Merry Christmas… my dear

There have been over 300,000 Covid-related deaths this year in the USA alone, and the numbers are still rising as many deniers refuse to take basic precautions like wearing masks. Asymptomatic carriers — no signs of illness — can be infected and infect others. The second wave is well under way. So many losses.

Here’s a recent oped by pediatricians in the Boston area, pleading for the public to stay home: We’re Pediatricians In A Pandemic. We Shouldn’t Be Taking Care Of Your Grandparents. A new confusing disease they’re seeing is multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, MIS-C. In Karachi, Dr Darayus Gazder at Ziauddin Hospital describes the same thing, seeing children “who post-COVID develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which is worse than adult onset COVID” (emphasis mine).

Tweet after hearing of another tragedy in the family: Sajid Rizwan Ansari, 36, died in his sleep of a heart attack

So many personal losses this year. Grateful to have spent time with friends and loved ones in Pakistan last winter. Several have since departed this world. There’s sadness also about the departure of some whom I hadn’t seen in years, like my second cousin Khalid Afzal in London, an early victim of Covid-19. In Allahabad, family friend and mentor Comrade Ziaul Haq (Munnan Chacha) passed on in November, joining his wife Dr Rehana who departed a week after his 100th birthday barely a month earlier. My mother’s college friend Inkesar Nawaz died suddenly in Lahore of a heart attack.

When I dropped in at Era Hasan’s annual Christmas party in Lahore last December, it had been five years since Masood Hasan left this world. It was lovely to see all the old friends gathered there, including artist Shahid Jalal and his wife Nuchi. In August, Shahid — so full of life and laughter — died suddenly, at 72. A double tragedy for the family, as his son-in-law Asim Khwaja’s father had passed away barely a month earlier, despite having apparently recovered from Covid.

I am also grateful to have been able to spend some time with Dr Mubashir Hasan at his home just a month or so before he passed away. It was also during that visit to Lahore that I last met Irfan Husain, at the late Asma Jahangir’s place over breakfast. He looked fine, and it was hard to believe how ill he was — he shared the information matter-of-factly, with his characteristic stoicism and and courage. He too has departed. And shortly before his passing, my father Dr Sarwar’s old friend and comrade Saleem Asmi in Karachi.

Here’s to all of them. They loved and enjoyed Christmas so.

Sorry if you don’t understand Punjabi – you’ll recognise the tune anyway, and guess that it’s a funny song. p.s. Update: Found the source: A Jolly Bolly Christmas by U.K. based musician/composer Kuljit Bhamra
<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Some months ago, I came across <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://drcraigconsidine.com/about.html&quot; target="_blank">Dr. Craig Considine’s</a> work through his article in Newsweek: <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://bit.ly/cvdcslm&quot; target="_blank">Can the Power of Prayer Alone Stop a Pandemic like the Coronavirus? Even the Prophet Muhammad Thought Otherwise</a>. A scholar at the Department of Sociology at Rice University, he has authored several books and articles on Christian-Muslim relations. Here’s a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://twitter.com/beenasarwar/status/1342192492226236417?s=20&quot; target="_blank">recent tweet from him</a>, which got a great response from many Muslim-sounding names.Some months ago, I came across Dr. Craig Considine’s work through his article in Newsweek: Can the Power of Prayer Alone Stop a Pandemic like the Coronavirus? Even the Prophet Muhammad Thought Otherwise. A scholar at the Department of Sociology at Rice University, he has authored several books and articles on Christian-Muslim relations. Here’s a recent tweet from him, which got a great response from many Muslim-sounding names.

I couldn’t let this pass without another tweet clarifying that in South Asia, we say “Ramzan”. The Arabic Ramadan was foisted on us by dictator Gen Ziaul Haq in the 1980s, later further popularised through ads by multinational corporations esp. food companies

On a related note, I love the Christmas greeting cards by John Ezzo in New Jersey. I’m lucky to be on his recipient list since re-connecting with my old friend, his wife Aliya Rab, a few years ago. I first got to know Aliya through the the Asma Jahangir-led Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, when we were both on its Council. John does these simple, creative line drawings on a single sheet of paper, then folds it up into four. He always includes a crescent moon and star – a subtle nod to his Pakistan/ Muslim connection. Aliya, an architect who is also healer and tai chi master, does the calligraphy. Here’s this year’s offering – note the mask on the snowman. That’s going to be a reality for some time. Hope 2021 is somewhat better.

Greeting card by John Ezzo and and Aliya Rab, 2020 cover and back
Greeting card by John Ezzo and Aliya Rab, 2020 – Inside pages

(ends)

One Response

  1. Very well written Beena. Thanks. John really liked your blog. I’m so glad we re-connected. All the BEST!!!

    Like

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