Still There.

I sat and waited for nana abbu to get done with his prayer. Sitting on his chair, with two cushions to support his back, he prayed, calmly, peacefully. I sat down on his bed; his prayer chair was placed to my right and just in front of me was a big dressing table and an even bigger mirror. I looked at myself, and I suddenly had a flashback of when I was ten, and I would come to my nana abbu’s room and tell him to give me a ride on his back. I looked at him, and at that same back, and how he couldn’t bend over for prayer anymore and had to sit straight, and when he had to bow a bit for sujjud, he would try as much as he could, and it would take him a while to get back to his previous position.

 I wanted to tell him I love him so much, but I guess I had to wait till he got done. I looked around at his closets, those big wooden closets that I used to stuff my toys into. They looked old and forgotten, yet still polished and shiny all over. I would come upto nana abbu and tell him to give me a few candies from his closet, I remember he would keep a key. That key would have a secret place, so as to not have all the kids barging into the closets for candy. I saw biscuits, juices, chips, and I would take them as well. Nana abbu would smile and let me, nano wouldn’t. She would create a fuss and rant about how kids these days don’t eat chicken and pulao, about how Faiza or Ruqaiyya’s kids eat so much chicken and beef in their diet and we kids wouldn’t have proper food. I remember it all, I grew up with each and everything, but sometimes you have memories of the little things, and sometimes you even forget the big things. I guess our minds store the information that they think is important to them, and keeps deleting the memories that are unwanted.

 I remember my nana abbu more than anyone else. I remember him taking me to walks outside in his lawn, when he could walk a lot. I remember him telling me stories about his army days and how he fought in the war of 1965, his eyes lighting up as he told me about Baluch Regiment and about their training days and exercising in the mornings and their dinner time and about their batmen and everything else, I remember all the stories. I grew up seeing him punctual, everything perfect, hair slicked to the side, a maroon napkin in the front pocket of his vest, crispy clean clothes and matching shoes, a stick in hand and a big black ring that he would always wear on his ring finger. Yes, he still does, and I came back from my flashback suddenly only to realize that I had been sitting there in front of the mirror and watching myself, dreaming about what once was. But I saw him, and he was still there, done with his prayer.

He looked at me, and smiled. He realized I had been sitting there for a while. “Nana abbu, we are leaving. I came to say Khuda Hafiz” I told him. He smiled, and his eyes gleamed like they usually did when he was really happy about something, sometimes he’s secretive about the things that make him happy. He doesn’t disclose everytime. “Come here, “ he said. I did. Nana abbu kissed my forehead. There was so much love, so many memories in that one kiss on the head, it took me back to the days and it reminded me of how beautiful life is with him around, and how beautiful he makes my world, how lucky I am to have him in my life and to have him tell me the stories that I will write about someday.



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