Remembering Shakeela

November 3, 2013

As I write this I’m sitting in my lawn in clothes that are covered in mud, its 12:51 am and I have just returned from Shakeela’s funeral in Sukhwaal near Fateh jang, the date has now changed to 3rd november 2013.
When someone close to me dies, I have a standard response that kicks in every single time. I shut my self off completely and start going through the motions of what is expected of me, untill the time it is safe for me to break down and be sad in solitude.  
After the funeral, as I walked the labyrinth of streets leading from her ancestral home to where I parked my car outside the village, I still couldnt really believe she had passed. I said goodbye to her father in a dream like state, not really hearing the words of condolence coming out of my own mouth. I was moved to tears when her mom hugged me though and told me to keep visiting her as she sees Shakeela’s face in all her friends, I controlled my self, its not cute watching a huge man like me cry. And at that time it finally hit me, Shakeela really is no more among us.  
Shakeela’s fight against cancer is now well documented through the facebook page “Remembring Shakeela” which was used to raise funds and support for shakeela. Ultimately though it turned out to accomplish so much more than that. The overwhelming support from the FASTian community and complete strangers from around the world was a source of great joy and hope for Shakeela, that is something I know for a fact. She told me once that in the darkest moments of her fight, she visits the page and seeing all the beautifull comments and wall posts make her want to carry on.  
But before cancer, before all the pain and suffering that came with the disease she did have a normal life and right now it seems fitting that I talk about that.  
The first time I ever saw Shakeela was in the ITC class during our first semester at FAST, she was this happy, bubbly little thing dressed in her trademark abaya eager to learn and impress the prof. She had this aura of earnest energy about her, the ability to energise any place she walked into. We immediately became part of a circle of friends which included Ali wiqar, myself, Babur Nawaz, Arsalan Malik and Shehzad Saifullah.During our BS we did a lot of the usual crazy things uni kids do as a group, bunking classes, having impromptu biryani and ice cream parties, fooling the juniors, arranging various events. And believe me some of the most whackiest and mischevious ideas used to come from Shakeela, the thought of which brings a smile to my face to this day :).  
Like the time we bought a stall in the campus funfair and as all the guys in our group happened to be extremly lazy, myself included, we had nothing planned and nothing to sell on the stall. Shakeela came in the morning and saw the empty stall, ordered me to go and buy some charts and markers and came up with same games that people had to pay to play. As a result our stall was one of the highest earners and we blew all the profits on a group dinner.  
She had this way about her that made people come and confide in her. She was the perfect listener, friend and therapist. Whenever we had fights among the group, she was usually the one who made us apologise to each other and made things right again.I can write a million more words recounting all our crazy, happy and sad moments togather but I wont because this is no eulogy, I would leave that to a better writer than me. This is just my way of letting my friend know that I will always miss and remember her. And with the following verses by Kim Thompson I shall conclude My thoughts.

Although unheard I thank you
For always being there
Even when you were bedridden
you always seemed to care  
You meant so much to all of us
you were special and that’s no lie
you brightened up the darkest day
and even the greyest sky  
Many tears I have seen and cried
they have all poured out like rain
I know that you are happy now
Cause you are no longer in pain.    

Goodbye my friend.