Plus - Appreciation

Sweet memories of growing up together

Hajiani Jezima Usman Nee Khan

“Thank you for coming, I am being discharged today, please come home tomorrow to see me.” These were the last words spoken to me, by my kid sister and they remain etched in my memory. She was the youngest among the sisters and the first to be called by the will of Allah.

Jezima, fondly called “Jezi” or “Jezima aunty” by everyone who knew her, had a re-lapse early the following morning at her daughter’s home in the presence of her children, who had come from abroad. Her youngest son, probably her favourite, had arrived in time to greet her with the traditional Islamic salutation before she passed away to the consternation and utmost sorrow of her siblings.
Death is inevitable. So let me dwell on the happy memories she left behind, rather than the sorrows that invariably follow when a death occurs.

Jezi was born a few years after me. The closeness of years also brought a closer bond of understanding and love for each other. Being the only older brother, she would seek my help and advice whenever the need arose.

She was unfortunate to lose her husband over a decade ago. They were a loving couple and would often travel abroad to spend time with their children. Even after her husband’s death, her children, who adored their widowed mother, would request her to join them abroad, to forget the loneliness and sorrow following her husband’s death. As time was the healer, Jezi became her usual self again.

To reminisce about our younger days, there is Athiba, who was born two years before me. The “Trio” -- Athi, Jezi and myself -- were the pranksters. Athi reminds me of days when our mother prepared sweetmeats. We would raid the pantry and Jezi the youngest one, was the “look-out” for the arrival of either mummy or Zarina my eldest sister, who was a second mother to us, whom we loved, respected and were scared of. After the “look-out” gave the “all-clear”, we shared the spoils and would often try to cheat Jezi of her fair share. She would threaten to “sneak” so we pleased her too and “all’s well” that “ends well”.

My elder brother Haroun two years younger to my sister Zarina, was a handsome, soft-spoken person. A government official who was not at home to witness his siblings’ doings, he was lost to us over two score years ago, also due to a heart ailment. My younger brothers Dilwar and Iswar were too young to join the gang.

Later in life Jezi became a bubbly personality with lots of humour. Her interesting and funny anecdotes radiated happiness all around and evoked infectious laughter. She was a kind and loving lady, always stretching out her hand to anyone in need.

She was very generous to people who helped her in various ways and would not forget to pay them handsomely and they would always thank her profusely for her generosity.I write this with profound sorrow –“Goodbye” darling Jezi. Your siblings will always feel the void left by you. May Allah grant you the bliss of “Jennathul Firdouse”


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