For my Baba, with Love


When I was a little girl, I used to write on my Dad’s birthday cards which I probably copied from somewhere, ‘A father is someone we can look up to, no matter how tall we get’.  Today, as I write a post dedicated to my dad on his 60th birthday, I realize what it really meant….

All of us owe our existence to our parents, and it is the way they bring us up that defines not only our personalities but also a reflection of their own. A father is someone we always look up to, yes, no matter how tall we get and how old we feel, and how many children we have of our own.  Our parents are there to remind us that we are taken care of and that we will always be loved, unconditionally.  As my father turns 60 today (MashAllah, may he lives a long, happy and healthy life), I am thinking of all the truly wonder years spent with him, and all that I have learnt from him, and most importantly, how much I have always loved him. 

Actually, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it were not for my father, because he was the one who encouraged me to write my first article for a newspaper and posted it himself.  He used to make me read editorials of newspapers and rewrite them during my summer holidays! He would even cross question me to know if I am keeping up with my newspaper reading! I now realize how that grilling actually helped me improve my writing and my interest in catching up with what’s happening around me. He used to take us to the library, every Sunday, unfailingly, and soon we were all able to graduate to the ‘grown-ups’ section because we had read all the books in the children’s section! He would guide us and taught us how to look for books, going through catalogues and looking for the information we needed.  It is always a very proud moment for me when I interact with professionals and they hold Baba in such high esteem for his knowledge and technical know-how. Baba, I owe my love for reading, writing and the quest for knowledge…all to you!

Baba always taught us to think, debate and reflect on issues and while it helped us immensely to interact with any group of people, we were almost always in ‘compliance’ with instructions passed by our dad.  The way we upheld our parents’ wishes and advice upon our own choices stands in strong contrast to when I see kids of today as I cannot relate to them and perhaps this is what is referred to widely as the ‘generation gap’.  But I can happily and very proudly declare to my dad that I have always remained in close compliance to everything he ever asked me to do.  I may not always have liked it, but I appreciate his wisdom and his unconditional love for me.  Specially now that I am a mother myself.

My father was the one who took me to the swimming pool when I was four and I have never been afraid of water since then. Now I show my son all the tricks Baba taught me, how to ‘stand upside down’ in water, how to ‘float’ on water, my son giggles and looks at me in awe.  I remember I used to be very scared of jumping in water. I would almost always use the steps.  One day, my dad called me at the deep end and before I knew it, I was ‘thrown in’ at the deep end of the pool! And that was my last day of being afraid of jumping in water.  I remember he had given me a task of doing 50 laps in a stretch and the incentive was ice-cream of my choice in the same hotel where we used to go for a swim.  Through our years of swimming in the same pool, I was learning the important lesson of fighting my fears, never giving up, and most importantly learning to ‘celebrate’ the achievements, even if it is only meeting the 50-lap milestone.

Baba is a people’s person, and loves his family and friends and is always there for them.  I can never emulate him enough and his dedication for reaching out to such a vast group of people with unmatched generosity at the same time is remarkable.  It is when you give of yourself that you truly give, as Khalil Gibran reminds us. I have learnt the importance of keeping strong bonds with extended family and friends and of helping out people in their hour of need.  He is perhaps the reason we are a very strong-knit family.  And lets not forget that behind every great father is an equally great mother and together they complete my world. 

So Baba, today on your 60th birthday, I really wanted to tell you how much I admire your resilience, your sense of values for your family, friends and your country. I wish you many more years of health, happiness and may you continue to help others and bring smiles in their lives! Knowing you, I am sure you have more milestones to meet until the golden jubilee and here’s wishing more excitement and success, InshAllah!

Thank you Baba for everything and for just being you!

24 responses »

  1. Hey Shez,

    This is a beautifully written blog. And I am sure uncle is proud of you and your siblings. He is one of the nicest people I have met and may Allah bless him with great health and happiness. Ameen

  2. What a beautiful piece of writing to celebrate the wonderful person our father is!

    Baba we love you! I secretly and silently thank you every day for so many things that you taught us along the way and that keep helping us in life. We dont thank you enough verbally, i dont think we ever can for all that you have done for us. But really no day passes, that I do not thank you for all the important lessons of life you taught us.

    Lessons of bravery, courage, propriety, generosity, wisdom, and of kindness.

