Dear Nano, Happy Birthday


Today would have been your 60-something birthday and I say “something” because I know if I asked you “Nano, how old are you today?” you would have said “Haye, bachay!” and then, you would have told me that you were younger than you really were until I’d pry further and then, you’d say “Jabay!” to tell me I had a long tongue and needed to stop being so inquisitive.

I’ve never really done this for anyone- written about them or commemorated them by writing to or about them but somehow I feel the need to do so for you- not to impress you but because I know that writing was therapeutic for you and in doing so, I guess I’m trying to invoke you so I can see you again or connect to or with you.  You, yourself, loved writing. You’d write scripts for hours or you’d be talking about the kinds of scripts you’d like to write.

However, when we’d interrupt you, or walk in, you’d give your writing a break when you’d realize your family had come to spend time with you or to meet you and you’d set your pen down, forgetting all deadlines and demands of your director and you’d ask if we wanted tea and then, I’d lie down in your lap and talk to you for hours. I’d ask you all sorts of questions and somehow you’d have an answer for all of them (something that you passed on to all of us).

There were times when I’d be upset and somehow you just “knew” that something was wrong or up. You’d call me and say “Bachay, what happened?” and you’d listen to me rant about something or someone for hours- forgetting your own woes and worries. There were times when you’d be watching your favorite television show, a drama that you’d written a script for or when you’d be thinking about your own woes and worries but you’d just shut everything to listen to what I had to say. You never judged me or others.

I remember there were times when your friends, sisters, cousins, nephews, mama, Gupo Khala, Nima khala, Ahmed Mamoo or Abu or Baba would call you and you’d talk to them, even when you had errands to run or chores to do. When someone would interrupt your talk sessions you’d say “Haye, chup sha yao minute (please, stay quiet for a second)”, making the other person feel loved and cherished and like they had someone to talk to.

You’d crack all sorts of jokes- even when you were angry or shattered by some news. No matter what happened you’d laugh and smile. There was thing about your smile- it’d go all the way up to your eyes and we’d never know whether something was bothering you. Your smile was genuine, as were your words.

You’d have so much energy and would spoil your grandkids so much. Whenever we wanted something you’d ask Kaka to get us something to eat or you’d call a deliveryman and ask him to send us our favorite dish or food. When we wouldn’t eat enough you’d say “Bachay nor ookora (Child, eat more)”.

You were the one person who knew EVERYTHING about me. You knew me to the core- secrets, funny stories, sad ones, those moments that infuriated me and every time you’d see or feel that I was upset about something you’d say something outrageously hilarious and pat me on the head till I’d fall asleep.

I’ve always missed you, since you passed away and yet I feel like you’re going to come back and that you’ve just gone to run a few errands. As mama says “It doesn’t feel like she isn’t here. It feels like she’s travelling. She loved to travel. It feels like she’ll come back at any moment”.

I’ve always felt your presence. It’s as if though you’re right here, right next to me and at the same time you’re so far away. Even today I can feel you patting my face and confide in you. I know you’re partying things up in Heaven because you always knew how to get people together and how to arrange parties.

I love you. I miss you. I wish you were here, Nano.

Happy Birthday.
From Humzah


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