December 13, 2015 will always remain a black letter day in my memory for on this day my beloved, sincere and trustworthy brother took leave of this world. His irreparable loss has created a deep void amongst his acquaintances, especially his many pupils and personally to me whom I depended on for help and guidance always. With his demise, I have suffered a personal loss and his memory keeps on haunting me day and night.

We have had that brotherly bond since childhood and kept growing strong in adulthood and when he went to Nigeria with his young family to be a lecturer in a Teachers’ College in the Sokoto State, he wrote regular letters to me informing me everything there. He dedicated his professional life with absolute honest and sincerity so much so he impressed the westerners manning these colleges.

My brother was a born artist and qualified himself as a professional portrait and landscape artist. He made use of his artistic talents to go with the many short stories he wrote to the Sunday Observer and the Daily News. But the amazing was his absolute command of English which overshadowed his inborn talent as an artist.

Therefore, he was more of a pedagogue, reveling in his teaching the language to students taking up Edexel, London and Cambridge examinations. And when they came off with flying colours, it was his finest hour. Even the adults want to improve their knowledge sought his expertise. The other aspect was his passion for writing short stories and crafting poems. In these genres, his grammatical skills and usage of lexical items stood him in good stead. Rules of grammar and parts of speech were at his finger tips. I sought him for any clarification when I had some doubts. He would explain over the phone without any hesitation

He used to pinpoint errors and flaws in grammar and loose constructions of sentences in reviews written by writers. His write-ups on these matters appeared in the papers including the Nation. He spent his spare time writing and since I too enjoyed it, we both were on the same wavelength. His name became synonymous with Sunday Observer short stories. Whenever it appeared, he used to phone me in the night whether I had read it and even my comments on which I’m no master.  I have enduring memories of his numerous calls and now greatly miss them. When one of his brothers-in-law died on November 1, 2015, he phoned me the next day to share this information little realizing he had his Day of Destiny on December 13, 2015. This is how our journey of life travels.
In July 2014, a book-collection of his short stories was launched and had plans to go in for another one, but subsequently had to be admitted to Ragama Hospital for a stomach operation. Much later on my last visit somewhere in October 2015 at the Kalubowila Hospital, he told me that the consultant had remarked that people like him should live long after having come to know his name. Alas! It was not to be and now, I carry a painful memory of my beloved brother He is very much a family man, who by his sheer effort and devotion executed his daily tasks, and educated his three children to do well in their respective professions and a person of ethics and integrity, a strict disciplinarian and an ardent advocate of plain living and high thinking. His many pupils lost a great mentor, media a fine writer, relations a sincere person and I a friendly brother. Almighty Allah grants him Jennathul Firdouse. Aameen.
Azhar Dawood