One of the earliest memories of my life was when I was a child, barely able to walk, and had lost the link with my parents in the busiest city of Karachi, Pakistan. I ended up being in the arms of a woman who seemed to have no child of her own. Dad had some work to do and he asked the driver to take care of me but he did not see me opening the back door of the car. I opened the door and started climbing the floors of a tall building until I reached the end floor. There, having no further floors left to climb, I started crying and a door suddenly opened. A woman appeared and took me in with ease. I don’t know how, or maybe it was an intuition, dad reached the floor and knocked the door. There, I could see the intensity of love in his eyes. Those were immense channels, vast flow, enormous tides of love in his eyes - so apparent and so precious.
It only happens in case of parents when a post graduate medical doctor and a medical officer find lack of will to inject few drops of medicine in their child’s arm. And they travel a different town to their relatives, who happen to be doctors, so that the injection is properly injected in their son. In my childhood I had displeasure of having some of the annoying diseases and also a surgical operation. I remember I had made an agreement with parents that I would take one injection or round of medicine per one gift or some pocket money. I earned thousands of rupees cash, and they obliged.
- Villages near Khorwah, Badin, Sindh
I belong to a middle class family of lower Sindh - Laar region. The area is Badin where my relatives live. Father was born in a village near union council Khorwah. From the start, he had this talent in Sindhi poetry and prose writing. He was a bright student of his time who passed with distinction in school. He had uncle who was a senior clerk in University of Sindh, Jamshoro. Uncle had 7 children and he was in desperate need of some help including taking care of his children at Jamshoro. So, he saw it in my father, a thirst for education and that he was his relative. He took father to Jamshoro, where father worked hard and got selected in Medical University along with working on his first book of poetry, “And the bird sings.”
- Jamshoro bridge, River Indus
It was an unfortunate tragedy that father’s uncle died early on and he left his widow and seven children of young age behind, making father as the elder of his household. Dad, at that time, started getting some fame with his famous poetry, “Sindh murky payee, Sindh murky payee”,"Sindh Smiles." Being a young medical doctor, he then married my mother who belonged to Matli, a town in Badin. She was also a medical doctor but from Nawabshah College. They got their initial posting in Karachi, Maleer, where I got admission in Sindh Madrasatul Islam, the school where Pakistan’s founder, Jinnah, once studied.
- Karachi, Mazar-e- Quaid
- Sindh Madrasatul Islam, Karachi
Things could not go well for us in the city and we eventually had to move to Golarchi, a town in Badin where parents joined Civil hospital Golarchi as medical officers. By that time, children of dad’s uncle used to live with us. It was a messy home. Parents initially lived in a government house where they had not much to mention except some charpais and tables. It was a humble beginning from scratch. Mother started practicing from home. Soon, parents made their own house in Golarchi and we got shifted there. This town had no significant place to mention except that this was closest to Khorwah, dad's village.
- Golarchi Road, Badin, Sindh
Time changed and uncle’s children became young and his elder son, Imdad, got job in a local college. He went to Khorwah and lived in his father’s house. Soon, they all left for Khorwah where they still reside. Father kept his promise, and mother was generous enough to share her children’s share with them. It is said that upbringing of an orphan is one of the noblest deeds in Islam. The fact that our Prophet was an orphan, mother had this religious inspiration of helping them. Where dad had the poetic taste and liked to stay away from seemingly insignificant things of daily life, mother was the real parent of dad’s relatives. When, once my mother was a child, a faqeer came to their house in Matli. My grandmother asked him to pray for her daughter. He saw and said, “The girl will have noble deeds but his life would remain in pain for a long time due to several sacrifices she would make.”
But for me, in childhood, I was the prince of Golarchi. I had these strong guys holding me in their arms all the time and I hardly remember moments when I was allowed to walk on floor. When I was in primary school, I had this agreement with school that my uncle Imdad, the elder son of dad’s uncle, will sit with me in class. I had this strange affection with him. I used to hold his ear with my fingers and would sleep sucking my lower lip. I remember my insistence to sleep with uncle Imdad at the night of his wedding. It was my worst demand of him, he had to agree with. He only managed to avoid it once I decided otherwise, thanks to uncle’s mother who gave me some candies and changed my mind.
- Imdad in the middle
Parents spent much of the money on relatives. Dad built them houses in the village and gave much from his own. It was a whole village under poverty and my parents were still struggling with their own house budget but had to help their relatives in remote village of Khorwah. Soon, doctors of our area became prosperous and my father, despite being in charge of the civil hospital, could not manage to buy a single property except that of his house. Sometimes, I wonder if I were still a student of that school in Karachi, instead of the town in Golarchi, how different my future would have been? But then, I step back and seek forgiveness for being a selfish even in extent of thinking.
- Me sleeping under tree, village Khorwah
Today, on 10th December 2014, my parents have bought and received keys of their second major home outside Golarchi at Hyderabad. This has come after their retirement when they are now residing in Golarchi, alone and old. When I am here at Hyderabad, they have no one there with them. I have my dealings here and old times of messy and crowdy household have long passed. My uncles live in Khorwah and parents no longer work in the civil hospital. Mother insists that she would not leave Golarchi because her children, my younger brother and sister, are young which makes her still a working woman. Dad sometimes visits hospital near Khorwah and sometimes to his agricultural land but he looks tired and after his first book, he never wrote the second one. Though he still writes but he writes and throws pages in the dust bin and repeats the same again and again for endless times. Though he has achieved much but most of his achievements are not his own.
- Me sitting on back and Imdad is riding
These are times when I have become my parents’ only hope. I, being an immaterial person by nature, who like his father does not believe in conquering the world but likes living in solace, has to leave his home and deal with this strange and utterly real world. I have to forget my past when I was in arms of my uncles and did not know what it meant to be walking on the floor. Today, I lack the sagacity to deal with the world of my time. One thing which keeps me moving is my parents. Their self less struggle and pure choices in life motivates me. I, being a lonely soldier of my household, feel it an obligation that I fight this battle of life for my parents and overcome its challenges. I, being a lonely soldier, must fight this battle of worldly designs and win. Failure is no option because a selfless household has strongest foundations.