Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Aslam Bookwala, R. I. P.

Aslam Kayam Bookwala, 42, my first cousin, is no more. He passed away on the evening of Sunday, 20th March, 2011. To describe Aslam in a blog is to do him injustice.

He was all that I am about to write, but he was a lot more. To many, he was a source of inspiration for the way he lived his life - a life so brief, and yet, full of achievements in his personal and professional domains. His was a world in which TODAY was all that mattered; of course, he saved for his family's future, no man or woman in his/her right senses would not; but he savoured his today as if tomorrow did not exist beyond its ephemeral existence, such as poets see in visions.

He loved food, and it showed on him in his last several years. From a thin, scrawny boy, he grew into a substantial person, but, to be honest, he looked just right with Shabnam and his two kids, Husain and Adnan. Whenever he visited India, he made it a point to call on as many of his relatives and friends that he could. He had an open hand when it came to showering largesse on those less fortunate. Many of our common relatives will vouch for his. Moreever, and this is significant: he would hand over large sums of money to me to "do" charity at my clinic, insisting that I do more of this, and not less, as the sawab would accrue to his deceased mother.  

I was reading the thoughts of the several friends and relatives on his demise in various parts of Facebook, including those posted on his profile.

Zahabiya Motiwala writes: "His smile, his talks, his masti, his bindas attitude to live life for today as who see tomorrow, his passion for food, His style, all this has given us beautiful memories of him which we will treasure all our life. Its really very sad and heart breaking."

Abbas Bookwala writes:  "It would be an understatement to say we shall miss you. But we shall also learn to live life better and value our present. We shall not let God calling you at this untimely hour go in vain."

Farah A. Bookwala remembers him with these words: "I will always remember him as the kaka who made cutting chai at all our picnics. I will miss him deeply but no longer mourn, as I know, he's gone to a place much better than the one we live in."

Even as I write, messages are being added to his profile and elsewhere. For his father, his passing is a big blow, and we pray that Allah provides him with the courage to bear this with fortitude. For his siblings, Rashidaben and Saleh, his loss may be something that we, as observers, cannot even hope to fathom. For his countless relatives, friends, admirers and clients, he was bigger than life, and we will all miss him deeply.

May his soul dwell in heaven and may he rest in peace. Shabnam, Husain and Adnan, we are all with you in your days of sadness and loss. We will pray that you will all remember him as an always smiling, forever helping young man, and may you all bear his loss with courage and fortitude as well.



Unknown said...

Greeting Dr. Kagalwala,

Thank you for your kind message about Aslam Kaka. One point to note however is his youngest son's name is Adnan, not Ammar. My name is Ammar, and I am Saleh Bookwala's oldest son. Reading your blog makes me happy, because it shows me how much Aslam Kaka has touched the lives of people around him. Even as I sit here in Canada, I can vividly picture him, and his beautiful wife, and two younger sons together. It was a cruel fate that they were separated so soon, but I know that my family will weather the storm, through the support of the many friends and family of Aslam kaka.

Wish you and your family well, and hope to touch base with you when I come to India.


Taher Kagalwala said...

Dear Ammar,

Thank you for your kind comments. I have corrected my error. Sorry for the silly mistake. My condolences are with you all.


Farah Bookwala said...

Dear Dr. Kagalwala,
Thank you for this post. Aslam kaka was an integral part of my childhood and I will treasure every moment we spent together as a family.
These times are hard and it will take each one of us, especially his immediate family, extreme patience, courage and will to find the strength from within to carry on.
I have now wiped away my tears so that my lips never fail to smile in his memory. In time, each one of us will. And that will be the biggest tribute to our beloved kaka.