Happy birthday to a woman of substance

January 6, 2020 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

ammi-and-tigguShe was a soft, gentle woman with a ready smile who was always there whenever any of us needed her – and even when we didn’t. She was our pillar of strength, our constant, the person who kept us glued together. Ammi would have been 84 years old today had she lived but that was not to be. They say God takes good people away to heaven sooner rather than later. Ammi passed away at age 67 just under 17 years ago.

Looking back at her life I can only remember a woman who was constantly giving – her love, her time, her attention, her advice, her compassion. Despite her prolonged illness, she was always positive, always cheerful. No matter how bad things seemed to us at times, her smile made everything okay. It was like there was a magic aura around her that healed whatever ailed us.

I can’t believe she has been gone so long. When I walk into the house even now, I feel her presence. I guess that is why I have refused to move out of our family home. It is where I find comfort, where there are memories that continue to warm my heart.

Ammi was a good cook. There was a flavour in everything she made – simple or complicated. Much of what she cooked she learnt over time. She loved to cook things that her family enjoyed. However, my father loved to entertain (he said it was his only vice) so she often made what could be termed as gourmet dishes. Since we lived a lot of our early lives in Hong Kong where we couldn’t buy naan/roti or Pakistani desserts, we learnt to experiment and make all sorts of food. I was her junior chef (her chotu) who watched her cook and helped in any way I could. Our gulab jamun and coconut barfi soon became the talk of the town and friends often used to request us to especially make it for them. My mother never refused. That was who she was.

ammi in orangeAmmi was married at a very early age so much of what she learnt was through self-discovery, through reading newspapers and books, and watching documentaries and films and through conversations . She was an avid reader and many of the books we have in the shelf in our lounge belonged to her. I have often thought of giving them away but haven’t had the heart to. If you know a library where you believe a diverse set of Urdu and English books – novels, Naqoosh, biographies, etc will be read and re-read, reach out to me. I think it is about time these books were used more than they have been since Ammi’s death. At first Abbaji read some of them, then some friends and family borrowed them but nowadays most of them just sit there.

Together Ammi and Abbaji created what is our value system. They were for the most part responsible for the people we are today. A strong sense of integrity and fairplay was embedded in us as youngsters and it is something that has stayed with us. Compassion, a sense of giving, a lack of selfishness, our commitment to hard work are all part of our mental make up. If there are any weakness in us as humans, it is entirely due to our own lack of ability.

Happy birthday sweet, angelic Ammi. Thank you for being who you were. We were indeed lucky to have you as an essential part of our lives. I hope that we live up to the expectations that you and Abbaji had of us. It is the only way we can continue to honour your memory.

 

 

Entry filed under: Posts.

Remembering a man who was our anchor Memories are what keep us going

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