I wasn’t close to him. Hardly shared couple of sentences in last 2 decades, but his mother and mine shared a womb. I did; however, met him every weekend till I was 16 at my nani’ house but there were 20 other cousins so I cant say he was my best friend. So my perspective is not tainted with lopsided partisanship, which might be the case with his wife, children, brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces, people that he adored and they adored him back. He was not the smartest, most good-looking or most successful in our family; but there was something about him, which is usually not screaming at you, seeking attention in a self-glorifying manner but you know its there. Its sophisticated and its polite and organic more than anything its natural. It’s the ability of seemingly unassuming people to leave a mark when they are gone. What is it? I still don’t know how to spell it out but I think it’s the their humility, its their comfortableness in their own skins and its their mannerism which makes the rest of us comfortable around them.
We all have had cousins who were stars and those of us who were mediocre dreaded being around them because of the comparisons and unending stories of greatness from their parents which made the lives of us mediocre quite uneasy. I am sure my parents did this with abandon whenever there was an opportunity, although after 10th grade those were extremely few and far in between, thanks to my dedication towards mediocrity BUT subconsciously when we were kids, we liked hanging out with cousins who were not pretentious and too precious. I think this is my most vivid memory of Nabeel that he was humble and made you feel comfortable.
I remember meeting him about a year ago, we hugged and I can recall him smiling, and now I remember, I always saw him smiling. I hear he was extremely polite and loving towards his nephew’ and nieces and that make sense, most of us do. Most of us however don’t accommodate others when they are 12 and immersed in an extremely cut-throat cricket contest on the rooftop of my nani’ 120 yard house. Nabeel did that to the chagrin of his younger brother and I think these are the things that are stuck in my subconscious.
He was killed in cold blood last Friday. Someone walked up to him in broad daylight in Dastagir, Karachi, put a gun to the back of his head and shot Nabeel dead before he could turn around and melt that monster’ heart with his unassuming smile. Like I have said above, I am not privy to the details of his life. I am not sure what he was up to. I hear he was benign and I am convinced that he didn’t do anything to deserve this but in an extremely selfish manner, I wish he wasn’t. I wish to make some sense of this travesty.
I know he was a devout Muslim but never did I hear a condescending lecture from him directed towards those of us with less discipline. I hear he was killed because he looked too ‘Sunni’, I am not sure what to make of that! It angers me because he never was the kind who wore his identity on the sleeve unnecessarily nor was he in your face type of revolutionary for things he believed in. Yes, but he did have a beard, so we will shoot people for that alone now? Apparently because we keep killing Hazaras for looking the way they do. We keep killing Biharis from Orangi Town for looking the way they do and we keep on killing Pakhtoons for their looks.
At what point would we start shedding tears for those who don’t look like us. I was heartened to see a great number of Sunnis, many of them leaders from corporate sector in Karachi participate in sit ins for the martyrs of hazara some months back and its this sort of camaraderie which would eradicate the seeds of hatred implanted by the likes of Zia Ul Huq.
At what point will this insanity stop? As a society we have a habit to dumb down the debate and stick to talking points given to us by groups that we support and I am no different. My liking for MQM is not a secret and I understand politics unfortunately is ruthless, but at what point, what more needs to happen to Pakistan, what else would we have to go thru as a society before we can say enough!
How hard is it for those who make decisions in this unfortunate motherland of ours to do things which bring about a tangible, positive change of sorts in our society? How hard is it to put the same type of taboo on guns, which we have reserved for alcohol or porn in our society? Why can’t we get away from this hogwash of ‘mard ka zayvar’ and at least agree on a basic principle that there is no reason for this sort of abundance of weapons in a civilized society?
I know I am all over the place in this blog and its disconnected and i am probably rambling on and on BUT for the sake of whatever is sacred to you, imagine the life of 35 year old wife, 3 children, oldest is probably around 8 years old; devastated for good within matters of seconds. Its not the finances, its not the supervision, it’s the void of someone that you love. I lost my father when he was 73, in pain and to a certain extent we were relieved that he was no longer in pain when passed away. I am here to tell you that its been almost 2 years and not a day goes by when at most irrelevant of junctures I don’t wish, ‘kash aboo hottay tau kitna khush hottay’. Can you imagine what this young wife and his children will go thru?
All of this is avoidable folks. At some point we just would have to go beyond talking points and agree on some common sense, across the board principles and we won’t have to reinvent the wheel either. We have examples around us in many societies, which were far more barbaric and broken and turned around within matter of years. The key however is that we get a reality check. We can not keep investing, cultivating in hate and expect that roses will emerge.
Prophet PBUH was on his way out from the mosque and heard a man praying for sabr (patience); he PBUH corrected him and said don’t ask for sabr, ask for good things in this world and the hereafter.
We would have to make dua that good things happen to us in this world but again to borrow from the life of the holy Prophet (PBUH), we also have to tie our camels as well*. (Prophet PBUH saw some camels wandering about outside the mosque, he came inside the mosque and asked folks if those were their camels and inquired how come they haven’t taken the precaution of tying them so they wont get away. The men replied we believe in destiny from Allah. Prophet PBUH, keep your faith in Allah but do the obvious and tie your camels). Our priorities need realigning! We need to care less about hoisting ‘parcham of Islam’ on red fort in Delhi and focus on providing clean water to 40% citizenry who doesn’t have it. Less strategic depth in Afghanistan and more jobs, better schools in KPK so we can produce more scientists and less suicide bombers.
Nabeel, mayray dost, may your stay in grave is pleasant and may Allah swt reward you with paradise without any reckoning and may your family have patience and may they get ALL the good things in this world and hereafter.
Ussay janay ki jaldi thi,
so mein aankhoon hi aankhon mein
jahan tuk choR sakta tha,
vahaan tuk choR aaya hoon