Nelofar Currimbhoy is the author of the bestseller Flame—the Story Of My Mother, Shahnaz Husain
My Dearest 9A9A,
I could never get that right, the Ps and 9s were always mixed up in my kindergarten notebooks. What was a funny childhood habit became our little, personal joke and you always signed 9A9A when you wrote to me. Whether the P turned east or west, it just meant one thing—that you were the most wonderful father any girl could have. Though you left us 10 years ago, you live on in my thoughts forever.
I have just finished my labour of love; a book on mum’s life which I have dedicated to you, because you were the wind beneath her wings. The chapters of my book move like a journey through our lives and I can see you now walk through the pages, elegant, soft-spoken and charming. “Nelofar, remember always that it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” you had said. Yesterday when I was interviewed on the radio, they said I had a perfect voice, and I thought of you. “My father’s influence,” I smiled.
As a young girl, my horse riding worried you. I remember galloping past and noticing that you had driven down just to watch me get safely off. The feeling of protection and warmth that a father brings is priceless; the faith that while you sleep at night you are secure because your father is there. I always remember the extreme protection you brought to your family. It was like living in the shade of a banyan tree.
I remember most when mummy’s career graph was moving up and our home was showing the early signs of prosperity, you pointed to the third refrigerator that had been added. “Nelofar”, you had said, “there is never enough if you are restless for more. Wealth and happiness is really a feeling of contentment.” You were concerned that abundance may affect my values. Today, I know that nothing that can be bought is worth any real value in the larger perspective of life or relationships.
The night before you left us, there was a big party at the house; we didn’t know it will be your last one. I remember it so clearly, the lively music, strobe lights and how you were dancing more than usual, smiling and laughing as if it was for a lifetime. All I can say is, ‘This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you’. Big hug wherever you are...
Love you always,