OUR FAMILY’S STRENGTHS
(This write up was just meant for ourselves, but I want to share it now. This was written in 2009 – two years before he passed away, it was just a family activity which Nataliya asked us all to do. The way Najib wrote it, was just awesome. He summed up our family’s strengths so beautifully, we all loved it. Today, January 17th, it will be four years since he left us for a better world. May he rest in eternal peace in Jannat ul Firdaus. Ameen. )
OUR FAMILY’S STRENGTHS
By Air Cdre. M Najib Khan.
Let me start from the beginning, tho thoughts come better in random. Our motto has been, fun and hard-work. Even if we deviated, we cannot take anything for granted, and need to refocus ourselves. Happiness means a right combination of the two.
- Our cosy homes, small or large (often larger than we needed), our workroom, our abilities to do up the homes ourselves. (kitchen paint Mianwali, Kuwait wallpaper, sink change, paintings (exhibition Sargodha)
- Our pride in ourselves, good family, country (patriotism). Our family was always revered / respected and even favoured among friends and relatives. I have actually felt my mother/father favouring us more.
- We are indoors as well as outdoors, educated, travelled, sporty, social, decent and deeply religious. Computer literate, high tech, cars and gizmos, picnics, hikes, travels (and travails).
- We loved travel, across Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia. Our trip to Europe became a model for others. The train journey (Orient Express), tulip farms, rooms service (“we make it you take it” ), our walk in champs elysees, looking for the river, the sound of music tour, the umra trips (nataliya running for the 8th Sayee chakar), the lost passports odyssey, our drives to all directions from our posting bases, our Karachi drives all over, trip to Pindi with Pepri and kittoo, our visit to Bwp via Gujranwala and scores of other rich experiences add to our strengths. Travel is education. Not forgetting Seattle, Duvall, Snowqualme, Boeing, Space Needle, Microsoft, Ice rink and our ordeals at Dubai and Amsterdam.
- Our homes décor included old and new styles. Gizmology and art. We were always first to experiment new things, and yet envied our old collections. Our, books, souvinirs, paintings, family albums (Dozons), videos of every possible occasion and photographs (gosh, till they over ran our stores / drawing room and shelves.)
- Our babies started computers in pampers – Nadiya even got photographed banging the keyboard like an orchestra. We were the leading family in our circle in education, computers, cars (oh BM, Merc, Audi, Chev, Crown ), travel, music, fun parties, and fashion ( the girls were always dressed up so beautifully). They were always clean, pretty and lovely. We are trend setters in our social circles.
- Our balance between friends / family, education / sports, religion/ music, indoor / outdoor has been a hallmark. Najibs has been a brand image which our friends blindly trusted in all matters, and took our advice.
- Each of our 3 lovely daughters brought love, life, laughter, hope and immense joy into our home. All three have unique personalities, full of life, vigour, dreams, affection, sensitivity, all highly intelligent, and by Allahs grace, healthy. We saw our share of kid fun, dramatics, rolling of floors, yelling towards symphathic ears, snuggling between mama and papa, or over our razai, kicking off our blankets, dragging us to parks, trailing behind us in hikes and visits. In short they are complete human beings, with lovely upbringing, strong genes, compassion, IQ, and a lot of road sense (Masha Allah) for the years ahead. They are the light of our eyes, and our gift to the world, beyond us.
- We have to thank God repeatedly for the blessings, not just material, but also of health, education, family values and everything else we take forgranted. Many of our acquantances have faced tougher challenges due to congenital illneses or problems. May Allah protect us from harm in the future too.
- God gave us every wish we made – lovely homes in PAF, parents, friends, caring larger family, no family fueds, no property suits, education, health, cars, computers, comforts, and these days – gas heaters.. aah. We should not only thank God again and again for these, but also thank Him for what he has not given us. We must pray for peace and contentment, for better future for our country and our children, grand children and great grand children….that’s door andaishi !
- Our favourite haunts Chakian Ki Daal, Zam zam, Askari Sajji, Karachi airport Mcdonalds, MA Society Pizza hut, Daman e Koh, Pir Sohawa, Cinepax, Khyber hotel Kuwait (Makhani daal), Sunday bazaars, Karachi company, Dolmen centre, Jinnah super, KRP, Millenium Mall, safari mall and so many more are our shared rich experiences.
