Khadija in her own words

I did everything in every field, I just didn’t like cleaning jobs like sweeping and dusting. My mind was always towards creating different things. If in a day I wasn’t able to make something, or complete something, I would feel my day is wasted.


I had so many questions about religion. I go for logic, you know, unless something convinces me with logical reasoning, I wouldn’t accept anything.


Being a mother… I don’t know… I passed the formative years of my children very busy in my work. I would stitch clothes for children and supply to shops. Most of my time was busy in stitching away…


…and I don’t remember how much attention I paid to them… though my children are always saying ‘Mummy you did so many things for us, you made such lovely clothes for us, you cooked such lovely meals, you did everything for us,’ so I don’t know.


In a way it’s a good thing to get yourself ready for your final exit from this world. I created so many things, so many things, I’m proud that I did so much work…I’m not materialistic, I like to collect art, that’s it, I like beauty…I made something, for everybody, I took interest in so many things and it was worthwhile living life like that.

Quotations are from an interview Khadija gave to Sakina Marvi (her cousin’s daughter) a few years ago.


Khadija Mamuwala
Mother-in-law, Creator of all things beautiful
January 23, 1940 – February 10, 2021

In my daughter’s name
I bless your child with the mother she has
with a future of warriors and growing fire.

Audre Lorde

Abbajee, reason & faith

Survivors have all the prerequisites to be rebels. Abbajee, my father in law, who passed away yesterday in Karachi – while I am in Accra for work – was testimony to this. His childhood (and here’s a story by Mun on her dad’s youthful grittiness) was as tough as his uncompromising yearning for reason in the face of a world as uncompromising on its insistence on unreason to get by.

His was a scientific, tinkering, inventive mind. Playfulness doesn’t sit well with conformity, so he had no choice but to question relentlessly. When we met, he sensed a kindred questioner, and he never stopped sounding me out (not everything that we exchanged concurred, but that is dialogue).

(I was a bit scared of lending books to him: nothing but the content mattered, so much so that by the time he got through some of them, they could no longer lay claim to their bookly sheen.)

Last year when my dad passed away, I quoted my dad’s favorite lines from Saadi, which speak of the humility of the raindrop upon meeting the expanse of the ocean. And it is relevant again now.

Faith and reason have had a contentious history, but there is a meeting point as elusive as it is beckoning which compels the questioning to seek, always. Abbajee sought, always.

I do not know its name, so I call it Tao

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

Abbajee with my mum-in-law, daughters and sons-in-law at his 50th wedding anniversary 3 some years ago.

Mohammedi Mamoowala
Seeker, Survivor
December 23, 1935 – June 26, 2017

Zoomkawala Sahab

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A couplet by Ahmad Faraz, one of the poets that occupied a prominent place on his bookshelf.
Translation:
A dream that took all of life’s dreams
A flood of sleep takes that dream away

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His most oft-cited Persian verse from Saadi. It speaks of the humility of the raindrop when it meets the expanse of the ocean.

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One of his poems from 2002. The only thing that could outweigh his wit was the exhortation to hear out his poetry. And everyone complied.

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I took this picture of him, from the mid-70’s, with my very first camera.

Mohammad Zoomkawala
Educator, Poet, Dad.
June 19, 1932 – March 24, 2016