I can never forget the day my brother called me in my office and asked me to rush to Anklesaria Hospital after condition of my father, Khalique Ibrahim Khalique (1926-2006), deteriorated.
It was the worst feeling I have ever had in my life. After taking a rickshaw from my office, situated on the I I Chundrigar Road, I reached the hospital in around 15 to 20 minutes, but this period was felt like hours. My job was new so I could not take long leaves, and had to join my office, but always feel the guilt and can never forgive myself for leaving my father on the death bed. I always think maybe he wanted to say something to me before his death, despite knowing that he had lost his speaking power much before he left for his final abode. Maybe he wanted to see me for the last time, but who knows, what was going through his head. And this I will always regret.
Anyways, after reaching the hospital, I went straight to the ICU where my father was admitted. There I saw my brother talking to the doctor. He hugged me and told me that our father was no more. I entered the ICU immediately, where nurses were franticly moving around the body. I took a closer look and realised that before his death, he was moaning in excruciating pain, as his eyes were full of tears. This gave me goose bumps and I started crying. I looked at my brother in horror and disbelief, but he was also going through the same pain, which I was feeling at that time.
My mother, also in the hospital room where I had shifted my father a few days ago, was surrounded by a few friends of my father and some close relatives, who were consoling her, but she broke down in tears when I approached there and after holding me tight in her arms, she said: “Tumharay Abbu hum ko chor kar chaley gae.”
I cannot express the agony we were going through at that time, but we were all trying to calm down each other, especially my mother, who happily spent 42 years with him. I don’t remember a single day when she does not talk about their association with each other.
My father was such a big part of my life, and was so supportive that it broke my heart to think I might fall short and screw up his expectations. He always fulfilled every obligation he ever undertook. His word was his bond. I never heard him utter a lie.
He was self-made and self-reliant. From his education to his career, he remained engaged with the world as a man of principles. My father relished the good things in life, and never made an enemy, not a single one. He avoided all those people whom he could not tolerate, but never kept a grudge against them.
My father always spoke openly of his admiration for the people. His unflagging support for the family’s personal development in life and other human beings created the perfect balance of a childhood for me and my brother.
I never saw him complaining about anything, not even his health. The day before he passed whoever asked him how he was doing, he gave the same answer he gave every day. I am fine.
The last words, I was able to share with him were the name of my elder daughter, Misaal (around six at that time), whom he loved wholeheartedly.
I know all of us will experience this loss in our lifetime, but it always is a hard shot to take. I lost my father more than a decade now, but still feel the same pain through which I had to go after he left us. My father was ill for almost two years, and I knew that this day would come, but was not ready to absorb that.
Even today after almost 13 years, I still cannot hold my tears, while writing this obituary, because I cannot forget the day, I lost my father (September 29, 2006). Despite attempting quite a few times, I cannot find words to write it, maybe because he is still living in my subconscious.
Death always comes as a surprise. We never expect it. We are never ready. It is never the right time, but it’s a tearful moment for the family.