It was during March of 2012 I came across a post regarding the “One Rupee Project” on Dr. Awab Alvi’s Facebook profile. Who would have thought that post will turn into a priceless relationship with a man who I came to know as only @smkhan on Twitter and later on as Sarfaraz Bhai.
Our very first interaction away from cyberspace, that very first handshake, the embrace, the warmth and the feeling of belonging was palpable. What attracted me to this man? Perhaps it was my own life’s shortcoming, missing that firm, warm embrace, handshake, sense of belonging, as a child with my father? I can’t really explain. And then started a journey, not one of many interactions, meetings, outings, but one of confidence, trust, ability to reach out and discuss the wildest notions.
From March 2012, to January 2015, Sarfaraz Bhai impressed me more with almost every passing day. I found him to be exactly how I pictured a perfect father to be and not only that but a man of substance. He spoke fondly of his family. I am no one to comment on his personal relationships but from what I observed in public sphere, it was almost one of the most impeccable composition of respect, love and friendship. I often wondered how one could find the perfect distance to place oneself to be far enough to give space to the children, yet close enough to be the best of friends. A dilemma faced by many parents.
At his age, he put me to shame many times. Sarfaraz Bhai almost never missed any event or a get-together. Not only that, he was actually at the forefront and planning for such meet-ups quite often. The beauty of his being was, old and young, not a single person found the self out of place in his company for he was just that sort of a man.
Very seldom did he miss a chance to give back to the society and serve humanity. “God-fearing” is a term which may have become clichéd over time. Sarfaraz Bhai, however, was a walking definition of the term itself. Reading the Quran was probably his favorite activity and I felt him taking
the essence of it to his heart and trying to implement it with every breath he took. I, being a rebel in my thoughts, had long discussions over anything and everything and he, almost always reasoned and discussed much with me endlessly. There were many instances where he would quote something in a tweet which would send me into a rage. I would take it up with him off-line and he would just smile and his comment would be, “I was waiting to hear from you on that…” and our discussion would start.
Assalamoalaikum Sarfaraz Bhai, there is too much you said you will get back to me on, specially our discussion on “mother” and “motherhood” in light of religion. Perhaps I shall have to seek certain answers on my own.
(Readers are requested to please offer Fateha/prayers for the departed soul and family/near ones)