Fazlin Ghaffoor: Three Days in March

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light – Dylan Thomas

My earliest and most fond memory of my father was his command for me to “wave the flag!” whenever our Boys in Blue and Gold scored a boundary or clinched a wicket during those warm and sunny three days in March at the SSC. Attendance at the game would be a time-honoured tradition for the two of us from even before I was old enough for admission to the School. I wished for it to never end.

Perched on the vantage point that is the SSC Upper, we would munch on the tuna, egg and seeni sambol sandwiches and lemonade my mother would dutifully prepare for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday we would spend there, morning to dusk. This delicious food would be shared with any of Dad’s classmates lucky enough to pass by our seats. The souvenir would be purchased and read from cover to cover. More often than not, Dad would have helped a classmate draft an article.

The lunch and tea breaks and the close of play were spent in meeting this friend from Royal, that friend from S. Thomas’ and even the friends from Trinity (I never asked what they were doing at a Royal-Thomian). Friends from the Airline were a staple too and so very jovial. Catching up with beloved family members from his side and Mom’s was mandatory.

These three days were a microcosm of his life – always connecting with people and enjoying even the slightest opportunity to build relationships and be of value, expecting only inner happiness in return. Only now do I see the true meaning of his practice after so many have confided in me of his meaning and importance to their lives. The cherished personal anecdotes are too numerous to count.

I am especially indebted to Dad for the immense collection of multi-generational and decades-long, deep, meaningful relationships spanning the full spectrum of society that he so meticulously cultivated and nurtured with purposeful intent for as long as it was willed for him to live. My mother and I continue to be overwhelmed by the response of our family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances. Our hearts are softened in experiencing such intense care and love flooding in from all corners of the globe.

We remain forever thankful to every single one of you – from near and afar, from every community, class and creed – for your kindness in thought, word and deed during our time of loss and grief.

I am grateful for the opportunity to actualize the wise advice that, “the son’s best deed is to treat with kindness, those who knew his father”.

Dad strove hard his entire life. And staying true to form; he did not go gently, he raged against the dying of the light until the very blessed end, and for that, our hearts have much contentment and closure. His last lesson to me was his exemplification of the verse he oft-repeated: “Indeed we belong to Him and, indeed to Him do we return.”

Perhaps it was a twist of fate that this year, for the first time in living history, the boundaries were not scored, the wickets were not clinched and the flag was not waved on those warm and sunny three days in March.

-Sajad Ghaffoor





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