Thank you God for giving me my father
I wish I could tell you one last time how blessed I feel everyday for having had such a wonderful father.
A father is role model for his children. He is their first hero and their first inspiration. My father was also my role model; I always wanted to emulate him in whatever manner I could. Whether this meant adopting his dressing style, the way he ate, socialised with other people or the way he treated his children and other family members - I wanted to be exactly like him.
Ziauddin Khan left this world on February 26, 1995 at 10:05pm; he was my father.
Heartbroken and disillusioned, I stood by his bedside when his doctor informed me about his demise. My world crumbled before me as the man I deemed invincible existed no more. Reluctant to cry and reveal my feelings in front of my mother and younger siblings, I suppressed them; I had to give them strength, I had to step into my father’s shoes - shoes that were yet too big for me to fill.
But such is life; you have no option but to move on, to let go and allow life to carry you on to the next chapter. I couldn’t have done this without my mother. Her strength resonated amongst all five of us (brother and sisters) and still does today as we try and cope with an irreparable loss, and the turning wheels of everyday life.
Coming back to my father, after migrating from India, the responsibilities to earn a livelihood for the family fell upon his shoulders at a very young age. His hard work, determination and dedication were able to carry him through these tough times. He not only assisted his younger siblings with their studies but also single-handedly took up the responsibility of getting two of his sisters successfully married off.
My father got married in 1968, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to look after his parents and siblings with the same ardour. Many people find it very difficult to cope with the responsibilities of married life, a job and younger siblings to manage. My father did all of this without so much as a hint of annoyance.
The time I spent with my father was the most memorable period of my lifetime. By profession, my father was a contractor and the company he set up approximately 60 years ago still exists in the accreditation list of several government agencies. As I worked with abu (father) on various projects, I was fortunate enough and luckier than my other siblings, to have spent more time with him.
What I learnt from him about business and life are lessons I would want to pass down to my own children one day. It is wisdom that I believe deserves to be shared.
My father spoilt us, but never let us forget our values and beliefs. I was endowed with a princely childhood, filled with travel and adventures. I believe, we, my siblings and I, were amongst the very lucky few who travelled half way across the world by the age of ten. We were also fortunate enough to watch a few matches of the Cricket World Cup 1979 played in the UK, becoming the target of envy from many others our age.
Having said as much, my father made sure we lived a balanced life. There were times when we would be scolded for things done wrong, especially when it came to education.
A childhood incident, which I now look back at and reprimand myself for, was when I was told to apologise to my Qari Sahib (Quranic study teacher) for my mischievous act. My father told my Qari Sahib that I was very sorry for what I had done and had come to apologise; at that moment, of childish insolence, I told the Qari Sahib that it was not I who was apologising but my father.
I still regret the embarrassment I may have caused to my father, but being the man that he was, I know I was forgiven.
One of my father’s greatest joys was writing. To him, writing was an form of art, not just a mode of communication; his English language skills were second to none. He was my first instructor and today, what little I do know, is all that has been borrowed from my father's great knowledge bank. For this, I cannot thank him enough.
In August 1989, my matriculation result was announced, and on the same day my father was undergoing a life-threatening bypass operation in the US. This was the first time I felt the intensity of how much I missed my father; I told him so as well. By the grace of Allah, his operation was successful. And even after such a major operation, he decided not to quit work and continued to do so until his very last breath. Till the last day of his life, he lived up to his image of being a person of strength, integrity and honour.
I held my father in high esteem; he was my mentor, my inspiration, my super-hero and will forever hold a special place in my heart. Even though he has left us, I still miss him immensely and wish I could tell him one last time how blessed I feel everyday for having had such a wonderful father.
Happy Father's Day Abbu!