Your Thoughts

Please feel free to add your thoughts here. Any random thoughts involving Omar: memories, trivia, stories, dreams — happy, funny, sad — it’s all about sharing…

Azra Raza (on 3 Quarks Daily site)

Tanweena Chowdhury (article in The Daily Star)

Ardeshir Marker

Huma Islam

Sheji Kazmi

Lasting Tribute site for Omar.

From Memorial Service

Steven Leslie

Jeremy Burchardt

Meherwan Polad

Azfar Najmi

Joan Hoffman

Mary-Anne Weaver

Shujat Islam (for Rizwanul Islam)

Farrukh Azfar (for Ayesha Azfar)

Farid Azfar

Shaheryar Azhar (“Shahzi Khaloo”)


3 responses to “Your Thoughts

  1. Naz Ikramullah

    So many images come crowding in when I think of Omar. I remember his bright inquisitive eyes as a very little boy, taking in everything- the smile that never changed and then later in New York his radiant personality, his warmth, his extraordinary bravery , grace under pressure were words written for him.

    In London over 20 years ago was when Naheed and I were together for the first time in London, Omar was in Oxford and he and Sara and Aamna went off together, while Naheed and I went looking at Art. It was when I realised that he’d become a very charming young man, and I took more than a second look at him, thinking ‘if only’…. as it happened Aamna and Imran later became the best of friends at a family wedding in Amman and later they had lots of evenings together on his visit to Karachi in 2005.

    I only saw him on that visit when he’d be stretched out on his Nani’s bed teasing her about something or other and chatting about the many offers he’d had for pursuing his career. I’d said ‘go to Turkey’ (one of the options) because it seemed more attractive-the others being Manchester and New York. He chose New York, met Mursi , and got married and had a very dynamic life in that city with her and all the friends who came to see him throughout his illness.

    On one of my visits to see him he suggested we all visit the Bronx Botanical gardens. My most vivid memory of that trip is Omar’s decision to take the words “dont’ walk on the grass” literally- he lay on the grass saying “I’m not walking on the grass” and stayed for a while while the rest of us laughed nervously..

    Everytime I visited NewYork to see him. he welcomed me, ‘let’s have a hug Naz Khala’ he’d say . He’d have selected exhibitions he thought Naheed and I would enjoy and then would ask about them ‘were they worth seeing ? Should he go ?’ It was this incredible joie de vivre that Omar radiated that spilt over all of us, we laughed at his quips, he teased Naheed all the time- it was fun being around him, tubes, chemo notwithstanding..We had great meals at restaurants that we went to celebrate , small successes in his treatment. I loved being with him and got a whole new perspective on what love meant. The love all of us felt for Omar, the love he and Mursi shared , it was an enriching time and I will always be glad I had it. Omar taught us all how to live and for this I am very grateful. Naz Khala

  2. Sara Suleri

    Goodnight sweet Prince

    Sara Suleri Goodyear

    August 1, 2009

    I first knew Omar as a young boy, dancing around with his siblings, Farid and Sara, in Kamal and Naheed’s beautiful garden in Karachi. That idyllic scene haunted me when, decades later, I watched Omar exhibit the most extraordinary fortitude in confronting his lethal illness. The suffering of course was palpable, and spread to the family and its incessant care which now included his remarkable wife Mursi. Equally striking, however, was Omar’s effort to comprehend his disease on an intellectual level. Rather than seeking solace in the mysteries of spirituality alone, his energy was engaged in a rational attempt to grasp the intricacies of what it means to inhabit the universe of cancer. I would enter Sloan Kettering as a novice, which contrasted sharply with the approach of my dear friend and Omar’s oncologist, Dr. Azra Raza: she brought the compassion of a world of science behind her; I brought the compassion of the ignorant. With his alert mind, we watched Omar trying to build a bridge between the two.

    Whether he was in the hospital, or came as an outpatient to get chemotherapy, which of course dictated every minute of the day, Omar’s irrepressibility always drew him to the business of daily living. He would be in constant touch with his friends and whenever possible, would host dinner parties for eclectic groups of friends and acquaintances, some of whom had no idea of the dire straits that he was negotiating. Instead, he would talk philosophy, or about the joys of the latest novel he had read, always reluctant to withdraw from that which he knew was being taken away from him.

    Amidst the varying levels of love and concern that surrounded Omar, one that was most poignant was the postures of his parents. They complemented each other in bringing to him their unique manifestations of love and fidelity: Kamal was more involved in dealing with the pragmatics of maintaining the family, both in New York and in Karachi as well as taking elaborate pilgrimages on behalf of Omar. Naheed, on the other hand, was the day’s constant and in fact it was her physical presence that Omar demanded the most. Individual desires for therapy can take remarkable forms: while Kamal’s love made him travel for Ziarat after Ziarat, Naheed’s would send her to deplete the fine shoe stores along Park and Madison Avenues.

    On one of the last occasions we met, Omar had come over to Azra’s home, an infusion pump in one hand and his personal list titled, “100 Books You Must Read to Live” in the other. We had a mushaira of an evening, with us laughing at some of Omar’s selections and his idiosyncratic comments on them, for Omar was always quick to laughter and joy. On leaving, I told him banteringly that he had made a grave error in omitting Meatless Days from his list. He looked up with his inimitably bright smile and said, “I was hoping that you would say that.”

    Now each in our own ways must deal with that other business of loss and of grief. Knowing that he would not want a preponderance of sorrow, I could not help but say to his open casket, “Goodnight sweet Prince, flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” As Azra and I contemplate the complexities of Omar’s life, we are often moved to remember the great reproach that Mirza Ghalib offered to his lost nephew:

    جاتے ہوئے کہتے ہو قیامت کو ملینگے
    کیا خوب قیامت کا ہے گویا کوئی دن اور

  3. Omer Dossani

    I called up Omar in inquire about his illness .
    What I expected to be a hard call for me to make turned out to be a great conversation with an old friend. Omar was more concrned about my health spending time to advise me on a recent illness i was going through and the challanges of dealing with doctors etc. .

    Omar made us laugh a lot in school. Some of his best lines still make me laugh decades later.

    will miss him and pray that he is in better place.

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