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Eulogy:  Papa! You're not with me anymore, but I have your books.

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By: Muzamil Manzoor

It was March 10, 2019 and the clock had struck 8pm, when one of my close friends called me saying, “My dad has met with an accident”. The moment he told me this I felt so helpless that calling my dad and asking him about his well being seemed most difficult thing to do in the world.  After attempting some self-consoling, I dialled my Papa’s phone number and it was switched off. The fact that my Dad’s phone was switched off made me to go through most horrible thoughts and these thoughts made my body to shiver with cold.

I was in a situation that I had never experienced before; everything I was experiencing seemed to have no end. I wasn’t ready to believe what I had heard from my friend. After few minutes, my friend consoled me and helped me to pick up the phone and call my uncle. After repeated attempts to call my uncle, my aunty finally received the call and without letting her say anything, I asked her, “What happened to Papa? They were on way to Police Control Room and told me to wait for their call and I kept waiting for hours but they didn’t call. I was also not in a position to call them back and meanwhile, a message along with a photograph appeared in a Whatsapp group that read, “Unknown local dies while travelling in Srinagar”. Ah! That picture was of my beloved Dad.

My Dad, Manzoor Ahmad, (53) passed away in Srinagar on last Sunday evening due to heart attack. He was a gentle and noble soul, as people remember him. I still remember those school days, when he would motivate me to take my studies seriously. He used to bring me gifts, whenever I would top the exam. He never forced an academic career on me but instead set me free to choose one. He had helped me, when I was studying in sixth standard, to set up a library at home and had bought many books for the purpose including those written by Sir Mohammad Iqbal, Ghalibʼs Dewaani-Ghalib, English and Urdu dictionary. It was during the same time that I wrote my first poem.

My Papa has left for heavenly abode and I miss him a lot, his absence makes me sad but his thoughts comfort me. I still remember, how Papa would advise me to face the realities of the world, he would always ask me about my future plans and encourage me by saying, “I am proud of you my son, you are doing a great job.”

Papa would urge upon my friends to continue their studies and had offered economic assistance to them. When my first article was published, he was the first person to give me feedback while encouraging me to keep writing. I remember one of his comments on my article, “Zor i Qalm aur zyaada”.

Papa, you have empowered me with your thoughts and ideas. “Whatever you need in pursuing education, I will provide it, go anywhere in the world for achieving your dreams but never ask me to build a house for you; I will never do that. Make yourself powerful with education; I want you to be an independent person. You have to be powerful,” Papa had told me once.

Papa! You are not with me anymore, but I have your books. I will keep my promise and will make your every dream come true. I am proud to be your son and will make you proud.

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