    Growing up i used to get irritated at a lot of things you pushed us into doing, like meeting so many people, or taking so many people on our family vacations, celebrating even the tiniest of occasions, reading out our publications to visiting people, those endless kareoke music sessions in which you tried to involve everyone, relentless support for Pakistan, discouraging making fun of people even though it meant taking the spice out of the punchlines, and being against segregations based on class/sect or language. Its only now i realize the wisdom of all those actions, the importance of spreading a general good for the happiness of not just those around you but urself also.

    You always encouraged and enabled us to do anything that we wanted to do or to be. And our best example and role model was You!

    I still remember all those lessons on pakistan history that you gave all of us cousins in the house virandas in the summer holidays and the computer lessons in our room (in which ammie was the most mischievous student). The swimming lessons, in which we were the only children learning without floats, because you wanted to teach us the importance of believing in ourselves and the amazing friday old books hunting after the weeekly library trips. and ofcourse the secret intelligence training of writing secret letters, disguises and how to merge in a crowd! I used to love being the daughter of 007!

    The best lessons were ofcourse learnt by living with you.

    I am very lucky that you are my Baba,

    Happy Birthday to my favorite Boy!

    love you mostest!

    Yours Mana.

  3. Shaista,

    Beautiful beautiful article to express your love to your baba and celebrate the big occasion. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article. May Allah bless him a long, healthy and prosperous life ahead. I am sure he’ll be equally proud of his gals.


    loved your comments on the article too. Quite moving!



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  5. Dear Tatoo!
    After reading the blog,I can’t express my feelings.Its full of emotions,reallity and I hv no words….God Bless you your family and we love you a lot and lot…..

  6. Dear Tato,Mana,Boo Boo and Neno,

    Today, on my 60th birth day when I got up and as a routine logged in I found the most loving writing of my life, this is from my dear Tato to her Baba. She and Tamania reminded me the past beautiful days when life was not so stressful. I enjoyed every bit of her blog and response of Tamania. In routine office matters we tend to develop a habit of reading quickly by picking up the essentials and bypassing most of the content due to shortage, but I could not miss not a single word of these valuable writings dedicated to me from my dear ones

    I know Boo Boo always remain on back bench when situation of expressing such emotional feelings happen but knowing him very well I know how sensitive and deep he is while comprehending and feeling such moments in family, with all my confidence in him to look after the family ( although he is the youngest ) I am very satisfied when I look in the future, and with wisdom of Shaista around him I am pretty sure you all would enjoy the maximum as a family in future. Prayers of Neno and my self would always be around you. Like any father I have nothing in my life except three loving Choo Choos. Yes I remained very busy in my last 40 Years of professional and social persuits, I do not Know exactly what I actually wanted but in the entire process “Family First” always remained my highest priority and would remain the same in days to come.

    Having countless friends in different walks of life I have no doubt that your family is and should be your best friend. Tato I always had a special value for you, the way you think and react is something very special for our family, only “spirt of Giving” gives true hapiness. I AM VERY HAPPY TODAY. Alhomdulillah I am satisfied in my Job today, I got the position which I wanted and truely enjoyed my professional work. What ever respect I have earned as a true professional, all three of you would get it back in many coins in days to come. Apart from my professional life I have endeavoured to do some social work, you all would be surprized to know one day that how much efforts I have put in in this important area of my life.

    My special message to my kids on this important day is that please do not forget the importance of “Bawaqar Pakistan”, always come forward and play on front foot when ever Pakistan come under discussion,never adopt compromising attitude. What ever Pakistan is today, WE have made it and what ever it would be tomorrow WE would make it today. Do not blame others for the pitfalls and take credit of it only, What ever it is today it is “OUR” and we with collective efforts “Inshallaha” we would improve its deficiencies, this must be your mission in your individual and collective lives.
    I would also like to put on record that NINO has a special value in all what has happened uptill now, without her “PHADDA” this was Impossible.

    I love you all and my new Laptop now.


    PS:- Birth day dinner by Hussain and Shaista was as loving as they are themselves, loving Salar and intelligent Jaree also joined their parents to add value to the event. Thankful to Baqir bhie and Bhabi for their presence and all love.

  7. Shaista behan,

    This is an excellent piece of writing … full of passion, yet you managed to articulate the sensitivities of this relationship (which happens to be one of the most beautiful relationships) without flowing into emotions too deep. Really well expressed and objective. Congratulations to you and Uncle on his birthday.

