Gone too soon
I still can't believe that you are gone. I still can't believe that I had to say "Papa is no more." These words haunt me. My papa is no more. My papa! Now that we are in Sylhet, it feels like you are out, doing all the work that you usually used to do, that you have gone to the mosque to pray, or taking an evening nap.
It still feels like when I will walk in your room, I will be seeing you reading a book. Papa, I miss you so much. I had so much planned out for you. I can't sleep because the memories of the last few days you spent in pain haunt me. Even if I do fall asleep, I hate waking up. Waking up is waking up to the reality of you not being with us. We might be surrounded by our family, yet we three are alone.
We don't know what to do without you, without your guidance. We didn't expect this would fall upon us so soon. Only if I had got to see you one last time and hug you and get your kisses. I have so many unfulfilled 'one last times.' If only I knew that today, you wouldn't be with us. I can't even believe that today, I am writing about you not being with us anymore. I can't even convince my brain that every evening I am visiting your grave, praying, and having one-sided conversations with you. I don't know whom I will have conversations with about history, Islam and the world.
I will miss your sarcastic comments about mamma. Well, I must admit I learned the art of sarcasm from you, you were its master. You and your humour, it truly made us laugh. You, bombarding us with your dad jokes while we sat at the corner of your bed. We would laugh, mamma wouldn't get the joke, and you used to say, "Son, please take the trouble of explaining it to her." I will miss how my brother and I would say goodnight to you before going to sleep. I console myself knowing that the last few months, I actually got to spend time with you and got to stay by your side.
My only regret is that, when you were fighting in the ICU, you were alone. When you left us you were alone. I am sorry papa; we couldn't be there with you. At times, I didn't have the courage to even look you in the eyes while you were fighting for your life. My heart still aches when I recall how cancer was eating into you. I can't forget how you were gasping for breath before we rushed you to the ICU.
I don't know how I will get used to your absence. Honestly, I don't want to. I want you back, that is all I want. I want to hold you and never let go. You know papa, after we buried you and were sitting by your grave, praying, I was looking around in desperation hoping to see you; wearing your usual white kurta and smiling at us. At least, I was able to make you smile during our last conversation (I'll keep the conversation between us). But that's one of the many happy memories that I would like to keep with myself.
Papa, we promise you that we will fulfil all your last wishes and make you happy and proud, and bring a smile on your face while you look upon us. Oh papa! I miss you, I miss your face, I miss your voice, I will miss you every day, I will miss you during Muharram, I will miss your beautiful recitation of nohas, I will miss your discipline, I will miss your punctuality, I will miss you wearing the white kurta, papa in simple words I will miss everything about you.
It scares me to think that we won't get to say papa as frequently. I won't get to ask mamma after returning home from school, "Where's papa?" anymore, because we all know where you are right now. It breaks my heart to see mama not being able to sleep, as all her life she has been used to sleeping by your side. We sleep with her now. All I pray to Allah is that you be in peace, you being in a better and happier place and I hope you are with your parents and your brother, looking over us and blessing us with all your love. I will see you soon papa.
I love you so much, papa. I miss you. You were and always will be my everything. papa, I will save this one letter that I sent you around four years ago that actually made you feel proud of the fact that you have your children. I can't thank Allah enough that we were born as your children for you were the best father. Stay happy, papa and don't you worry, we will take care of mamma and everything that you would look after during your life. We are here for you, papa. We are not leaving your side, ever.
Kindly, say a little prayer for my papa Nawab Ali Hamid Khan (Nadir) son of Nawab Ali Sarwar Khan.
Nawab Ali Hamid Khan was born to Nawab Ali Sarwar Khan and Syedatunnessa Begum on the 26th of September, 1956 in Patna, India.
He completed his B.A in Sociology from Patna University, India in 1976 and earned a Diploma in Journalism/Short Story Writing from The International Correspondence Schools at Scranton, Pennsylvania in 2000.
During his life time, he had written columns and articles for multiple national and international English newspapers namely The Daily Star, Daily Sun, Independence, New Age and Readers Digest. He has also written six books, most recognized being "Bangladesh," published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the 2005 SAARC conference held here. He was a social worker and established a non-profit organization by the name of Hazrat Fatima (A.S) Social Welfare Society through which he led many social and environmental campaigns. He also founded Syedunnessa Primary School to provide free education to the children of his village, Prithimpassa in Kulaura, Moulvibazar.
On the 17th of September, 2021 Nawab Ali Hamid Khan breathed his last after being diagnosed with cancer just a month prior.