- Our family successes include being on deputation, director at AHQ, ACAS, Dy DG and PIA all fully deserving and without any sifarish what so ever. We also faced difficulties of postings, job losses, pressures. Both experiences enrich us, so let us not under estimate our abilities and Gods mercy and kindness. We had good times, we had bad times, but by being steadfast we can overcome challenges. United we stand, divided we fall. We cannot let our reputation and family name down. Each one of us has to remain answerable to self, to God and to other family members. We cannot let down one another, even at the risk of our lives. We cannot breach our trust in each other, no matter what happened in the past. WE ALL HAVE A MUTUAL RESPONSIBILITY for SUCCESS through life with ALLAH as a Witness.
- The difficulties of last 3-4 years have taught us lessons, and made us wiser. “When the climb seems endless, and legs quiver under the strain, and nothing seems to go quite as you wish, it it then that you MUST NOT STOP.” We can be stronger, happier and better through this, if we all participate and support the family goals.
- In recent times, daughters don’t “go away” but we “gain” sons, when they get married. So we get richer, even if the daughter has to spend most of her time in her new abode. They are always our daughters, their husbands are our sons, our home is their home too, always. In my case, I have been a “ghar damaad” and rarely considered my self a son in law. But our family home is no less important than any other, it’s a Gul e Gulsher for our children and their children.
- Things that I will never forget.
- Our novice ways as newly weds, our being centre of attention of the family and friends at Mianwali, Quetta, Kuwait and Sargodha. Our next door neighbours we “didn’t choose”.
- Our running on murree roads, with SNK on heels.
- Me Sprinting like a cheetah after the last bogey of orient express at Belgrade (1984) with the most frightful of all thoughts of losing my wife and daughter.
- My experience with huge luggages during honeymoon, Europe trip, the travails with an Algerian in Paris, the angel in a suite at Kings cross London, the guided tours in each city we visited.
- Running to AFIP in the midst of my wifes operation, with her ovary in my hand for the biopsy, and anxiously awaiting the result, those 5 min seemed like 5 hrs. Then sitting all night on her side, till she regained consciousness early next morning. Being virtually on her bedside day and night for a month.
- Surrounded by ferocious monkeys at Lowertopa and upper topa twice. Bribing them with all our banana and peanuts stock to get away. Reaching base, to learn from our friend (Rahat) that a lion has been recently spotted there.
- First sight of our new born daughters, the blinking of their eyes, the jet black hair on a tiny head, the doll eyes effect shown to us by the lady doctor, the pin head sized finger nails, on which my father commented “insaan kitna barra banta hai.. yeh aik nakhan tak to bana nahi sakta”. These marvels of nature are now beautiful young girls, whose happiness and smiles I would die for. I feel privileged that we are parents of 3, we are assured “jannat” if we bring them up well. What a great opportunity, only fools would miss it.
- Our being awake together, or in turns to see through our babies gripes or teething pains, are experiences that cannot be forgotten. The ‘ta too tee jump’, the kangi on billo ‘itni bali ho gai ho phil bhi maon maon kalti ho’ and ‘papa sab so gai hain aur mujhe dar lag raha hai’ on phone to my office in hot sgd afternoons, are things I will even remember after a million years.
- Our breakfast in bed, the bedtrays, the lovely curtain drapes revealing large windows. The morning cup of tea, which I relished more in recent years, the last one being on 16 August 2009.
- Out drives across Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, driving at 190kph for a few seconds, and 160 kph for an hour non stop, losing our passports, being stopped by a shurta on the deserted old route to medina, our tenting night at Kuwaiti desert, and midnight intruders I had to face / ward off.
- Our trips to Gilgit – hunza, swat, malam jabba, sindh interior, drives to and from mianwali, Sargodha, badaber, katha pahar and kalay badal, the chicken pulao servings by SNK enroute. The latest drives, Karachi to Pindi with Pepri and Fuzzy (lunch with goats), and Gujranwala -Bahawalpur (lunch near road side canal and flies, crows).
- My experiences of rescuing my damsel in distress from so many car breakdowns, even tho I thought I had maintained my cars in damsel proof conditions. My calling each one of you many times a day, just to find your were fine. SNK calling my office at least twice a day in our first ten years. My asking her to have tea stop in my PTC office whenever she passed by.
