Monday, June 18, 2012

Remembering a great man and father on Father's Day

It was Father's Day yesterday and all over the world the special species of mankind 'the fathers' were honoured, loved and complimented with flowers, good wishes, parties and hugs. Due to Almighty's countless blessings, I too am part of this special species and was wished well by my two equally special sons in their own very way.

 Both my sons keep quiet about any special day throughout the day and I know it what they have on their minds. So it was late night at about 11:00 PM that I was asked to change to go to Islamabad - yes Islamabad though we already live in Islamabad. But there is a big distance between the Islamabad where we live, that is DHA, and Islamabad the lush and green, the capital city. So I was 'taken' to Hardees, a thriving eatery in the F-6 sector - a place not from from a house that we lived when my father was serving in Islamabad decades ago as head of the Interpol. There amid locals and foreigners, a hefty dinner was ordered comprising various types of burgers, Lave Chips (a specialty of Hardees - one should not miss when at Hardees), with free drinks. But the surprise dessert - the ice cream shake was superb with its so thick creamy and ice-creamy top that it took me centuries to finish. I thanked my sons for the wonderful evening and the Almighty for blessing me to be a father and also blessing me with two exceptionally loving sons.

A great man - a great father: My Father [Photographed 1935]
But while I enjoyed being a father, I remembered one other father - my father. A great man who ever lived whose whole live was centered on grooming his five sons as good human beings - nothing else. Although it is generally said that a cop is always a cop - he can never be a pop, which to an extent is true too. Our father too was a tough father, who all along his life lived by his principles and never diverged form these no matter what. But I knew that inside him was the heart of a great father. He cared and loved us all, without any distinction and prejudice. He moved and talked with dignity - carried himself upright all along his life. Impressed by the Gone with the Wind famous Clarke Gable, he was always dressed immaculately (as can be seen in his photograph taken in 1935), spoke precisely and to the point only - and making his point heard - heard well.

As a great man, he was a thorough professional. Son of a police officer, who was awarded with the coveted King's Police Medal in 1919, he himself was an exceptional police officer. Studied at the prestigious Government College Lahore in early 30s, he joined police more of a compulsion and less of a choice when my grandfather died at an early age and he had to take care of his brothers and sisters. He was instrumental in laying down foundations of Intelligence Bureau and the Interpol in Pakistan. He headed Interpol for more than a decade and brought it with all other Interpol offices around the world. Staffed by a clerk and a peon, my father worked day and night to make the organization as one of the world best. When he went to attend a conference of ICPO (International Criminal Police Organization) in Paris in 1964, the mention of services of Pakistan's Interpol was specially made and it was suggested by the head of the organization to draw inferences from Pakistan's Interpol.

As a father, he was equally sincere to raise us five children to the zenith of our lives.  While his office shifted to Islamabad in 1966, he kept us all at Lahore so that we could continue our studies un-interrupted. We only joined him in summer and winter vacations. He retired as superintendent of Police and was awarded the President's Police Medal for his meritorious services. He then 'came home' to us in Lahore and saw us moving out one by one for finding our lives. Our eldest brother Gul Hameed Bhatti was first to move out to Karachi, where he took his permanent abode till he departed for his Heavenly abode in 2010. I moved out to join the Armed Forces, while the second from top too left for POF Wah - while the twin siblings stayed on in Lahore.

Though we all stayed apart, he was the central pillar and figurehead we always turned back to. And like someone said, 'Parents are like road maps - without them we feel lost and bewildered.' Whatever I learnt actually oozed out from the practical training he gave us all along his life. He was full of history and I would sit for countless hours listening to him and trying to draw inferences.

Fathers: Myself [R] - My Father [second from Right] - His Father [Third from Right] - and His father [ Fourth from Right]
Now that I am a father too, I realize with great pain that I have not been able to be as good a father as my father was to me. He was a special man - born in centuries and only to be remembered always and every moment of my life - not just the day that it was yesterday.