He was a lover of mountains and lakes, trees and flowers. He thought of nature next to God. Maybe, sometimes, he thought it was the other way. Because of this Kashmir Valley was to him a supreme experience. Moving out of Kashmir was for him a banishment from the heavens, a fall from the God’s grace. One of his famous statements, treasured in our family folklore, ridiculed as well as admired, was that he would rather have been a boatman in the Valley than an official in an organization. I was one of the few who knew he meant it.
He was a strikingly handsome, soft spoken, and friendly person. (In his younger days we would call him Duke Of Edinburgh because of his sharp looks) He possessed a fine smile. He loved the company of people and maintained long lasting relationships with them. He admired women for the special attributes nature had given them. He was an unrepentant romantic but who walked on hard ground. A simple minded but an intelligent person, a realistic but a compassionate person. He was in this world but yet seemed to be many times away from it.
Bhaisahib was born in Rainawari, Srinagar, Kashmir, and after graduation he joined Govt. Of India’s Residency office in Srinagar. He moved out of Kashmir sometime in 1948-49, after Residency office was closed, and started working in Delhi with Government Of India’s Revenue Intelligence Department. This was the time when I also emigrated to Delhi and therefore had the opportunity to meet him often. Despite the big gap in our ages we hit it well. I saw him raise his family assiduously while going through the demanding life in Delhi of those days. He did not take his responsibilities lightly. Later on as he rose to a good position in his job and for other reasons his life become more comfortable and enjoyable. He was a regular fixture at our Delhi home. My parents adored him.
He achieved many things in his life: a good position in his profession, a fine family, a circle of friends who loved and admired him, and a record of a principled life. He would have liked to spend the last phase of his life in his beloved Kashmir, but it was not to be. He wanted to be a writer but throughout his younger life he had no time to develop himself into one. Every time I landed in Delhi, almost the next day he would come to see me. I will miss his styled smile, his elegant looks, his debonair manners, his inherent decency, his love for nature, and his romantic outlook.
Many people will think that the disease of diabetes in its long drawn out lethal and debilitating war on Bhaisahib was victorious, but I think it was the other way. Bhaisahib fought the war with tenacious patience, quiet vigor, and honorable fortitude, becoming the ultimate victor.
“Some people see things as they are and wonder why, others dream of things that are not and say why not.”
Today a good and a simple man passes away from our family, tomorrow his absence will press us to ask us why.