I learned the art of appreciating fresh picked herbs from Fasih. This probably runs in the family. Ismailisnt too keen on mutton and whenever I made any mutton dish he wouldnt eat. One day I made Aloo Gosht and Fasih told me to garnish it with lots of hara dhaniya that was growing in our kitchen herbs pot. To my utter surprise Ismail ate without any fuss. When he finished I asked him, “But you dont eat mutton?” His response was, “But this had fresh hara dhaniya in it.” 😍
Here is what Fatima, our daughter writes about the green thumb she got from her father:
Of all the nice plants I have, the one plant that really reminds me of my father is the humble mint plant (the podina). At Papa’s roof garden, he grew tomatoes, chilis, pomegranates, desi basil, mint and coriander – among so many other flowering plants and cacti. Of the 3 years I spent in Karachi, I never saw him buying his herbs. Rather for his daily green tea, he would walk to his garden, pick out some of his mint leaves and put it in his tea for himself or me. The last time he took care of me was in my first trimester when Abdullah was away here in Manila and I had all the usual vomiting and nausea. I stayed with Papa a few days and even commuted to work from there. Every night after dinner, he would make me his classic green tea, Tapal’s lemon green tea with a few sprigs of his home grown mint and a plate of nuts, dried figs and fresh jasmine (for the scent) and left them on my table while I played with our dog Elmo outside. In the beginning, it hurt more to see that plant and left a hard knot in my throat, but now every time I see its stem going strong and smell the fresh scent, I think if Papa’s watching, he is probably pretty proud of this plant. I haven’t gotten the strength yet to make that tea again, but I guess some day that day will come too. 🌿 ☕️ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10158837671548615&set=a.10151673088468615&type=3&theater
This wretched pandemic has tested us in every possible way ! It has destroyed my beautiful family.
I still cannot understand how are some people taking this pandemic lightly and continue to take lightly. Are they overly blessed? Or simply too lucky? In the first few days of the pandemic, I apologized publically on social media, when I realized this is not a flu and needs to be fretted, not taken as a joke or a conspiracy.
It began as a blessing in disguise though, as Fasih who had come for a spring break for 2 weeks, ended up staying for 11 weeks. It was a close family time in lockdown, and we made the best of it with long drives, board games, movie nights, cooking times and giving cold cream feet massages to each other, and even doing nothing all day. As I was working from home and closely following and raising awareness on TV and social media on increased spike in domestic violence in the lockdown, Fasih remarked, “Who are these fools being abusive in this time that enables plenty of free time for closeness and family bonding?” As I spoke on TV program until Maghreb, Fasih fried pakoras for Iftar in Ramazan. We couldnt have had a more beautiful 11 weeks together.
In this very 11 weeks we began hearing of distant friends of friends having family members get COVID, in hospital, on ventilator etc. And we felt, now the numbers are beginnign to turn into names and faces, Then we came to know of a common friend’s parents pass away in a week’s gap in UK and her entire family was down with COVID, but rest survived. Fasih’s friend in Ireland got diagnosed with malignancy and we were shaken, and he spent evenings talking to him. The same time, it was Italy reeling with COVID disaster and I have a cousin, his entire family locked down in Rome, Milan. It was scary. We kept praying for their well being. Then we heard of a Taj Consultant Clinic’s Plastic Surgeon was on ventilator in UK. This time the pandemic had hit closest to us. Fasih and I had a detailed conversation on how dangerous it is for doctors, Fasih told me, “We Pulmonologists, along with ER & Intensivists are in the foremost frontlines.” A chill ran through my spine, and begged him, “Dont go to Pakistan now”, but he laughed it off saying, “Yes we have to be careful and prepared, but this does not mean we have to go into hiding.” Finally he flew to Lahore, and then drove to Karachi to reach back his clinic. Pandemic kept spreading. So did my fears. I repeat I still dont get how people continue to take it easy. Then I heard the news of a cousin a few years older in Jaipur losing his life suddenly in May. Soon after Eid, Fasih’s younger brother fell sick. After a week of negative tests, he tested positive and was admitted in ICU. Fasih was shaken. He was very disturbed and worried on his X-ray picture. And then came the fateful June. A close friend of Fasih Dr. Mahmood a GP in Makkah passed away withing 4 hours of admission. And it was Fasih who broke the news to his wife and other family members. He was very visibly shaken by this loss. And then came the news of a second cousin, another surgeon on ventilator in Riyadh, for which the extended family sent money via Fasih. And then even closer, my first cousin in Delhi my age, passed away to COVID. As if this was not enough of a jolt for all of us, Fasih went in line following others, on 26 June. It just took him 5 days. I still wonder how am I still thinking, eating, sleeping and even living. I know I am not alone. There are families where father-son, father-daughter, brothers, husband-wife have gone in the line of service as doctors. I am extremely paranoid, and scared for every other loved one. This wretched pandemic aint over yet. And again I still wonder, how are there people who are taking it lightly and still not being affected even a fraction of the way we have been. Never ever in my life, did I ever feel I was the most unfortunate person alive. Are we just very unlucky or are they just too lucky? Its mindboggling. Link: https://www.facebook.com/quraishi.ilmana/posts/3515266068485936
Today marks 6th Friday since Fasih’s departure from this world. He will forever live in our lives, hearts, memories and in spirit with us. He is blessed with family, friends and well wishers all over the world who miss him dearly and pray for the best place for him in Jannah. May he live happily in the hereafter. ❤
A great way to carry on with the memories and legacy of Dr Fasih would be to be kind, compassionate and empathetic to those around us. Please pray Fatihah for his remembrance.
Love remains there around us, always…maybe not in the physical form, but in so many beautiful memories, common interests, shared projects, etc.
A beautiful story below. Do stop by to read.
“At 40, Franz Kafka (1883-1924), who never married and had no children, walked through the park in Berlin when he met a girl who was crying because she had lost her favourite doll. She and Kafka searched for the doll unsuccessfully. Kafka told her to meet him there the next day and they would come back to look for her. The next day, when they had not yet found the doll, Kafka gave the girl a letter “written” by the doll saying “please don’t cry. I took a trip to see the world. I will write to you about my adventures.” Thus began a story which continued until the end of Kafka’s life. During their meetings, Kafka read the letters of the doll carefully written with adventures and conversations that the girl found adorable. Finally, Kafka brought back the doll (he bought one) that had returned to Berlin. “It doesn’t look like my doll at all,” said the girl. Kafka handed her another letter in which the doll wrote: “my travels have changed me.” the little girl hugged the new doll and brought her happy home. A year later Kafka died. Many years later, the now-adult girl found a letter inside the doll. In the tiny letter signed by Kafka it was written: “Everything you love will probably be lost, but in the end, love will return in another way.” “