I was finishing a re-read of the seventh Harry Potter book as I awaited the release of the Cursed Child. I always found it interesting how Dumbledore — one of the greatest wizards of all time and, undoubtedly, a giant in the world of wizardry — was more of a friend and mentor to Harry than a headmaster. He was skilled, he was important — but the books were not based around his adventures or life. He made it all about Harry, despite his own standing in their universe. I could not help but feel a pang of misplaced sorrow. It reminded me of my own Dumbledore — someone who was, in fact, a much greater and a much larger personality.
August 8 marks two years to Professor Anita Ghulamali’s death. I was, in no way, her Harry — I could not begin to be conceited enough to think I was of such significance — but with her everyone felt like they were just as important. When one was in the room with Professor Anita Ghulamali, one felt like the centre of attention. She was indiscriminate in handing out adoration and significance. With her, during that conversation, you felt like you had a purpose and she made the tiniest feats seem like great achievements.
I was reviewing what I wrote for her last year and was collecting material for another article celebrating her work when I realised that there were aspects of her life I had not known about at all. As powerful and commanding as her presence was, she was not one to boast about her life. It was at this point where my feelings resonated with Harry Potter’s — finding out that you know so little about someone you love and respect so much. She was, without a doubt, a prominent educationist — always on the front line and ready, come what may. However, if you put aside her life’s work — which is not an easy task, for her work was immense and fruitful — she was an incredible woman and an inspiration like no other. She was not just a symbol of power — she was power itself — a storm that raged without fail till it achieved its means. Above all, she was human — approachable, kind-hearted and filled to the brim with wit and charisma.
Where one would think that her house would be decorated with the medals and awards that glorified her, she left all those for her workplace and surrounded her shelves with photographs of and paintings from her loved ones. She was one of us, yet above and beyond us as well. In a world of slow gusts of wind, she was a tornado till her very last breath.
The words ‘hero’ and ‘legend’ are tossed around every so often. However, there comes a time when you meet a person who not only fits the description, but redefines these words altogether, making their own names synonymous with the words themselves. Professor Anita Ghulamali was one of the strongest women in a predominantly male field of work. She was unabashedly herself, a true picture of unshakable morals and a powerhouse in each and every aspect and sphere of her life.
Professor Ghulamali is sorely missed by the countless people whose lives she bettered, simply by existing in them, even if it was for a few fleeting moments. Individuals like Professor Anita Ghulamali may pass on physically, but they never die, for their lives are succeeded by the pieces of their souls embedded in their followers who never forget. She may have passed on, but her work, her name and her distinct voice and laughter will remain etched into the lives of her friends and families for decades to come.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2016.
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