The Garden of Shining Roses

Remembering my father, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

31 January 2021
Father and me, when I was young. Last November, after I fed him his morning tea, Father would pick up a little strength to recite verses—from Mir, Bedil, Ghalib. For a precious hour or so the poetry would flow; sometimes we listened to music.
courtesy mehr afshan farooqi
Father and me, when I was young. Last November, after I fed him his morning tea, Father would pick up a little strength to recite verses—from Mir, Bedil, Ghalib. For a precious hour or so the poetry would flow; sometimes we listened to music.
courtesy mehr afshan farooqi

ON 14 NOVEMBER, my sister Baran messaged me from Delhi. “Bhai not well. Panicky situation here. Fever not subsiding though it is below 100F and oxygen level slightly reduced.” My heart sank. My father was scheduled to leave for Allahabad the next day. It took a lot of persuasion from Baran to make him change his plans. Ultimately, he agreed to stay.

The doctor who saw his X-ray pronounced that Father’s lungs were hazy. We reassured ourselves that this was because he had been a heavy smoker. We communicated on WhatsApp through voice notes as our hands shook and we couldn’t type. We tried to convince ourselves that it could not be COVID-19, although ugly doubts were beginning to surface.

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    Mehr Afshan Farooqi lives in Charlottesville and teaches at the University of Viginia. Her research publications address complex issues of Urdu literary culture particularly in the context of modernity.  She is interested in bilingualism and how it impacts creativity. Her book Ghalib, A Wilderness at my Doorstep has just been released.

    Keywords: Urdu poetry Urdu poetry Urdu literature translation
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