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Hassan My Younger Sibling- An Obituary On My Childhood —



 Hassan My Younger Sibling An Obituary on My Childhood 



He is gone. My other half of me, my younger sibling Hassan, like white and puffy dandelion disappeared in the thin of air without a whispering breeze blowing across. He left so fast and forgot even to jot down a parting note- some reminiscences of the whole childhood and boyhood we had lived together- if he had forgiven me for breaking his terracotta toys, ripping his kites, drowning his paper boat in the rainwater and snatching candyfloss from his hand. At the age of four when he swallowed a coin, copper paisa with a hole in its middle and crown of George IV embossed on it with tears trickling down my eyes like monsoon showers with my grandmother; I had gone to the Astana of Naqshband Sahib. I had raised my tender hands in supplication for his safe return home from the hospital. His safe return from the hospital had doubled my faith in the Astana, and after that hardly there might have been an occasion; examinations and results, I might not have visited the Astana with him. If I now bow and prostate in obeisance at the Astana for days and nights, weeks and months he is not going to rise again till the day of resurrection.
It may take me quite a while to accept that he was no more around to share thrilling memories of the childhood when we had asked our grandmother’s brother to touch a live wire of broken bell push and burst into laughter, to the displeasure of our grandmother. Nonetheless, as some anonymous poet has said, ‘but brothers can never be parted, precious memories never die’, – in a treasure trove of my childhood and boyhood memories, days at the campus and my bird lover brother will always be there to fill the void caused in me after his departure. Feeding birds were his best pastime; birds would feel as familiar and relaxed with him as chicks feel with their mothers inside the nests. On his death, a small video in which Hassan is seen with a big smile on his face feeding a mynah as one would feed one’s child had gone viral on the social media. In the throes of grief, the video took me down the memory lane. It reminded me when as small kids my brother and I had developed a great passion for pigeon keeping, and prominent pigeon fanciers of our locality Abdullah Saka, Muhammad Waza and Mama Darazi of our locality were our role models. And like these pigeon fanciers, we dreamt of making a   pigeon loft on the rooftop of our house- that dream never came true. To find out prices of different varieties of pigeons, more than once in a day during winter vacations we walked up to bird shop in our Mohalla and decided to pool our pocket money for buying a pair of white pigeons. On the bird shop, we loved watching singing birds’ thrush and cuckoos in small cages but never considered buying them perhaps deep down we understood ‘the caged bird sings for freedom’ – what made Dervishes keep caged birds in their abodes always puzzled us. On an Eid, we pooled our Eidi for buying a pair or two of pigeons from the bird shop or the pigeon fanciers in the locality. Those days, when two annas used to be good pocket money for the day a pigeon of ordinary breed cost from twelve Annas to two rupees, and fantail pigeons cost about five rupees. Neither my younger sibling nor I ever thought of buying fantail and crowned pigeons but loved them watching dancing in the bird shop. For entire Edie, we could buy two pairs of white pigeons, and now it was a question of making a coop for them, the instantaneous idea was emptying our Kitab-e-sandooks, but then we thought of making one on our own. For one rupee, we bought a wooden boot packing box from Habba Kadal, and by turns, Hassan and I carried it on our head, walked to our home. It took us, one full day to make a coop for our two pairs of pigeons and over the years the number multiplied to a dozen. My hobby of pigeon keeping died after ninth class, but Hassan’s love for birds never died, till last day of his life, he fed birds every day- the birds had become so acquainted with him they would sit on his head and shoulders. May his soul rest in eternal peace.  

(My younger sibling Hassan passed on 4 February 2019, at 11.15, PM on that fateful day we were together up to 6.15, participated in funeral prayers and burial of a relation Mohammad Azam John of A. John and sons, the Bund, Srinagar. At 11.15, I got phone call from youngest sibling Yasir Zahid that he had left us.

Ghulam Hassan

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