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Archive for August 22, 2020

Farewell to Dr. Syed Fasihuddin – 31


My last post turned out to be too emotional for many friends. I must admit I just pour my heart out. I do not wish to make people cry on it. This has never been an intent of the posts.
I admire how Fatima writes more positive posts celebrating her father.
Today I will try to be less gloomy and try my best to show the real ‘drama’ that our life was known to be, even though I feel terrible for the absence of all this drama from our lives. How will life go on?

Fatima wrote yesterday about how her Dad was not a hugger, or expressive emotionally, but had million other ways to show his love in the family.
I am the exact opposite. To the extent that my son calls me a “drama” at times. And both kids have often told me to, “Grow up Ammi.”

The reason I remained so was because Fasih let me be me. But I was constantly after him, nagging to change certain things. He would at times get annoyed. Like I always pushed kids, “Go hug Papa.” And when they did cling to him would say, “Hug him tight.”
And his reaction would be do typical, :Daba diya mujhe.” every single time. Even when he learned to hug, he would just encircle his arms around the kids very loosely. But kids were trained to cling to him like a monkey. Tight.

As Fatima also shared, Fasih was s soft parent, i was the evil one. I policed what kids bought from the mall on a trip with their father, and duped their Papa with fancy demands. I remember once they came back with a toy Microscope replica which was pretty expensive. I got furious and told Fasih. “Why do you comply to their unreasonable demands?”
Kids were upset. They told Fasih, “Ammi is evil.” He told them, “Kuch nai hota. Ammi works hard for all of us, buss thori drama queen hain. Dekha nahin mayn bhi tou bardaasht kerta huun.”

Fasih was the type of father who wouldn’t say No to any demand from kids. They knew it well. But he was tactful too. He knew he could refuse through me. So he would tell them, “Okay I will talk to Ammi.” Kids knew now it means a “No”. .
A million times kids ganged up against me and tried to include Papa. But he would just stay a mediator.

Overall, though a very bold and fearless man, Fasih was shy of emotional expressions, especially in public. Probably this is how desi men are raised. He carried a very sophisticated and sober persona while in early days I was more reactive and expressive in public.
I mellowed a lot over the years. But remained the same spontaneuos within the family unit. It wasn’t difficult at all for me to tease him, hug him or say “Love you Babloo” in front of kids or family. He would return a radiant smile buss.
I would burst out openly in disagreements too. Fasih was too sophisticated to be so expressive of disagreementd in public. He did share his disapproval or disagreements only in private and at the most inside the house with kids around.

Once, a week before Fatima’s wedding, in Dec 2016, Fasih’s neice Aleema’s wedding events were going on. The extended family gathered for lunch after Nikah at Fasih’s elder brothers place, someone noticed there were two garlands left in the bag unused. Some naughty girl suggested, “Who wants to renew their vows and have a Var Maala?”
Someone suggested the parents of Aleema, but perhaps they didn’t come forward. Then came our turn “Bobby Chachu and Ilmana Chachi how about you?”
As usual, I had no hesitation and as usual, Fasih was blushing. But out of jest and for fun, I put the garland around Fasih and hugged him tight in the crowded room.
People couldn’t believe what they saw with their eyes and young kids all stood around, smiling and clicking pics like paparazzi. It was impromptu, but the kids managed to capture the “drama” moments on camera.
I could hear Ismail remark in the back, “Trust Ammi to do this.”
I said sorry to Fasih for embarrassing him in public. But he later told me it was fine and he enjoyed it. And only I could do such a spontaneous drama. 😀

Fasih would often tell me, “Shukr karo mayn mil gya tumko. Koi aur aisa waisa mil jata tou pata chalta.”
And my standard reply would be, “Kyun milta koi aisa waisa?”

Sigh ! These are all sweet memories now. How much did we presume that we will grow old, frail fighting, arguing, teasing and yet taking decisions together. I still dont understand the logic behind sudden, premature demise. I dont.

Below are some of the pics of ‘drama’ moments as kids called them.

Last Hug to My Papa- by Fatima Fasih


Eight weeks today since we lost Papa. Strange how it feels like such a long time and still as if he hasn’t gone either and will somehow come back to life and respond to any of the messages I’ve left him on text, Messenger or WhatsApp. When Papa was here in Manila, I was only 2-3 weeks postpartum. Knowing how much Papa wanted to explore, I would leave Rahma with my mom and MIL for an hour or two some days and go with Papa to the nearby mall on a tricycle, go far to the other edge of the city in Taguig to book Rahma’s Aqiqah, or go to the pet store to get his dog some toys. It was a tough time for me, but going out with Papa without Rahma and a diaper bag felt empowering and relaxing at the same time. In his profile even, he has saved his picture from our compound here in Manila as his cover photo. Now even when we come back to Pakistan or move away, this place will hold a dear place for me – first, because Rahma was born here and second,
because this is the last place I met Papa and hugged him before he passed away. Had I known it was the last time, I would have hugged a little longer or wouldn’t let him go altogether.

Growing up, like most dads of his generation, Papa was not very expressive. He would get us gifts and get us everything we wanted, but would not say he loved us or hugged much. Ammi was always a hugger, but not Papa. Even though most of the disciplining was done by Ammi and most often she was a bad cop, Papa was the good cop. He would always come to mush things over when we would be mad at Ammi. He would say, “Don’t mind what your Ammi is saying. Don’t get upset. She only says things because she loves us. Look at me, I’m also tolerating na.” (Sounds better in Urdu) With a huge smile, his last sentence would always make us laugh. But since Papa wasn’t a hugger, Ammi would always tell us “Go hug your dad.” Almost every day. Initially, I remember us being awkward, etc, but soon it became habit.

By the time I was 10 and Ismail was 8, hugging everyone in the morning became a habit in the family which we didn’t break even until I was a mother myself. Though Papa wasn’t a hugger at start, we knew he loved us and would not say no to a hug at all – and so he ended up becoming a hugger himself. For some, a hug from their dad might not be a big deal, but it’s the little things that you remember the most when they’re gone.

Praying we have a group hug again some day, Papa. 💕

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