I remember when we were small, living abroad, Dada was a larger-than-life figure for us. We always heard of talks and speeches and the various literrary milestones he achieved in correlation with Pakistan. So much so that my younger sister used to tell people that “Dada was the king Pakistan.” We drew him to be an important, busy man, someone who would always be too busy doing important busy things. We loved him, as we knew we must, and we looked forward to visits, but they were always tinged with a sense of awe which made him someone who was to be looked at and admired but not touched.
Funny thing about life is, that by the time you really get around to appreciating it in the fullest sense of the word, it’s usually too late, which is why the time you can capture becomes all the more precious, all the more important.
Hearing Dada address the IVS graduating batch 2005 today was something I will never forget. I think of him not as the “great literary giant” as thariani sahab put it, or the daunting figure of my childhood years, but simply as my grandfather, Dada, who I have gotten to know as a real person in the last 15 years. I will remember him as someone with whom I have a very strange, gruff bond, of intelligent arguments and major differences and great great respect. I will remember him as someone who beleived in my ability to make decisions, who encouraged my verbal wars with him with much glee.
Today, as we heard him sing “jeevay jeevay” at the IVS, our second home in so many ways, I was again reminded sharply of the fact that life is so short and the people to love so many.