From my earliest childhood memories, I remember our Daddyjan had been extremely loving and soft towards our mother. Not only he loved her passionately, he openly expressed it too. He used to keep the atmosphere of our home very happy and very cheerful. Our mother also reciprocated it in the best way that could ever be possible. I still remember our Daddyjan’s words. He used to say to our mother in Urdu ‘Meri jaan, hamare piyar ne aapko bigar diya hai’ English translation, ‘My dear, my love has spoiled you’ and this flame still shined till our Daddyjan’s death in the Oct 2007. When we grew up we realized we were so blessed to have been born in our parent’s home. Our Daddyjans way of doing things in life was such that he not just shouldered his responsibilities, he used to do them exceptionally wonderfully, the best way that could ever be possible, which made him a (mohsin) the best-doer. Daddyjan always gave more, than what he was responsible to give. He was a (mohsin) the best-doer, in the every, real sense. He never kept any body’s money to himself. Even his own brothers are not like him. No one from the people I know is like him. Allah allows very less people to be born with such qualities, like our Daddyjan’s. Our Daddyjan was a man of strong resolve. He was a very brave person who lived his entire life as he thought was the best and it really was the best. Our Daddyjan was the type of person who would always see the brighter side of the picture and would always enjoy life and cherish the simple moments in life. Our parents were just ‘made for each other’ by Allah Sub Han Wa Ta’ala. I remember when we were very young, and we were living in the PAF Base Korangi Creek Karachi, our parents used to play cards with their friends. Many times these gatherings took place in the lawns of our residence too. In those card games husbands and their wives used to be each others partners. These used to be extremely lively games and all the participants used to enjoy a lot. We, being young kids, used to play, around the players. Many times our parents and their friends had to hide their cards from us, because we used to identify the cards loudly. Our Daddyjan used to play squash, hockey and foot ball during that tenure in the PAF Base Korangi Creek. Although our Daddyjan was working as a professor but he was actively and regularly playing in the afternoons. He had a mark on the front of his leg a little above the ankle. He used to tell he got it while playing hockey.
While working in the CAE, our Daddyjan was sent for MS to AFIT, Air Force Institute of Technology, at Wright Patterson Air Force Base Ohio, by Pakistan Air Force, as Major Mohammad Latif Tambra, in 1964, at the age of 36 years. There also he maintained the same routine of rising up early in the morning and offering prayers. Our Daddyjan was such an exceptionally and uniquely wonderful person that not only he was extremely admired by his own parents he was admired by our mother’s parents too. Before our Daddyjan left for America I remember our maternal grand mother, many times used to tell our Daddyjan “I pray, Latif you should be so successful in life that if you pick up dirt from the ground, May Allah turn it into gold”. Off course this supplication was in the Punjabi language. Our grand mother’s wish was granted by Allah All-Mighty and she saw in her life time the fruits of this supplication. When our Daddyjan was in America we, four daughters and our mother, lived most of that time, in Sialkot, with our mother’s parents, may their souls rest in peace, ameen, thume ameen.
During those days of 1964’s there were no mobile phones or direct phone lines from America to Pakistan. I remember our mother used to receive Daddyjan’s letters on weekly basis. Our mother also used to reciprocate them the same way on the weekly basis. Our both parents had marked the days of the week that by this day our Daddyjan will post his letter and by this day our mother will post her letter. So every week our Daddyjan was receiving a letter from our mother and the same way every week our mother was receiving a reply from our Daddyjan. Every one who has ever studied in the prestigious AFIT knows well, like the brightness of the day light, that the studies at the AFIT are extremely demanding and extremely taxing. Even then, our Daddyjan maintained that routine of writing weekly letters through out his stay in the AFIT. We all know that only our Daddyjan could do it because our Daddyjan was extremely intelligent, exceptionally gifted, and unique in every respect. Before our Daddyjan could finish his Masters, India Pakistan war of 1965 broke out. Pakistan Air Force called our Daddyjan back home. Then our Daddyjan had to go again to finish his Masters. Allah was very kind to our Daddyjan at that time too, so by the blessings of Allah All-Mighty, our Daddyjan topped in the whole of the University of AFIT. At that time when American’s did not know where Pakistan existed in this world. With the help of Allah All-Mighty, our Daddyjan made Pakistan’s name shine brightly in the land of Americas.
