Monday, March 28, 2011


Could one feel dearly for someone one hardly knows? Asha found the answer in the small hours of one morning when she received news of his death. A strange and tender sadness blanketed her and she prayed that he may rest in peace. "To Allah we belong and to Allah we shall return. May God bless your soul.....dear brother", she whispered, in the dimness of her room.

Asha remembered his arrival for the first time at her father's house. He smiled broadly as he emerged from the car with his wife and their three little daughters. He acknowledged her with a warmth and a questioning nod of his head as he mentioned her name. Asha returned it with a friendly smile while baby Min sucked his thumb in her arms.

Ken was cheerful, comfortable in his own skin, totally without traces of resentment, assumption or expectancy when he joined Asha, her husband, children and her father in her father's home that evening. Asha was pleased her father had agreed willingly, at her prodding, to invite Ken and his family for dinner. She had made the suggestion because she knew her father had needed to settle this emotional gap, this unfinished business of his life. He was getting old and needed some closure. And a little guiltily she did it out of her own curiosity. 

She knew though that he had wanted this for a long time but could never find the courage or the confidence to do it alone. At least, she thought, on this evening she could be there to ease the anticipated awkwardness in this most delicate of situations. But she realised that she needn't have concerned herself because Ken turned out utterly pleasant and agreeable in an almost innocent, naive and delightful way. In a way that Asha thought only children could be.

She watched and listened to him talk and politely enquire and was especially blown away by his tenderness when he turned to his step daughter, the oldest girl, and spoke to her like she was the most delicate of beings. Like a fragile butterfly he had rescued and treasured. At that point Asha wondered what in life could have caressed his heart so. She wondered what could have made him utterly gentle in this way. She wondered what he thought of life and what he made of destiny or whether he even believed in it. Could he be this gentle a soul in spite of a fatherless childhood? No bitterness and no hurt? At the least he should have had some questions...... for heaven's sake?

But she supposed he knew, was told and understood. She supposed he had accepted the past, his destiny and the circumstances of his birth and had no more questions to ask that could be answered. Perhaps he was grateful even; for all those years of acknowledgment in name and for the financial support, at the the spite of all the questions and doubts her father had harboured in his mind. For decades.

He was a musician and Asha could sense that her father was silently pleased. For he was so inclined as well. Having heard word that Ken would be performing at the Hilton her father had dressed smartly one evening and headed out to watch Ken perform with his guitar. 

"A natural ", her father had commented smiling and swaying his head in satisfaction when he returned home. If only he had said that to Ken himself it would have meant more. But Asha knew it would have been too awkward a thing for her father to do.

Asha couldn't help but think that they looked quite similar. Her father and Ken. So perhaps her father's fears were unfounded after all. Perhaps he finally believed without a doubt. Was convinced. She hoped. For Ken's sake. For her father's sake. For closure. In both their lives.

Ken had this childish and amusing belief in ghosts which he expressed openly and without fear of judgment. In an uncomplicated way with a candour and a lightness and a frankness that made them smile rather than frown with skepticism. And he clearly believed death was the end. So when Asha's father had died several years later Ken assured her that all was well. 

"Be happy." he had said. "Don't be sad."

For father's problems were over and he is now in peace Ken had told her. 

"He is sleeping like a baby." 

How charming. How quaint. How stark, clean and uncluttered he was, Asha marveled.

Asha did not know her half brother well enough to know his weaknesses. But whatever imperfections he may have had she knew that they could not be greed, presumptuousness, spitefulness, bitterness or envy. Guileless, honest, sincere with not a smidgen of righteousness in sight...he seemed not much different from her father really Asha thought. 

Asha looked down and all she saw and smelt was a moist, sweet, glistening mound of red earth. Freshly dug and piled. Over Ken. She wondered if he had been happy and content with his destiny. She hoped he had been. Just as she hoped her father had been when he died. Two men. One heart. Surely they must belong each to the other. Then she knew they did. She felt the same quiver of grief and tenderness for both.


  1. Almost got teary-eyed whilst drinking my morning coffee. :)


  2. Hi Mary-Anne,

    good to hear from you :) Hope you're doing well. Thanks for dropping by and reading my silly writings. It kills time for me. and I enjoy it of course. :)