my mother is a very hardworking woman. i think if she were the CEO of a company she would have driven it to the list of Fortune 500. she is so workaholic that if you find her not working, she is probably thinking about it. but her father, the great old man whom everyone calls “dada” in the entire little muhallah of Ali Khan is no less assiduous. he was born before participation of subcontinent. “there used to be a boy in my class at the school who was made the class proctor,” he told me one night with a nostalgic smile on his still handsome face though bearing the film of many years’ experiences.
“he was really brilliant but he was weak in history. i identified this weakness and soon made my reputation stand shining in teacher’s eyes. next term, i was chosen as the class monitor.” his face was gleaming with victory as he had just been selected for the greatest post in school. there are so many similarities between children and old people. i love him the most when he is talking about his past experiences. he shares many thing including his hunting expeditions with rich friends and his first trip to Karachi while i relieve him of his old age’s never ending pains by pressing his feet and legs. “it used to be a barren wasteland back when we first came here. Karachi has changed very much.” He tells me about his visits to nightclubs in Karachi and his stays at famous hotels. He tells me how he moved from the village to the town and built the house he and others currently live in. In one particular story he told me about some ghosts calling his name in funny voices when he was sleeping in the under-construction house. He said, ” they were calling my name as we call some friend’s name while hiding round the corner and run away when he looks in our direction. I was sweating and breathing heavily and could not move my lips in an attempt to scream. i think they pinched me too. the ghosts sounded very mischievous. at last i gathered my courage and read as loud as i could but in an irresolute and wavering tone the Ayat-al-Kursi and seriously my voice faded when i reached the last sentences of the Ayat-al-Kursi.” He read sentences from Quran in the way he had recited in fear at those moments. ” then they stopped calling my name.”
at times he is very funny.he has beautiful white hair which contrast his brown skin.he gets them cut regularly and they always look very smart. he shaves regularly and tells me to buy for him a razor when i am going out. there is a list of things he does not like:
1.tomatoes 2.tasbeeh 3.hair oil 4.naughty and noisy children 5. modern music
he has a wonderful smile and perfect teeth which have yellowed a little.He always refers to his wife as “waderi” (although he is not himself a wadera). “how did you meet her?”, one of my sisters had asked him once with all other female cousins insisting him to describe the whole story. “i saw her in the fields eating or must i say trying to eat a sugarcane. she had dirty hairs and I didn’t like her at all.”
the whole room had burst into laughter, my sister was telling me later.
he is an amazing guy. he always smokes cigarettes of same quality and brand. he cannot quit smoking, that i am sure of. but he is healthy. his favourite movie is the original Devdas and favourite actress Madhuri Dixit. he is a real classic. i adore him.
i wish i can spare more time to spend with him. May he live long.