“I think God changed His mind right at the end.” My Mom said to me when you were born. While expecting you, I was sure you were a boy, as you were very active. It seems she was right. You grew up to be a real tom boy, your favorite dress was tee-shirt with shorts. Most of the time, you were playing games with boys outside. As you grew, your interest in sports grew.
You loved playing tennis with your Papa in the Sargodha Officer’s Mess lawns. Later when he became deputy DG at AWC, you went along to play tennis with him and other officers. In college you played tennis at the Federal Board level. Along with tennis, you also played table tennis, cricket, basketball and any game being played by the kids outside our home. Now, all grown up, you got married last year, and I feel happy to know that you are playing tennis every evening in Lahore. Allah has blessed you with a wonderful husband, and mother –in-law, who care for you and your interests and love sports themselves.
As a kid, you were my accident-prone one. The one, who experimented with everything and who broke the maximum number of bones. Once, I called the doctor at the PAF Sargodha M. I. Room, when I told him “I’m Mrs. Najib speaking…” He said , “Oh, the one whose daughter keeps getting fractures!” I was not surprised to have been recognized like this.
As a two-month old baby, you could out-scream anyone, till we would beg you to stop. Later, you were the untidiest one, and your room was a mess. Today, you are an expert on being organized. In your studies, you were all the time being compared to your elder sister who usually topped. So, one day, you told me that I need not worry that my pride may get out of hand due to Nataliya, she said, I’ll make sure it is cut down to size!
Your sense of humor has always been one of your best assets. Finding the humor in any situation is your forte. You will have us all in stitches within minutes of meeting you. When you were in Bahria College, we all would wait eagerly for you to return. You would act out the lectures of the day, and the funny incidents would be shown with great detail. Of course, you are a master at acting out scenes in our home as well, taking the part of your Mom, or sisters! Day before yesterday, when you came from Lahore, and I found it hard to drive, because you were sitting in the back seat, entertaining Waliya and myself with your jokes. Most of them were at your own expense, telling us how, there seems to be a gender problem in Lahore. All the guys at the tennis court just keep playing among themselves, and try to palm you off to play with those young boys who have just learnt how to hold the racquet. They don’t know yet, that you’ve been a Federal Board player in your college days and been used to playing with professional men all your life.
When we had to go to the courts, (no, not tennis courts, the real courts!) you would walk with me, being my strength for me. Once when we were going there, I told you to put the doputta on your head. When you put that shocking pink doputta on your head, you looked so stunning that I told you roughly “go, sit in the car, I’ll be back in a while.” It was actually because you looked too good. Anyhow, remember the day, when that lawyer suddenly started being rude to me? I was so shocked, and then you gave that man a piece of your mind. You told him flatly he better stop saying anything to your mother in your presence. That he better learn how to speak to a lady first, before getting into such a profession. I loved you so much, I felt like hugging you there and then. There you were my fragile little girl giving that lawyer hell.
Your Papa was specially missing you for so many years. He even offered to get you a ticket so you could be with us for a while at least. It ended up by you coming to meet him after five years, when he was on his death bed. You came with your smooth calmness, taking over everything, when Waliya and I were in pieces. In hospital your Papa would call out for you, even when you hadn’t yet reached. When there was any decision, he’d say “I’ll do what Nadia says.”
That is the kind of feeling you give to those around you. – A feeling that one is in capable hands. You do your research, and are so very organized, and competent. That moment when your Papa left this world, I had just stepped out, and you were with him. When we realized what had happened, I just lost my nerves completely. I tried to call my parents – I couldn’t remember their number! It was you who calmly phoned all our friends and relatives to inform them. You and your sisters were a pillar of strength for me. Every help that you could give us, you competently did. It was you who found out exactly what your father had. The doctors were so vague about it all.
We were all so shocked by the hardships that came our way. Somehow, Allah gave us the strength. Later, the same year, you had to face another major setback. We became each other’s strength. It is so true, that Allah prepares you for the hardships that He is going to test you with. I don’t know from where He provided. He promised in Surah An- Nashra, “with every hardship there is ease….” ‘Har mushkil kay saath asaani hai.” It was true. He helped even when helplessly, I watched you in pain of another kind.
I saw your faith, your dignity, and your grace through it all. While undergoing such a painful time in your life, you came and organized my whole home. You helped with files and papers, organizing my whole kitchen, and specially with parents’ move into our home. It was a massive project to help close down Mum and Dad’s home, decide what to give away, and what to keep. Pack up the stuff to be transported to our home. You made this whole process so much easier for your grandparents and myself. You would be staying in your grandparents’ place, and I’d be arranging things at our home’s end. Chacha Jafar brought his vehicle to transport the furniture items and other luggage that belonged to them. You were there to support your grandparents through this difficult process. Naturally, they too have done their best to support you in yours. Your grandfather financially supported my project of renovating our home, to include a room of your own. Later, he also got your own car, so you are not dependent on anyone.
Allah rewarded your patience, your resilience and your faith. Allah helped by blessing you and us in ways, we couldn’t imagine.
I suppose, that is why you managed to get such a good job. Today, in a country like Pakistan, you work from home, three weeks in the month and in office for one week. It came from the fact that you helped organize an international conference in Lahore, for cardiologists. You managed the whole thing. It is a recognition of your expertise and trust of the management in you. It also, shows what wonderful bosses you have.
Allah has tested you and tried you and blessed you. You have flown through all your hardships and tests. You have so many of your Papa’s traits; your total involvement in details of doing anything, keeping files, organizing, habit of going into the nitty-gritty details of things. You have many of my traits too, being artistic and a good writer/blogger. I’m so proud of you, because you have evolved into the lovely, intelligent and competent person that you are today. Your hobbies of scrapbooking, stamp collection, truck art, painting and family history are unique.
The best thing is that you are always there to help your family and friends also. You share your expertise to improve the lives of those around you. You are thinking with empathy from others’ point of view also, which is a rare quality. So, you are involved in whatever your loved ones are doing. Everyone can think for themselves, but very few can think with empathy for others. I’m so proud of you.
There is so much more to you, like your love for animals. I’ve had you bringing in stranded puppies and kittens. Your friends are another important part of your life. You are always there for them. Your love of travel, luckily you have literally travelled the world. Meanwhile, you love travelling in Pakistan and go on the adventure trips organized from Islamabad, often. All these are now matched by your love of reading which emerged just a few years ago.
Your relationship with your siblings and grandparents is an awesome one. The way you make sure to help them in ways, that only you could have thought of. Your way, is a very unique, caring and loving way.
Today, I just thank God, for the greatest blessing of all -Haaris – the ideal husband whom only Allah could have chosen for you. Complete with a package of a sweet, very understanding and dynamic mother, sister, brother-in-law and niece. They are an awesome package to be loved and cherished.
I love you so much, my Nadiya, I pray for your health, happiness and long life always. Happy birthday, my janu. Stay blessed.