posted by Haris Gulzar on October 16, 2009
My grandfather died. He left us all alone. I never thought this would be the first thing I’d write about after my exams. I couldn’t even see him for the last time :-(. The last time I saw him was when I had to leave for Karachi for the start of my semester. He was at the hospital waiting for his hip bone operation to start. I never imagined those would be the last visuals of him that I’d get.
He was over 90 Masha-Allah, but offered all prayers at mosque, or at least preferred offering all prayers at mosque, even if he wasn’t well. Even at this age, he walked quiet a lot. He would grab the hand of one of my cousins (he lived with my chacha) and would take him along for a long walk. Or if he wanted to go out for sometime, or if he felt exhausted sitting at home all the time, he would go and sit in the car indicating that he wants someone to come along and drive him somewhere. He kept himself fit. He decided about his diet and the times at which he’d eat. If he had a heavy breakfast, he would either not have lunch at all, or delay it. If he had something in the evening, he wouldn’t have dinner.
He loved Ice-creams. In fact, being more general, he loved sweets. The routine drives at around mid day almost always meant a cup for ice-cream. I also got a chance to take him for an ice-cream drive a couple of times when I was at my chacha’s place. It felt great when, probably for making sure I won’t leave him alone, he would hold my left hand that I used for changing gears. He would know it when we reached outside the shop where we bought ice-cream for him from. He would let go of your hand so that you can go and bring ice-cream for him. And while driving, if you try leaving his hand, he would hold it even more tightly, telling you he wont let you get away :-).
For the last couple of years, probably because of weakness or because of the age factor, he couldn’t speak. A couple of words that he spoke often were “Neeyat”, indicating that it was time for prayers, and “Nahin”, when he wanted to say no to something. Otherwise he would only nod his head. This summers when I was in Lahore, I once went to my chacha’s place where I loudly said Salam (in a specific way that was assumed to be the code between dada abba and me), and amazingly, dada abba replied in his same specific code tone saying WalaikumusSalam, although he said it in split words. Everyone was amazed at seeing him reply and trying to speak. I asked him “ki haal hai ji” (how are you) and he replied, again in broken words, “Alhamdulillah” (meaning I’m fine with the grace of Allah). This then became the talk of the day. Dada abba talked to Haris. I felt special :-). I asked him if he’d come to my place for a couple of days, but he didn’t say anything after that.
The Salam code that I had between dada abba and me was something very special. Since my childhood, I heard him say Salam in a very specific way. He would stretch a few syllables and would say others in a normal way, making the complete word Assalamualaikum a bit difficult to pronounce. Everyone would try answering him with WalaikumusSalam in that very tone and stretching of syllables etc. That’s when I also learned answering his specific Salam. I gained perfection at it, and then it used to be me and dada abba. Although my brother also used to reply with quiet perfection, but bhayya, if you’re reading, I can bet I was better :-). After dada abba found it increasingly difficult to speak, I would say Salam in that specific code, and he would smile.
Although not lately, but about 4 or 5 years back, dada abba used to give out Kharchi (pocket money) to all his grandchildren. He would actually give it to one person (the youngest of siblings) and that person would then distribute it amongst other of his siblings. Being the youngest of my siblings, I used to get the kharchi from him. We would anxiously wait for the start of the month, the time when we got our pockets refilled. As soon as it was the day, we would go to him thinking we’d remind him and ask him why he forgot our kharchi, but every time we asked him, he took out the exact amount of money and handed it over to us. He always remembered it before us and had the exact amount of change as well, so that it was always convenient for us.
I can’t forget my dadi’s voice when she talked to me after my dada died. I felt so alone. The worst part of living in a hostel and away from your family is that you are not near your near ones. I could only ask my family about the time of Janazah and the mosque where the janazah was offered, and the grave yard where he was laid to rest :-(. May Allah grant him the highest of places in Jannat. May Allah forgive him. May Allah be pleased with him. Ameen.
As one of my friends mentioned, we all have to return to our creator, its just a matter of time. May Allah guide us all to sirat-e-mustaqeem. May Allah give us the taufeeq to serve our parents and grandparents. Ameen. I’d request you all to please remember my dada in your prayers. Jazakallah!