This post does not have a pic. It cannot, for I prefer it to be so. If there was a pic suitable for this post, it would show a forty something man with grey hair; misty eyed. He would be smiling on instinct, but to suppress the gloominess in his heart. It would pretty much depict his feelings, the background would be grey, some clouds maybe. He would be looking decrepit in the literal sense. It would in fact depict my true feelings.
Oh Captain, my captain I have rarely felt like this before. What comes to mind often is a young Second Lieutenant in Gujranwala Cantt, sitting in his office with a four inch Black and White mini TV in front of him quite oblivious to the happenings around him, for that day Captain you were in the Arena with your squad. And when your team (our team) won the young Lieutenant leapt in air and with total disregard for military norms and customs (Discipline included) and hugged his Company Commander with tears in his eyes. The whole Battalion shouted, laughed, wept and celebrated. Captain, how can I forget that? For you have been my Hero ever since and even before that.
When you decided to build The Hospital, I followed the news. When it was inaugurated I felt happy beyond words. I remember, when you came to my daughter’s school asking for donations, you shook her hand making me the proudest Daddy that day. And how can I forget the day you visited CB Girls College, a girl in my neighborhood gave all her pocket money (she had been saving for years) in donation. I am sure there were many more who did likewise. I remember President Zia ul Haq, coaxing you not to retire. I remember, saving paltry sums out of my meager Captain’s pay and donating to The Hospital fund. I remember picking up a fight with the Bank Clerk on forgetting The Hospital’s designated account number. I remember, your foray in to politics, your marriage, your divorce, the false libel case by Ian Botham. Captain, I felt hurt when they slandered you for things too personal, but somewhere deep inside I knew you had it in you to deliver.
When we were kids, we ate, drank and slept Cricket. Captain, your pinups adorned my room. I recall distinctly, my brother memorized your scores be it test matches or one dayers, in a chronological order. There were others in the team but to me the only one who mattered was YOU. When you played, the whole nation played. And I guess its pretty much the same, now.
I am apolitical, by nature. I loath politics. But your words, your charisma and leadership turned this loner in to a politico. Just yesterday I cast my vote after a long time. The choice was obvious, I need not delve in to that. The last time I did was somewhere in the late nineties and even then it was you, I voted for. Winning or loosing wasn’t important, no never at all.
A word about your opponents, well, they are eons away from your vision. They just cannot fathom, the passion and Junoon.
When you fell off that fork lifter yesterday, I wasn’t worried at all. I saw it many times on TV, but I was never worried. I do not know why, but I knew you were safe. I was, only saddened. Sad for you, to have been hurt and sad that you could not complete your address, but hey is that important? I guess you have completed the mission. Then, when you spoke from the hospital, bedridden, it was the best speech you ever made. I think the message was clear, more clear than it could have been. Oh Captain, my Captain, we are with you; lock, stock and barrel.
Get well soon and God Speed.