Yes. That is the reality I am made to accept. Yes. The reality is my father passed away. Abbu/Abba — the words in my language for “Father” — has passed away on the 24th of February, 2015. Then a friend in way of conversation had brought up something I forgot; I finished my education, gave my thesis presentation on the 24th of December, 2014. My Abbu was so happy he said “I will buy you what you want.” because I did well and I got a new desktop. I couldn’t even use it for a month. My Abbu died before even a month happened I was able to use. He died exactly two months after I finished my thesis.
The word “Father” means a lot of things. We have our denotations, our connotations, our narratives — the word “Abbu” also entails the same concepts only “Abbu/Abba” allows formality of the title and the casualty of expression to coexist. Father does not entirely. Father has an absence and a presence demonstrating a distance either out of respect, fear, handling of authority, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (My Abbu loved The King and I and he loved the actor’s acting of the king). “Abbu/Abba” allows that Patriarch’s respective dues but allows an open narrative kind of like open source fonts. It is a fusion terminology that elevates the stature already pre established. The word equivalent to “Father” in Bangla is “Pita” but this is more of the vernacular’s written script and not a spoken concept. “Baba” can assuage its capacities and I hardly ever called Abbu Baba unless it was in a jokingly tone of endearment.
Like the mixed languages and syntaxes of how I spoke my Abbu and I had this weird netting of a relationship. At times I became his counsel, other points (mostly, most of the times) he became mine. We became each other confidants. Assuring each other. Of trivialities, of seriousness, of chances of comedies and ironies that would iron out the banalities of life. My Abbu had a bypass surgery 9.2 years ago; this November would have marked his 10th year. Post-surgery and even pre-surgery my Abbu lived a healthy and active life — more healthier and active than his sedentary, daydreaming daughter. He exercised and ate well enough but also gave more restrictions on himself than his doctors did. He was not happy that he had a bypass. He had diabetes before but did all that could be done humanly possible to exercise and eat with reason and combat his disease. He wanted to keep some of his life in his control knowing that all life is dictated and ended by Allah Almighty he also understood that Allah Almighty rewarded patience and perseverance. That Allah Almighty allowed some chances of our life in our hands as Allah Almighty is kind like that. At age 40 he also developed pressure problems, before his bypass, and this additionally made him sad. Truth is both his mother and father side of the family has an umbrella of cardiac diseases and weight related diseases. My Abbu was the youngest in his family. I am too the youngest of my family (concerning cousins and even my only sibling). My Abbu had a younger sister but she died after 40 days due to my Dida (paternal Grandmother) having developed high diabetes and unfortunately she inherited it via birth. All these genetical issues are a metaphorical cancer that kills you from the inside, gradually. My Abbu was at times heavily depressed that he had diabetes and said he wouldn’t wish it and this lifestyle on his worst enemy.
That is how beautiful, kindhearted, generous, open minded, benevolent, creative, intellectual, cerebral and honest my Abbu was and is. I am proud to know a soul, a man, of such caliber, who supported people, who wasn’t chauvinistic in the slightest, who had feminist but also masculinist ideals, who cared for people socially and hated injustices and bigotry. My father was a great Muslim. He hated extremism, he hated hegemony and useless hierarchies.He was also a just and great businessman. Who payed for some families entirely so they could support their households. Gave Zakat (religious mandatory charity for the well-off) and more than the prescribed amount. Helped orphanages and madrasas by not only feeding those children but also buying them clothes. He never stole from anyone. He liked small businesses and hated the internalised duplicity of corporations. When I think of my father I think warm as honey and sun; not stern but encapsulating stars of a million different nebulas. My Abbu is a diverse spectrum of light that could make envy many cosmos. Now he is with Allah Almighty and surely all the angels think he is a large chunk of cosmic integrity, sagacity and warmth with the cool zephyrs of an universe in dance.
When I think of Abbu I think warm. Like the blue you feel when you see a slice of sky half-asleep or after a well-rested sleep, where your consciousness feels complete. That warmth. My Abbu loved blue. I do too. I also love green which is said to be Prophet Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H.) favourite colour. It is also the colour of prosperity, verdian landscapes and all things in abundance. I hope my Abbu is experiencing blues that our eyes can never see in this plane of existence; that his immortal life of the Hereafter is so beautiful that no want is ever left incomplete or no desire is left only full but goes beyond completion, to an apotheosis that cannot be understood by us who still talk with mortal tongues and stand on mortal spines. I hope my Abbu is experiencing the Zenith of his Being and that he is enjoying time with Allah Almighty and many others.
Abbu is comfort to me. So all my nostalgia of him is comfort. He bought me things. He knew what I wanted to buy; no, it isn’t always expensive things. Last vacation he insisted before I could say it, “Why don’t you buy those Hello Kitty plushies.” (not verbatim but what he said) That is an honest, clean rib-caged hearted thing. He bought me the set because it was cute and something fathers like for their daughters.
You know what I will miss. The twilight-glowing late afternoons sitting with Abbu and us enjoying tea. Abbu and me. Juxtaposed like some alphabets in proper or messy tangible order. Perfectly written and spoken that no handwriting or font or vocal capacity can ever hope to fully replicate. Either he was awake or napping after the tea. Me on the laptop. Loving that day can be both bright and subtle. That is how Abbu was too. And that is how we are, together. It is just too intense at the same time so faint like a sunspot that lands and flutters on a butterfly’s symmetry.
I was sitting on my Abbu’s chair a day or two ago. Reminiscing, in pain, palpitating, and this scene from one of my favourite movies and my Abbu’s came… it is from The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings:
somewhere beyond the sink-hole…
…past the magnolia, under the live oaks…
…a boy and his yearling ran side by side, and were gone forever. (https://prezi.com/ibu8eniu621c/the-yearling/)
That somewhat describes my feelings. It is both sad but beautiful. I felt that come, and go and come back. The feeling of pure love transposed and transcendented time.
I actually had a experience in real life like that with my Abbu. Past 8pm in my neighbourhood when it was still non-cosmopolitan and more residential. Abbu coming out. Young and fit. I am but just a small fawn of around 6-8 years. Abbu asking me he is going to Filmfair: do I want anything? I say Beauty andthe Beast — he got it for me in VHS.
But as he was leaving to go. I saw his back walking. Receding but also strolling. Into a darkness not dangerous. Canopied and veined by trees, whose shadows chase each other as lambs in an open field. I was cycling in my bike away. Yet, I saw him disappear. Waiting for him to come home. With the tape but the tape is also his love personified. When he came back we entered the house together. Or a bit within some minutes.
That is a powerful memory Allah Almighty gave me. It is a beautiful thing that a language cannot fully explain so you must open all your heart, mind, soul and spirit to understand it.
May Allah Almighty Give My Abbu Jannat ‘ul Firdous (Highest Heaven, the 8th Heaven). AMIN.
Abbu, one day soon, hopefully, under Allah Almighty’s Mercy, we will walk those silhouetted trees together again…▬