“Kher Ho Apki”

I rang the bell and the voice that came from the inside of the house was, “Kher ho apki.” That was what my taya used to say all the time. His grandson, a three year old opened the door and I went in. He was crossing the Veranda to meet us. He came forward and I all smiles greeted him with Salam. I moved inside the house while he went towards the door to invite my hubby in. The next thing I heard was a shot fired and a scream. I still don’t know which came first. The first thing that came to my mind was someone had thrown a firecracker inside the house and my taya must have been scolding him. Next thing I remember my cousin running upto me and saying that my husband has been shot. I ran out and saw him bleeding and sitting holding his hand insturcting me to call 119. I came in and me and my cousin ran back as her son was still at the door. I then saw that my taya was in the taxi and seemed unconscious and my hubby instructed me to call 119 again and left. I closed the door and came in. There were only ladies in the house now, my tayi, my cousin and me. I called home… disconnected the line on the second ring as I knew my mum, then called my brother on his cell phone. He said ask him to go to Abbasi where my mamoon is a doctor. I yelled at him because I still didn’t know what to do.  Then I thought of calling susral. But knowing my father-in-law is a heart patient I called my brother-in-law on his cell phone.

During this time the neighbours came, family of the eldest son of taya came and my cousin ran to the hospital. The police came, the neghbours stopped them from coming inside the house. Everyone tried to calm me down not to worry, nobody knew that taya abba might have also been hit except me for I saw him sitting in the taxi.

I called my brother again.

“Taya abbu ka inteqal ho gaya.”

“Aur hubby?”

“He’s fine.”

The worst part was to dessiminate that news to people inside the house, specially my tayi. It was painfully shocking for all of us. People started coming in, neighbours came and the relatives. Stopping them from crying out loud and wailing. I actually had to be rude to some of the older relatives for making noises. I didn’t want my taya abbu to suffer. Taya’s kids living abroad were called. My father and brothers were informed. After the death of my dadi, taya abba was the only family my father had. His only brother. The brother, who was also like a father to him, as my grandfather died right after the birth of my father. The void that has been created can never be filled.  Everyone tried to reach back for the burial. My father, one of my brothers and my taya’s other son were able to catch the next flight home. Alhamdolillah.

My taya abba’s death was not purposeless. My husband says, “unhon ne apnay ghar walon k liye bohot bari qurbani di hai.”

What happened after I went inside the house: After I went inside, my taya abba recieved my husband, they hugged, and took my hubby inside the house and stepped and turned back to close the gate when one of the two guys aimed at my hubby asked for money. My Taya didn’t even gave my hubby time to turn to look who’s there, he held the hand in which he was holding the weapon and he fired which hit my taya and my husband and even when he was hit he dragged him onto the street and stopped them from entering the house.  My taya bled immensely as he was hit in the chest and was holding the dacoit back even after being hit. He saved us all with his life. He would never have allowed any unknown person come in his house and do whatever they liked. He gave his life to save ours.

It is still so hard to believe that he’s gone. That he is no more with us. He was 68 and yet more brave than the boys and men of our times. It’s so hard to believe that he is no more.  One of the duas he asked his kids to do was, “Allah kisi ka muhtaj na banaye.” and SubhanALlah he was never had to go through the phase of dependency that people in the old age sometimes have to go through. And while he was in KSA during the month of Ramadan, he gained a few kilos, and then was sad that he shouldn’t have gained weight. His son said that it’s okay, you’re totally healthy. He replied that the I don’t what to be a burden on people while they’d lower me into my grave. I don’t want to make things hard for them. He never slept on a bed. He used to sleep on a charpoey. He never used the sofa’s in his house even. He used to sit on the bamboo chairs. He led a simple life always and never in his life wanted luxuries to corrupt his soul.

“Unki ghairat ko kabhi ye baat gawara na kerti k koi ghair mard unke ghar mein dandanata phire.”

I miss my Taya but I’m happy that his death was soo meaningfull and purposeful. But sometimes I just can’t believe that he is no more.

ALlah Ta’ala unki maghfirat kare aur unke darajat buland kare. Ameen.

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