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Today as I tread these roads alone, I think of you in this bewilderness. I remember your tender touch, your watery eyes, and your sparkling smile. I think of you calling me ''Doaslaala''. I remember how even in my forties you would offer me morsels from your plate. I wonder why we grow and get old and leave our loved ones alone. My dad ''Kaaklala'' left us all alone on 18th of Feb., 2013 at the age of 91 and its been 4 years without him now. I cant believe. There are times when I badly want to see him, talk to him and give a vent to my stockpiled feelings. I feel like a baby longing to cry in my dad's lap, longing to tell him all good and bad that happened over these years but at the end of the day its all just a wish and every wish doesnt come true.
My Kaaklaala ------ Late Shah Peerzada Ahmadullah popular by the name 'Affandi Sahab' --- A legendary Scout Master, born on 22-02-1922, got his Government job as a teacher when he was just a student of class 10th, in the year 1937 due to his sports skills that came into the eyes of an English lady at an event at M.P. School, Amira kadal who thought Affandi was a physical instructor but after knowing that he was a student with such skills that the best teachers had, wished him to be a teacher. Her words, ''I have seen such a great function in Gilwell park London (a camp site and activity centre for scouting and guiding groups)" and thus due to her directions was appointed as a teacher and posted at Iskardu Gilgit (Now in Pakistan). He played for the Kashmir hockey team as a goal keeper against Lahore in 1930s.He emerged as a first class scout from Kashmir and attended many camps and jamborees in the United Hindustan. It was during these camps his skills came into limelight. He was honoured by the then President of independent India, Late Mr. Zakir Hussain who was so impressed by his character that he eagerly wanted to make him a cup of tea with his own august hands as a token of love. His words for him being, '' Iss Mehmaan-e-Rasool (SAW) ko main apne haathoon se bani chaai pilaaoonga'' and so he did.
He was selected as the leader of the Indian Contingent of Hajj Delegates and during this journey by ship his philanthropic nature worked wonders for the Haajis. There was this elderly lady who had severe diarrhoea that she almost collapsed due to dehydration. Her son got sick too and Mr. Affandi took care of her. He even washed her soiled clothes and nursed her. Once she recovered she wished to see this gentleman, called him and gave him so many blessings and Mr. Affandi witnessed those blessings getting true at every step of his life. In Saudi Arabia, he was honoured by the then King of Saudi Arabia Late Mr. Shah Faisal in 1967-68. King Faisal presented him with so many gifts --- A Sony transistor, scouting badges and scarves, a Parker pen with a diamond stud on its cap. There are so many stories related to that pen that if i go on writing, my own pen may dry up.
He was honoured by state awards so many times and even got an extension in his service twice after retirement. Even Ladakh region had demanded him to serve there as a scout master permanently but due to familial reasons he had to stay back and couldnt accept the offer. But he continued to train teachers (male and female), students and everyone around in all the three regions of the state. He was given the name "Baba-e-Scouting". After retirement he served at Eaglets Public a private school at Bandipora and taught the tiny tots even upto the age of 80's.I remember when I would go to meet him in the class (class roll being almost 100 as all wished their wards to be taught by Affandi Sir) I would find him sitting with the tots teaching all of them independently. He used to go to the school on his own bicycle even in his old age. He was a great swimmer too and had crossed The Dal and Mansbal Lakes in his green days. He would do his chores on his own and would fetch feed for the cow himself which he had reared at home.
In the year 1999 Mr. Affandi was further honoured by the then President of India Mr. K.R. Narayannan with the Silver Elephant award. I remember the day when at Kashmir University's Convocation Hall, Late Mr. S.K. Sinha, the then Governer of J&K during a scouts/guides award ceremony was stunned on seeing the support of the audience who cheered for Mr. Affandi for almost 10 minutes continuously. Mr Sinha appreciated him for his lifetime achievement and presented him a memento. This event was being telecast live on a private local TV channel. There is so much that still remains unvoiced. He was a man of qualities and talents.
Tell me Kaaklaala where do I stop? I can keep on writing and writing so much about you. You were the definition of Love and you'll always be. I miss you Papa...