- My driving lessons to my daughters and my favourite test spot near present CAS house – stop on slope – and then go ! (Oh those Manual gears).
- My being pushed into a 13 km trail of ASG, due to SNKs sudden pulling out, and my Nadoo’s great company and performance over margalla mountains. Her being my tennis mate at AWC and our bets and legpulling with others. Her internship at PIA and my pride to see her struggle in sweat and heat. My refusal to sit through her interview, when I was chairing the selection process.
- My exploits with Kukoo on bicycle (95-97), morning walks at Faisal (97-98) and car drives (2003-09). Our learning new tricks, tution sessions, and pepsi breaks (kia hua bahi, gharibon ka khoon to nahi peetay na ). Her kissing me on coverall near my knees on my return from Sgd office, her songs with me “jab saray log so jaatay hain… hum chipus mipus khatay hain…ho ho khatay hain”
- Kukoo saying “papa maine abhi retire nahi hona” and SNK saying “ this is a rank I want” Then after anxious days Promotion clearance call from AVM Pasha in C22, and the spontaneous shrieks of celebrations even before I had put down the phone.
- Out trips to Kalabagh, Lowertopa, Sakesar, and hikes on mountains. Clustering round heaters, sitting in Lowertopa sunroom, cards, peanuts, tea. Our ranch home in wah, and Oh Nadya Coffee… how I miss it.
- My efforts with SNK to arrange her safe trip to US, tracking her flights minute by minute, paying her roaming bill on the slightest hint from her, and WNK and me seeing her off at Daewoo.
- Our walks in F9 park, especially the last in Aug 09, when we offered maghrib prayers together.
- Our NNK coming first in ABIC, getting scholarship for FAST, NDNK winning poetry and tennis, and working all night long without lights in Karachi. Me running Corolla to give her light from 3 to 7 AM one night, and Nads doing so well. WNK standing first in her montessory race, reciting Iqbals poem Jugnoo, compering in CGS, rock climbing like a monkey in Isb and her social work. Her passing all 5 x 2 exams despite difficult circumstances of posting and home.
- Our babies growing up to be married, our visits to prospective grooms families in Islamabad, Lahore, Fremont. Our tense moments in selections, and me being always last to decide. Nataliya saying “ papa mujhe koi problem nahi hai, to apko kiun hai” me saying “ if you have no problem I don’t have either” Our giving Nataliya and Nadia freedom to talk to the boys, then the fortunate outcomes. MashaAllah. Out meticulous planning for the weddings, (4 functions each) My assurance to Nat in July 2006 that her “ruksatti will not be delayed even if our household is under move” My comments to someone who asked me about wedding expenses “jitna hota hai utna lag jata hai”. Out beautiful and tasteful functions at E9, chaklala, Ramada and Safari.
- My trips abroad and my laborious (difficult) shopping for my ladies, my instinctive selection of shoes and garments from China, US, South Africa, Bangla desh, Srilanka. The regret of getting a pair of two right shoes from Bankok, the joy of buying diamond from South Africa and memorabilia from out so many trips which now adorn our memories.
- Our 2007-08 trip to US, night stays at Dubai and Amsterdam (virtually on footpaths), tying our bags to our feet, SNK losing her way at Amsterdam and Dubai airports.
- Our Air War college experiences, trips, picnics, lectures, Abbas Hussain, Gourmet, neighbors, My pride to be trophy winner, my farewell speech that became famous. My subsequent rise to Air Cdre, and two medals TIM and SIM. Our being in E9, getting the taste of Air Ranks. Nataliya asking me “Papa tell me one thing, why do they spoil the ACAS’s so much?”
- Our being sent out of Islamabad, and being dazzled with facilities and honours at AWC. Then God’s reminder that life has its ups and downs. My struggles at PIA and partial successes, and then reminder again.
- We must thank God for what we have, rather than aggrieve what we don’t. “We can what we think we can”, “We are what we think we are”. Each of us has an important place in our home, with privileges and responsibility – it’s a package. Fun is important, and so is responsibility. The future can be controlled, the past cannot.
- My prayers for all of us.