My Abba, Dear Abba

Greater Kashmir

Death stares at every soul, doesn’t spare anyone. There is no way to foretell when grief will take your breath away, send you scurrying to the places where no one can see the big fat tears spilling down your face. My Abba left behind an ailing wife and five young daughters. Our life has not been same since June 30, 2013. It has been seven years but only we know what it means to be all-women family in this merciless world. His tender touch and soft smiles moisten my eyes. I miss those radiant eyes that evinced a million tales or the curated words that conveyed so much beyond what was spoken.

The sun still shines, clouds envelope the sky, moon moves, people continue with their routine but my world has turned upside down. My father was the center of my existence. He was the reason behind my jolly nature. His departure snatched my smiles. I ceased to exist the day he breathed his last. Even our very own people mocked us during customary condolences. When the mourners depleted, the amount of pain accelerated. My elder sister, Kousar, is a brave heart. Over a period of time, she learned the art of hiding the invisible traumatizing experiences. She is not able to come to terms with the loss.

A day before he bid adieu to this materialistic world, he was motionless. He was rushed to SKIMS Soura where he was diagnosed with brain hemorrhage. Next morning, he had to undergo a surgery for the removal of the deadly thrombus but fate had something else in store for us. With the crack of the dawn, his soul flew to heavens. None of the folks around knew, what words to utter in order to pacify me and I was just occupied with the word “orphan”- a word moments ago wasn’t associated with me.

A compassionate, benevolent, selfless and high spirited man he was. Popularly known as “Dervish” for being indifference to the worldly desires, I don’t have words to describe how illustrious he was. Abba was a hope for necessitous, a guardian for orphans, a friend for down-trodden. I have never come across as great a person as he was. He was a true feminist, who would always stand up for the rights of women. He was the man of principles. He always practiced what he preached. He always taught me to love, to show humility and to help people in whatever way possible. He was my guide. He was my best friend.

Abba believed in me when others bullied and humiliated me. He would always take me along wherever he would go. I was his darling doll. He would kiss my forehead, give me a tight warm hug and make me feel special. Abba, please come back. I want more hugs. I miss the days when he would trim my nails, comb my hair. The day he left, he lost the ability to speak. But I could fee, he wanted to tell me something. One last secret! Silence prevailed and his lifeless frame was submitted to soil in next few hours. John Didion says, “Certain losses don’t get past you, but you incorporate them into who you are. It’s always a part of you.” It feels like Didion wrote this line for me.

I never knew that my dad would leave us so early. He left us devastated. Death be not proud – is what he taught us all his life. Once upon a time, dinner discussions became depressing as Abba would frequently discuss the eternal journey.  I could not dare to confront him but I could not tolerate it either since he was my prized possession. Brought up in an extremely disciplined and democratic environment, he never forced his decisions on us. He was a perfect person. He nursed us with utmost care and affection. At times, he would wake up to offer pre-dawn prayers and prepare breakfast for all of us.

He was once in a millennium soul. Today, when I pray, I feel him around, calling my name. I struggle hard to hold warm tears but…. I crave for his single glimpse. I know he can’t be back but his memories are the hope against the hope. We lost a jewel. Being his laadli, I feel his demise has created a huge void in my life. Abba, you live in the marrow of my bones. No matter, you are not with us physically.

Farhat Jabeen is a English literarture Masters, University of Kashmir. She works as a teacher at Maryam Memorial Institute Pandithpora, Handwara.