Grandma, Maan Ji as we used to call her and Bibi Ji according to dearest mom and dad, said, "You don't weep like others as you have already wept the most part of your share." when I asked her why tears did not even pass by my eyes on the death of dearest grandpa, Baba Ji despite all the sadness and gloom lurking around. It was second year of my life when she would weigh me against shoes before sending me to Jhang for check-up. Then, I was thin as a ‘broomstick’ and won’t stop crying once switched on. I had my share of cries.
She would always wait for my holidays and say, this time, I and she would be traveling by train to meet her six sisters at their places. I was among the eldest in my generation and she relied on me for according to her, I was brave enough to guide her to the places that were new even for her. It would be her second journey by any vehicle running on an engine, the first being by the train from India to Pakistan. She had felt dizzy, fell twice and fainted when the youngest of her sons coerced her to accompany him on his brand new Sohrab and had never dared touch a 'vehicle' again. As the holidays would arrive, she either would not be 'feeling well’ to travel or would have some other plans for me to work like helping the family on the farm. In the summer holidays, it was apparently hot enough to move out. It was on the day 99 cricket world cup had to begin when Baba Ji left us and that was first summer Bibi Ji did not expressed her wish. I waited all the summer but before the summer ended, she was not well even to talk. By the end of that year, I was deprived of my real mentors. All that was left was their memories, once sequential like a tape and now scattered among all the clutter I am obsessed with.
Along all his kindness, sweetness and charm Baba Ji, still played an angry young man when gatherings in village appeared moving direction-less or unfair to him. For four years in life, I would return from school and unload my bag in Baithak - guest room and be with him till the bag was loaded again on my back or that of the bike. In summers, I and he would be sitting under the shade of trees on Thara - a raised platform outside Baithak with a bunch of school children dumping their vacation registers with whatever they could get out of Khulasa jaat - solution books; and some non-schoolers or toddler who would play terrorists or one may say academic jihadists fighting this plagiarism and foul play with random drawings and blotches on pages of the registers or alternatively the faces of register-holders. Hawkers and passers-by would rest for a while in the shade and specifically ask for not-so-cold water preferably from the ‘Ghara’ – clay-made water pot.
Baba Ji would dislike us listening to songs on radio and had never allowed a TV to prop into house but he definitely would never miss ‘Sair Been’ on BBC Urdu Service. Someone would walk around and trivia - as it appeared to me when seen against the algebraic and chemical equations- like fights with landlords, crops not growing well, shortage of water, children skipping schools would be discussed for around an hour. I would open my notebooks to complete my homework but often would turn to listen to the talks and thus quench my thirst of ‘knowledge’ from these interesting chapters of the book of life. Many of my non-academic answers were found here and occasionally, I would be tested for my tenses of English and tables of Math as well.
Baba Ji would sleep earlier while I would often sleep when a Chacha- uncle from village will woke up to lay out clay bricks and I had provided him with water, this time from fridge and the bicycle-pump. No matter how late or earlier, I slept I had a clue to when Baba Ji would wake up and I would ‘silently’ rush up to be ready for mosque before him. He would stay there while I would return to do my homework or at the least read some Islamic books or clippings from newspapers available around in the archives of the generation next to Baba Ji and go again for Fajr.
The moment I grew 25 by the calendar, I had the share of cake presented to friends, I was just to run into the chain ‘25 Years: The Gains and the Losses’ kind of stuff, I decided to pick up my laptop and throw some random gains, losses and suggestions into the database of very friendly Evernote, however, Baba Ji tempted me again to listen to those chapters of life and the Gur- sweets- offered by Maan Ji put an end to all the idiot stuff running in mind and I have came up with a piece of writing, my first article in the blog, I believe I can share publicly and at the same is a private memoir into my life.
I present to you the gift from my mentors on the silver jubilee birthday of my life.
Its a gift on 'Father's Day ' for my Abu Ji.
Its a gift on 'Father's Day ' for my Abu Ji.