In America there is a beautiful tradition that the person who tops he/she is given pens by all the rest. Every one comes and just places his/ her pen on the table in front of the topper. This symbolic gesture adds beauty to the whole situation. Our Daddyjan was also offered pens by all. He still had all the pens in his possession when he died. Our mother has kept them safe. They are ordinary pens to look at, but they carry a whole tradition in them. An extremely beautiful tradition, worth remembering and worth cherishing…. Our Daddyjan’s photograph was in all the newspapers of America at that time. Cuttings of some newspapers are still with our mother which our Daddyjan brought with him from America. There is another very beautiful American tradition which is, that every topper’s photograph is put on the main university clip board. Our Daddyjan’s photograph still adorns the clip board there. Another wonderful tradition of America is that people who receive good marks are offered jobs instantly in America. Our Daddyjan was also offered a job at the prestigious NASA. They waited for our Daddyjan to come back to America, but our Daddyjan chose to stay in Pakistan. It was only a matter of choice that our beloved Daddyjan chose to live in Pakistan. Otherwise Daddyjan told us many beautiful and nice stories about America and Americans. Our Daddyjan made many nice friends too, there. He showed us their photos which are still safe with our mother. These were mostly family photos.
As our Daddyjan had a beautiful soul, he absorbed only the wonderful and beautiful things from this world. Through out his stay in America, he led a good Muslims life and absorbed from the Americans only good and beautiful etiquettes of American culture, only those things which are strictly permitted by Islam, and according to our Daddyjan they were many. Our Daddyjan became highly Americanized forever i.e. till he died. Our Daddyjan brought all those beautiful customs and cultures inside his own home, our home. This in turn made our lives beautiful. Especially our mother’s life was made wonderfully beautiful and enviable forever. From now on wards who ever will meet our parents, when both are present in each others company, he/ she will have a beautiful, long lasting and permanent impression of our Daddyjan’s good manners and good customs. Our Daddyjan really enjoyed the company of our mother. Our parents stayed together with each other for fifty two years. They entered their middle age together and entered old age together, taking walks together and caring for each other. Together, theirs was a time well spent. May Allah be kind to both our parents. Ameen, thume ameen.
Along with many other good and beautiful things which our Daddyjan brought from America, were many good books and good music records. That was the time we were first ever exposed to Andy Williams, Vicky Carr and Diana Ross. We came to enjoy many sweet American melodies like ‘Are you going to Scarborough fair’ and ‘que sera, sera’ These were in ‘The Best of ’69’ records. When our Daddyjan came back, ours was the house, full of many electronic goods which were new for the people, living at the base. These things were unknown at that time in Pakistan, and Allah gave us which made all of us, all the more, thankful to Him The All-Giver. I remember people used to come to our home to see our electronic possessions.
At this time precisely, in our lives, Daddyjan wanted us, his daughters, to change from traditional way of calling him ‘Abbooji’ to Daddy. When our mother’s aunt, may her soul rest in peace, ameen, heard us call our father Daddy, she immediately corrected us. She was a teacher at that time, teaching in the Lady’s Anderson High School. According to her geriatric thinking, it was very disrespectful to call one’s father just ‘Daddy’, with out any post script of ji or jan. She told us to call our Daddy, Daddyji or Daddyjan. According to her Daddyjan or Daddyji carried more respect for our father. Our Daddyjan had no comments on the subject and was happy either way. As we call our mother Ammijan, so for our father we changed from Daddy to Daddyjan.
Our Daddyjan was a great gourmand person who appreciated good food immensely. Our mother has always been a wonderful cook. She used to make exceptionally good meals, party type foods, at the weekends and our Daddyjan used to say cheerfully, ‘See your mother is throwing me a party’. After coming back from America, cakes, cookies, brownies, apple pies and lookin up eggs were decorating our dining table. Our Daddyjan bought a diamond ring also for our mother from America which she used to wear all the time. Our mother wore the ring for many years and she used to take care of it extremely meticulously and very lovingly. One unfortunate day, in the year 1980, it was lost. Our mother was very upset. Our Daddyjan consoled her and said, ‘Allah gave it to you and He Sub Han Wa Ta’ala took it back. So don’t worry, it is sadaqa (gift to Allah) for your life. Allah will give you another’. He was a strong optimist who believed in the power of goodness.