    Allah Hafiz,

  8. Hey dearest,
    I loved your post so much today. It was my Dad’s first barsi too, same day and I write him emails occassionally even though I know he won’t be reading them, but I used to write to him every week and couldn’t stop even after he passed away. I wrote to him on friday night thanking him for all he did for me as I want to remember the good days of his life and I still find it hard to talk or write (even to him) as if he’s not with me. You won’t believe it but besides other things I thanked him for dragging me to Pindi Club swimming pool since I was 5 and “throwing” me in the deep water, I learnt to swim that very day. I also thanked him for taking us to GHQ library every friday without fail even though my brother would be complaining all through the 20 mins drive to and from the library. For making me his “secretary” and proof reading his articles which he wrote for various publications. Also for playing pacman with us till wee hrs of morning.
    So when I read your post the next day I couldn’t believe your father had done quite a few of the same things. Anyways the reason for this message is I just wanted to say to you the only difference is your father was able to read whatever you wrote, and I mean this in a good way, you don’t need me to tell you this but cherish every moment with your parents.

    May Allah bless Uncle a long, happy and healthy life and a very Happy Birthday to him.
    You are mashallah an amazing beti (besides being an amazing whatnot) 🙂

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  10. I read this post when you first wrote it, but i was so emotional i thought it would be prudent to wait a bit before i blurted out something insane here. The reason for being so emotional is how you feel about your baba because that is what my daughter calls me, and really if i ever see her writing something like this i would start crying wherever i am at that point.

    Your baba is blessed to have kids like you guys, and I think by now he knows you feel the same way. Keep writing Sj, you make us all proud.

  11. SJ

    Wow! This is a powerful read so early in the morning!! I wish 30years (and three days) down the line IB writes something that is so full of love and respect for me too! And I pray to Allah (SWT) that I get to give him all the love and great education that you got from uncle.

    I pray that Allah (SWT) grants uncle and long life filled with happiness, joy, laughter and all that is good for him in this life and the hereafter. May He keep this spirit of closeness alive always for your family. Aameen.


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  13. Really a touchy post for those who really love their parents I always read post about mother but this time I found post about father we all should realise that our father’s role in or life is so important they are always behind the scene but keeping an eye on us carefully. My Abbo is my role model and everything for me whatever I am is just because of him. Thanks again for this post really appreciate your effort….

  14. The very word ‘Baba’ in itself express all the love one can sum up in a personality. It is great blessing to have someone whom we call baba. Just reading this post brought to life all the love, affection, and support I received from my late baba. For all my life it was source of strength and a reason of pride. Such a wonderful relationship constitute this word baba. Thanks for writing such a nice piece and enlightening my memories. All the best for your baba!

  15. Wondefully poignant. I think all of us who have been luck to have amazing fathers can associate with so many of the things Shaista says here. Also reminds me of Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gum 😉

  16. Dear Shaista Bhabi

    Excellent piece on Baba! Truly deserves tremendous applause

    May he witness so long all the happiness of life

    God bless all of you

    My regards
    Naveed Abbas

  17. How lucky to have such a Baba! All praise to ALLAH and special thanks for such a blessing. Fathers like Ammar Jaffri Sahib are now a rarity and very few children out there to enjoy the luxury of such mentorship. May ALLAH keeps the whole family in peace and happiness> Amen!

  18. Today after two years I have again gone through the entire blog and enjoyed the same happiness and with tears in my eyes thanked God Almighty for having such a talanted and loving daughter. I pray for my all three kids and their families. Today on my 62nd birthday in Seattle with Taqi and Tamania with me I have missed my sweet Tato and Neno a lot.

    With all my love for all of you.


  19. I read this article of yours today! really Shaista! it is amazing and im not only liking it because of its content but it has given me a fresh startup to do things with my kids that they would remember & cherish when they grow up. Thanks 🙂

  20. Assalam-o-alaikum, Shaista, Hope you doing well. I read your article today. I am so so happy to read you after such a long time and its reminded me of the past and those beautiful days when life was not stressful at all. I enjoyed every bit of your blog the response of Tamania and auntie uncle. No doubt they are so wonderful, so loving and caring as I had the honour to spend some time with you all. I always missed you and those days, especially auntie, I remember each and everything she taught me, she is my inspiration. what ever I am today, after my parents, the credits goes to her. I always pray for her. Hope she is doing well and still remember me too. take care and keep writing. My kind regards to all especially to auntie.
    farzana shamsi

    • Farzana!!! What a lovely surprise to hear from you! Blast from the past indeed. I have conveyed your lovely message to Ammie and Baba. Thank you for thinking of them and for your prayers! Wishing you the very best! Pls do stay in touch.

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