My grandfather passed away last night.
Although we mourn his death, I can not but help think that it would be more befitting to celebrate the life he had led.
It was, after all, a remarkable life in every sense of the word.
Born in 1923 as the second youngest son of a Kashmiri family that had migrated from Kashmir as far back as 1865, he was unique and remarkable in many ways.
He was fortunate enough to have been fathered by a man who emphasized good quality education for all of his ten sons at a time when few valued its importance and even less could afford it.
He would often talk about his childhood days in Teja Kalan (a small district in rural Punjab, now on the Indian side) where he grew up with his siblings during the thirties.
Having opted for Pakistan in 1947 he joined Pakistan Industries as a clerk and retired 35 years later as one of its Deputy Directors. He was the first one in the history of Pakistan Industry to have risen from so low a rank to one this prestigious.
And all that he had to assist him on the way was his wit and intellect.
The fact that he was loved by all is an understatement. He led an extremely active life despite his age. He was an achiever always moving ahead, striving for better.
Unfortunately a bad fall about a year ago left him with a chipped back bone.
Despite his advanced years, and objections from family members, he decided to opt for an operation. The broken fragments embedded in his flesh had practically left him bedridden and dependent on others for even the slightest of movements.
This dependency was unacceptable, even more unbearable than the excruciating pain that he suffered because of his injuries. He had been a fighter all his life; even now he refused to accept what fate had thrown his way.
“I am not afraid of death” he said often and meant it.
He was calm and composed as he said his adieus to his wife and family members before leaving for the operation yesterday morning yet looking back at it now I feel that somewhere deep inside, he knew he was not coming back but refrained from saying so for the sake of others.
He was fully prepared to accept which ever way the dice rolled for him.
Unfortunately it did not roll in his favor.
He died in the evening, never regaining full conciseness after the operation.
He was the last surviving brother of that brood of eleven that once proudly roamed the broad horizons of their little district in India and after he is laid to rest today, not only will he be gone from our lives but with him an unforgettable era will also disappear forever.