Wednesday, February 4, 2015

5th Death anniversary of Gul Hameed Bhatti - The Cricket's Encyclopedia

4th of February each year reminds us, the remaining four brothers after Gul Hameed Bhatti who was the eldest of us five, the tragic day when Gul Hameed Bhatti left for his heavenly abode. And today, the day marks the fifth year of his departure from us, his many fans, colleagues and those aspiring to become a world class cricket and sports analyst.

Our family photos - the photo on right was the last time we five brothers were together

I remember that fateful day, 4th February 2010, when I had gone to Lahore for a day or two. It was late at night, around this time when I am writing this post, that I received a call from one my friend Colonel Mujeeb who had listened to the news of Gul Bhai's death, followed by Gul's daughter-in-law telling me the bird has flown. Although he was suffering for quite sometime, no one of us wanted him to part and we always expected a miraculous recovery for him. But that was not to be so and he was gone forever.

I hurried back to Islamabad the same night and was just in time to catch the morning flight to Karachi. When I reached Gul's place and saw him lying motionless, I just could not control my emotions and cried, something I had not done for years. I cried because from that day onward, we would never be five again.

On his funeral, I met a number of his friends who condoled me. There was Javed Jabbar who came and condoled me Gul's death. Then came Riaz Ahmed Mansuri, to who I used to post the posts written by Gul Bhai for The Cricketer when he was in Lahore. And so many other came and condoled for a person who was nothing but a gentleman, friend and a great sports analyst. For his grasp on cricket and his incisive and crisp analyses, he was also known as Cricket's Encyclopedia.

When I broke the news of Gul's demise to a few of his overseas friends and class feloos, their e-mails came rushing by remembering Gul Bhai in their very own words and sentiments.

Gul's college days friend Munir Alvi wrote to me: "Dear Jalal Bhai,  We were classmates and friends at Government College Lahore. I along with other friends used to visit your home at Iqbal Street off Mcleod Road. During those visits I had met you and your other brothers. I know that was a long time ago, but my memories of Gul are as fresh as yesterday. He was hell of a guy and I am sad that he is no longer with us. We remained in touch during seventies and eighties and then we both got busy in the drudgeries of our respective lives. Please accept my condolences of his premature departure.. May God bless his soul. Ameen. I have few pictures of Gul from our student days. I will be happy to share them with you. Gul will be with us as long we live.  With regards. Pervaiz." (photos shared by Pervaiz are as under).

Ms Asma Barlas (presently Professor of Politics and Director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity Ithaca College and Gul Bhai's colleague at PU Department of Journalism) in her e-mail to me, writes, "Dear Mr. Bhatti, I am terribly saddened to hear of Gul Hameed's death and pray that God will grant him paradise.  Thank you so much for letting me know and also for sending me the link to your blog.  I was glad to see the pictures of his children and hope that they will help to keep his memory alive.  He was such a warm and caring person with a terrific sense of humor and I'm sure all of you will miss him sorely." 
Screen shot from one of Gul's last appearances on TV

One tends to forget the sad moments of life and gets along with the tides of the fast moving life. But the nostalgia of those who had been very near and dear never leaves you. While Gul Bhai is no more today, his memories would never fade from our memory lane forever. Stay blessed, big brother. We shall always miss you.

Read more about Gul Hameed Bhatti at Pakistanpaedia
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