My father … and the importance of relationships
Eid is one of the rare occasions when I am convinced to socialize with people whom I don’t interact with on a regular basis. My father, on the other hand, has always been an extremely social person. There is no city that I travel to where I do not run into a friend of my father’s. Many tell me that they have either had dinner at our home in Hong Kong or the UAE, or have actually stayed with us.
There is a joke that runs in our circle that when my father used to go see off someone at the airport, he would pick up someone else – sometimes a complete stranger. During his tenure at NBP in Hong Kong, the bank had actually become a defacto consulate. People came to him for advice and assistance instead of going to the Pakistan Consulate because they had heard how hospitable and helpful he was.
I remember one occasion when my father phoned me from Kai Tak airport at 6 am on a Sunday to say that he was on the way home and could I make some Halwa/Puree because he was bringing home some guests. The guests turned out to be a couple from India. They were at the airport looking completely lost because the people who were supposed to pick them up, hadn’t shown up. So my father brought them home for breakfast, contacted their hosts and arranged to have them picked up from our house. The lady while thanking my father, said that he had come to their rescue like a “bhagwan” . I realize she said this out of gratitude and respect but my mother and us kids couldn’t resist teasing him about it for days. 🙂
Anyway, as usual, I digress. My father has maintained a lot of relationships over the years because of his caring and helpful nature. If anyone has ever done him a favour, he has never forgotten. They may be dead and gone but for generations their children and grandchildren will be showered with attention and affection. His relationship with colleagues and friends has lasted from his youth to the current day. He has kept in touch with them and their families if only through the occasional greeting card or phone call.
This was brought home to me yet again when on the second day of Eid, despite the pain in his back and legs, my father insisted that we visit the homes of two of his old colleagues/friends who had passed away. He was insistent that it was important that we go see their wives and families and see how they were faring.
And so we did.
One such visit was with the son of one of his old NBP colleagues – Dr. Azam Shafqat (pictured here). Azam, in fact, said to him that he was amazed at his ability to maintain old relationships and keep in touch, and how nice that was. So it is Azam who is to blame for this rambling post :).
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