Tokal Kakh – wisdom personified

He nursed me with every possible comfort, changed my diapers and braved all complex twists and twirls for my sake.
Tokal Kakh – wisdom personified
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Death keeps no calendar. Every soul shall have to taste death. We feel an irretrievable void when someone from the intimate relations leaves us.

Some sixty fortnights back, it was a sunny Wednesday afternoon, a day after Eid-ul-fitr, when benevolent God called this man for the eternal rest. I vividly remember his face shimmering like a sunbeam when his soul was in haste to attend the final call of his Creator. It was July 30th, exactly a month before the deadly deluge hit the valley. 

He was on way to mosque to offer mid-day prayers but God had some other plans. At its entrance, he was hit by a bicycle. He collapsed on the spot. He was rushed to SKIMS Soura where he lost his battle with life.

Humble humanitarian, septuagenarian Abdul Ahad was popular with the nom de guerre Tokal Kakh. I can spin hundreds of anecdotes which suggest that he was a savior for destitute. A grassroots social activist who rose through the ranks by his hard work. This unlettered volunteer, a gem of a gentleman helped hundreds of widows, orphans and oldies and registered them with Social Welfare department for the financial assistance they deserved and needed. His prime target in life was to help the needy. His social work can never be erased from our memories. He was a warden of the downtrodden. Man with a mission, his zest and zeal drove me to serve selflessly. 

My chemistry with him was unparalleled. He stood like a pillar against all odds I faced. He nursed me with every possible comfort, changed my diapers and braved all complex twists and twirls for my sake. This supreme noble figure smiled and cried for me in both times of elation and distress. 

He left no stone unturned to make me feel comfortable with whatever resources he had. Who would not agree with C.S.Lewis when he says, "The death of a beloved is an amputation." I feel amputated sans him. Usually grief does fade with time but his loss created a permanent vacuum for me. 

Liberal, confident and friendly, he taught me courage and conviction. He taught me the meaning of love. He gave me everything I asked, without asking for anything in return. An ambassador of peace, he was an institution in himself. Someone has aptly remarked that, "only a dying person knows how much time he has left."  He knew it. He left me without bidding a formal adieu. 

The word hatred was missing in his dictionary. He only knew the language of love. He shared unrequited love with every person he encountered. Humanity was the most respected religion for him. He didn't know the barrier of ego, caste, class-consideration, race, sex or sect. Seated on his rug, I have always heard him praying for the prosperity of humanity. He was truly the gentleman of the tribe.

He was soft, vibrant and methodical. He could not afford to see my wet eyes. No matter how stressful I was, his priceless smile would vaporize my worries. Being his darling, my requests would turn out to be orders for him. Whenever life challenges, his optimistic thoughts infuse a positive reinforcement in me since he wanted me to see the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true. I am glad he stayed away from comparing me with others. He was a wonderful advisor. His bedtime stories told with customary tolerance still ring in my ears. I live with his memories as Susan Sontag believes, "Memory is, achingly, the only relation we have with the dead." He will never slip from my memory's grip. 

His motivating speeches are engineering a new impetus in me. One thing which reverberates in my ears time and again is, "Dear Abid, simplicity is the best adornment; Keep it with you as long as possible." This sincere friend gave me unstinting love and support. As I am writing this, something stings and pierces my heart. No loss is easy to handle, it comes with a cost- emotional, mental and physical.

I could not reconcile easily after his unexpected death. His demise shell-shocked me for a long time and snatched my smile. There was just emptiness and forlorn feelings. But gradually, loud mourning turned into quiet sorrow turned into measured remembrance turned into learning to live with absence turned into living again. Now, I want to scream and lament as Poet Sir Muhammad Iqbal has beautifully put it.

Khak-e-marqad par Teri le kar ye faryad aawunga

Ab duaye neem shab mein, kisko mein yaad aawunga.

 (I shall come to the dust of your grave, bringing this lament. Now, who will remember me in mid-night prayers?)

{Author is pursuing his post-graduation from the department of Media Education and Research Centre, University of Kashmir.}

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