Everybody has a past and a story to tell. Although by the time my yore has left me sadder and wiser and whenever I recall it makes me emotional, however I want to write my story in a simple and arty way for the readers so that they enjoy rather than becoming emotive and sadden.
My story starts with my father, who was born in a village in Okara, in a province of Punjab, Pakistan. Who had been so positive throughout his life in spite of living in a rural area, where there are still restricted amenities. One can imagine, a village is always rural and scarce of facilities like electricity, gas and so much more. My father led his great part of life there. Being the sixth child amid three brothers and four sisters he was very different, broad-minded and sensible as compared to them. My father’s rest of the siblings were typical villagers and were not fond of pursuing education, but he was keen to educate himself and change his lifestyle through learning and travelling and that even in a big city, but his parents/my grandparents never allowed. So, he had to initiate early education from a government school in native village, Basirpur, in Okara. He was not content with his living and lifestyle, but was an open-minded, strong believer in practically shaping his thoughts and aims. After achieving degree in religious issues as the background was totally religious, he wanted to further continue his studies in a city like Lahore or Karachi, however at 12 years of age grandparents forcefully made him got married, which he never ever wanted to. Being an obedient son to his parents he did not refuse them and got married. Thus, his double life did not turn out to be long-lasting due to misunderstandings and young age. After this misfortune he left his home for his long-awaited desire of advance learning and went to Lahore. There he became a preacher of Islam in a local mosque. Spending a good amount of time there he later got offer from Madina University, Saudi Arabia, to provide his services, but grandma would not allow him to shift there. His enthusiastic wish to make his future better later took him to Karachi. Since he hadn’t got fare for travelling to Karachi, his sister and brother-in-law sponsored his visit. In Karachi he got offer for sermonizing so he decided to live there only. 150 rupees was his first salary, which he was very happy to get as he felt he had got fruit for what he’d attained and all his struggles in life.
On 3rd salary he rented a house and called my grandparents in Karachi. They were very old so my father took care of them and sought their prayers and that’s how he succeeded by day and night. At this point of time grandparents were only worried for my father to get married again. Grandpa would get up early in the late night just to pray for his marriage. He had also seen bride (my mum) and wanted him to get marry her. Grandma would annoy on his prayers, as his first marriage was a total failure, so she wanted him to get marry of his choice. At last grandpa’s late night meditations were answered, and my father got married my mommy.
My father was an elderly person as compared to my mother, yet they led excellent double life. He was very hospitable, loved inviting friends and families when something good would cook in the house and applauding my mother’s cooking and all in front of guests (mentioning this is necessary as people from the village are considered backward, they don’t praise their wives in the company of everybody).
The day I came into being in this world was a heyday for my parents & siblings especially, as I was the sixth and youngest child amid five elder siblings. Since, I am the last child in my family, so I have always been the centre of attraction for each one’s love and affection. Though my other siblings had gone to good schools, but my parents decided to send me to even better schools than my siblings had attended. It was solely because last child in the family at all times catch full attention. And I am that lucky one. My father was not a very rich man, yet he never let me felt that at any point of time. What he didn’t provide me during my childhood! You name it, I had it. Above everything and all they gave me good education. My father had loved me so much that I’m finding myself short of words to express. When I had to go to school he would pick up my bag and drop me till the van, and used to wave until I was out of his sight. Before my returning from school he would keep the air conditioner on and room chill in advance, so that I just come and relax without problem. He was my and I was his life. He used to say he would have died so much earlier, but you (I) don’t let me depart this life as you are my being. Usually children who get extra love and care become spoiled, but this was not in my case. Exceptional love and care from my family has never spoiled me. He was so much concerned about my health that whenever he would go to groceteria, would always bring separate fresh fruits for me, and amusingly speaking nobody in the house was allowed to even touch them without my permission.
Actually his earnings were not much that he could give us excellent education. But he was all determined to do so. Therefore, to begin with, he sold out his scooter, then with the time all the stuff of home one after the other. After that he borrowed loans as well just to pay fees and tuition expenditures. Despite poor financial conditions he gave great education without discriminating between 2 sons and us, 4 daughters. Once, for seventeen months his salary wasn’t credited, yet he never let us felt, though we lived hand to mouth. We had been facing really tough time & hardships. Even then his great and smug self was seemed to be very satisfied as my mother tells me because I wasn’t born at that time. Today, when he’s not in this world, everybody who was there to see us struggling gives example of my parents and teaches their children to work really hard. He gave consciousness and awareness of teaching girls too. He was the pioneer amid villagers and his friends in city also. I want to recall a moment which I find it very hilarious, on one occasion my father along with electricity supply personnels struggled to provide electricity to its villagers. People there were very simple and in their simplicity they said that they didn’t need it because their wives would attempt suicide by putting their hands in the socket after quarrelling with them. But now those people are so bright, educated and imparting education just inspired by my father.
Days would pass by and the time came when the ever-loving father left this world for eternal journey. 8th November, 2001, was the saddest day of my life. The day I had lost my father I was only fifteen years old. This was the age when I was not mature enough and a loss of a person whom I loved the most in this whole world left me sadder and wiser forever. I still remember, he had just got fever and usually he was sick of going to the doctor which resulted in his worse health condition. Although my brother took him to the hospital, but he was not feeling calm and asked the doctor to let him go. He came back and we preferred to take his care at home only. In the meantime, he got meningitis attack and we cared him 24/7. At that moment we couldn’t derive that these symptoms of his health might result in his death. Doctors had told to my brother prior his death that he would go to meet his maker soon, but he chose not to inform us. I was very relaxed at home when suddenly on 8th Nov, afternoon, brother called and informed that our father is no more among us. The pain which I got by his death hasn’t been healed yet, as no one on earth can take his place.
Nevertheless, I try to follow his footsteps and what I have learnt from my father’s life is a lot of courage, also that only a positive approach can change worse to worst case scenarios. And optimistic person no matter where he dwells can bring about ultimate success and victory. Today, his struggles for his children have been achieved, as all my siblings are happily married and settled and I’m serving media as a journalist.
Abida Gohar is a working journalist, blogger, writer