"I never knew my son has reached this stage," Muddasir Ali's father Ali Muhammad said on Monday. Sitting in the corner of a tent, he was quietly listening to the people who had gathered on the Chaharum of the deceased journalist. "What these speakers are saying about my son is all new to me."
Ali Muhammad was surprised to see a large number of people on the day Muddasir passed away. "I came to know the worth of my son only after I saw a sea of people arriving here to mourn his death," he said. "The people had come from every nook and corner of the Valley."
Muddasir was also helping poor people as some families wailed at his residence. "On first day a girl from a family came. She wept, termed him her brother. They are four sisters and their father had died," Muhammad said. "Muddasir used to help them every month, get clothes and groceries for them on Eid."
Muhammad says how anybody could turn down the wish of Allah. "It is the Almighty's decision and we embraced that," he said. "I am proud that Muddasir was my son and will keep praying for the highest place for him in Jannat." For Muddasir's mother too, he was an ordinary reporter. "Now I am coming to terms what Muddasir was?" she said adding that Muddasir was known to a lot of people. "He was a real son of the soil. I only knew he works at the Greater Kashmir."
His mother says that her son never told them about himself. "He was silent," she said. She said Muddasir was on call for relatives. "He used to take care of every relative, take them to doctor and fetch medicine."
During the night when Mudasir breathed his last, his mother was with him till 1 am. "He talked at length with Arif Sahab in front of me. They talked for more than an hour," she said adding that Mudasir had dinner after that.
Recalling the incident, she said that she went to bed. "At around 2.30 am, Muddasir rang," she said. "I straightaway went to his room. He was withering in chest pain. He asked me to save him."
In the meanwhile, she said Muddasir's younger brother Jehangir Ali took him to a local hospital and later to the SMHS hospital, but he could not be saved.
Sometimes small things that happen in life give an indication of the big things to happen. And how things shaped up during the few days ahead of Muddasir's demise seem as if he had prepared himself for the final journey.
On Thursday, he had his hair done. Late in the evening the same day, he sat down with his mother, had a light-hearted discussion with her and trimmed his nails.
Younger brother of Muddasir Ali, Jehangir Ali shared a unique bond with his brother. Besides being his sibling, Jehangir studied journalism together with Muddasir at Media Education Research Centre (MERC), University of Kashmir, started their journalism career together and took off in the field.
While Muddasir chose to cover the Kashmir story based in Kashmir, Jehangir went to Delhi and worked there. "Bhai was my biggest support," Jehangir said.
"My going to Delhi and pursuing my career was only possible because he was there at the backend to take care of the family," he said, adding, "One can't explain what has befallen on us by his passing away."
With moist eyes, Jehangir recalled Muddasir's last moments, saying he was asking the doctors to put him on a ventilator. "He collapsed in my arms. He wanted to talk and share, however, he couldn't speak as he was feeling breathless." Jehangir said he would do every possible thing to continue the legacy of Muddasir. "The way his body of work has brought him laurels and respect in the society, I will make sure it continues."