P.A. to Paaji
Today, as I write this, is the 30th of November, 2018. The love of my life, the pillar of my strength, my rock, my role model, my stunningly handsome father, my source of pride and my source of joy, the man I so desperately wanted to imitate, the man I so wanted to be, the man I always looked up to and the man I always sought guidance from, heeded the call of our Most Merciful Lord, our Creator and our Sustainer and left us on the 31th of October, 2018 and so exactly one month has come and gone.
It has been exactly one month since I stepped down into my father’s grave and gently lowered him into it. This would be the last time I would feel his touch. This would be the last time I would feel his weight in my arms. This would be the last time I would look at his beautiful face. It was about 5:30 pm but the sun was still shining and my father’s left eye was slightly open and it still twinkled in the sunshine. He definitely had the most beautiful eyes. This would be the last time would see his eyes, the last time my eyes would see the twinkle in his eye. He was so beautiful. Truly a gift from the Almighty!
P.A. to Paaji – meaning “Personal Assistant to elder brother”. There is a story behind this, a story of my love for my father. Once my aunt called us and I had picked up the phone and she thought it was my father who answered the phone and in a display of respect which is common in our culture, she would always address my father as “Paaji” meaning elder brother. So she thinking it was not me but my father at the other end of the phone call, started the conversation with the Islamic greeting of “Asalam-o-alaikom Paaji”. It was a moment to EXTREME pride for me to think someone mistook me for my father!! I sounded like my father?? WHAT A COMPLIMENT!! But I knew very well that I would be the luckiest person alive if I could be half the man my father was. So my response to my Aunt addressing me as “Paaji” (elder brother) was to tell her in a way that she would know it was me and not my father who answered the phone and also convey the fact that I could never be as great a man as my father and the best I could be if I tried real hard would be to become a personal assistant to my father, be someone that reported to him, someone that had a habit of addressing his father as “Sir”.
Exactly one month ago, the Almighty with His infinite wisdom decided to replace me from the position of “P.A. to Paaji” with a shiny Angel from the heavens. Exactly one month ago, my father, my Superman, man I would always address as “Sir” left us and ascended in the company of Allah’s angels to go live in that shiny palace made of silver and gold in the heavens up above. Oh sweet God, I miss my father so much. I shall always be incomplete without him.
Oh my sweetest Daddy, may Allah’s angels wrap you in their wings, may Allah Almighty in His infinite wisdom and infinite mercy shower you with all His blessings and may we soon meet again in heaven and may I look at your beautiful face and proudly declare “P.A to Paaji reporting for duty sir!”.
Irfan Afzal 30th Nov 2018