I used to feel protected while hanging around you. I used to enjoy those long drives with no destinations. Your talks of contributing and changing the world still live in my imagination. My writings and films do show a flavor of what we used to talk back then. I have not changed!
One day, when a bully made me realize that " America is not your country", I was feeling depressed and down when you showed up and took me to the library. Thrusting the constitution of the United States in my hands you said, " This is as much as your country as theirs, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, Shahid!".
You always pronounced my name right. I was surprised and wondered where and how you learned to pronounce my name properly. It’s been so many years now and yet my friends and colleagues don’t call me Shahid, I am Shaheeed to them. The other day Mullah Luis's FPN called my name properly. I missed you!
In spite of being such a gem of a person you had complexities too. You never allowed me to take your pictures. One evening, while we were driving under a moon lit night, I wanted to take your pictures. I had bought a camera for that purpose. You said no and that was it. I pleaded and cited the magic of moonlight dancing on your face, the poetry of the moment, the lovely environment. But you did not relent even at the cost of me remaining upset for a few days.
However, a week before my departure to India, you came to my apartment with a few pictures. This time I did not even ask for them. I don’t remember what happened other then that Shakir was not in, and I was watching Atlanta play Minnesota for the World Series. I was totally engrossed in the game when you showed up.... I took the pictures from you but did not open the envelope as I was waiting for a commercial break. In a few seconds you did a reversal, and announced you not only wanted to go but also would like to take the picture back as well.
I still have those pictures...
I always admired your ability to rise above the petty boundaries of religion, border and color. You wanted to " go work in a third world country and contribute". You were a global citizen even before it became a buzzword. Mullah Luis says “by working and living in Montana you are like living and contributing to a third world Country. You have kept your words!" :)))
Ps: I found you on classmate’s finder web site. It provided me all the information about you like where you are now, where have you been since leaving Tech and whom you are married to? What distance you have traveled!'
PPS: I am no going to call you ...am a man of my words!
I connect with her and get an immediate response. (Age mellows everyone and am no exception). After initial surprises, I share my blog post. She reads the blog and responds. Every response and the thought behind it makes me smile and is worth a poem, a painting, a film – or a Taj Mahal.
- " First of all the the color of my eyes is Hazel Green and not just Green!"
- “ You sleep at 3AM, I wake up at 4 AM looking at the maps of India!”
- " I want to know everything that happened after that night!"
- "That night cud have gone either way. I was getting pulled towards you and was even preparing to go with you to India. You were so upset that you cud not notice the turbulence inside me."
Let me take a time out here….