After coming back from America, in 1970, Daddyjan resumed his job at the CAE as a professor again. Our Daddyjan was extremely respected and admired not only by his own family (biraderi) but by every one living at the PAF base Korangi Creek. Our both parents were extremely popular as a couple among all the officers. In addition to looking after the household chores, our mother used to work as the secretary of the Ladies Club too, in the Officers Mess. She also used to offer her services at the Pakistan Air Force Wives Association. On the first of every month our mother used to become very busy with the batman because that day the batman used to go to draw his pay. So our mother used to complete maximum work with the batman a day earlier. On Fridays and on the Eid days the batman also used to go to the mosque with our Daddyjan for the congregational prayers and used to stand alongside our Daddyjan while praying.
Allah had been very kind to us. This was the time Daddyjan’s three daughters also shined very brightly in their schools. Daddyjan’s daughters were very hard working and extremely intelligent and were appreciated well and respected well by all in the PAF Korangi Creek. Like parents like daughters. Our both parents used to be extremely proud of them. Our Daddyjan used to tell one of his, not so bright, daughter that she had a very fertile mind. Our Daddyjan was such a great person that he could appreciate what ordinary people could not even recognize. He was able to find extraordinary qualities in non-extraordinary individuals.
Precisely this was the time in the early 1970’s when, after changing many newspapers, our Daddyjan settled down with the Dawn newspaper, which remained with him till his death. He read the newspaper even on the morning of the day he died. May his soul rest in peace, ameen, thume ameen. During those days, at the PAF Base Korangi Creek, in addition to foot ball, hockey and badminton, our Daddyjan used to enjoy billiard with friends. Our Daddyjan was working in the PAF Base Korangi Creek when our parental grandmother mohtarema Noor Bibi sahiba died in Sialkot, may her soul rest in peace, Ameen. She died of liver cancer. She came to live with us in Karachi when her liver was operated upon. I remember our mother taking great care of our grand mother, very meticulously and very efficiently. Our mother used to hot sponge our grand mother, wash her white hair with great care, comb them and used to take care of her food extremely well. Our Daddyjan was extremely thankful and grateful to our mother for all her efforts, ever since then, till our Daddyjan’s death. When our grand mother was able to travel, she went back to Sialkot and lived there for some months. She died after the Pak-India war of 1971. She is buried in Sialkot. May her soul rest in peace. Ameen. After our Daddyjan came back from the burial of our grand mother, he became sick. Our Daddyjan had chest pain. This was the only time our Daddyjan had that pain. Doctors told us, may be it was indigestion. Our mother changed Daddyjan’s diet for ever. It now included more vegetables. Our Daddyjan recovered quickly and never got that pain ever again.
Daddyjan extremely loved his job as a professor, but then it was also true that where ever he worked in the PAF, he always loved his job. He had an extremely wonderful way of explaining things. We also realized it when we were taught by our Daddyjan. He used to make, difficult things, very easy to understand and used to make boring things look very interesting. Also when our Daddyjan would explain something he would never look tired, disinterested or bored himself. Instead he used to look enthusiastic, with a new life and a new fervor. Through out his life our Daddyjan used to be very robust and full of life.
Daddyjan had a beautiful personality. He disliked uncouth behavior in people. He himself practiced good behavior through out his life. I never ever saw our Daddyjan hurling abuses. He was firm when he spoke but was never abusive. He always held his composure. Even when he was very angry or disappointed he never shouted. That’s why each and every word which he spoke meant a lot for others, may they be simple words with simple and straight forward meanings. He loved reading books and he used to read on all topics including literature, humor, astronomy, science, history, politics, religion etc. etc. Many times he used to quote some excerpts which we all used to enjoy listening to. He admired Shaikh Saadi and Allama Iqbal. He used to quote Shaikh Saadi a lot. The most frequently book he read was, The Holy Quran. Our Daddyjan used to tell us the best way to live is to live moderately, and to live a balanced life. I remember our Daddyjan used to say, ‘Religion is the opium of mind. It keeps the soul content and happy’. Many times he used to tell us stories from The Quran and used to answer our small queries in the light of Quran. With him we learned to note and appreciate the nature, Allah’s creations. Our mother also used to tell us many traditions of The Prophet Peace Be Upon Him which were mostly about our daily practical lives. When the time came to give a name to each of us, after our birth, our Daddyjan every time opened The Holy Quran arbitrarily and read it to choose a name. He used to tell us never to lie because lying is an expression of weakness. Till now I try to avoid lying. Our both parents emphasized firmly on offering prayers regularly and also on reading Quran regularly. Daddyjan’s emphasis usually used to be by doing the good deeds practically and by regularly offering prayers so they carried more weight. Our mother used to verbally push us also towards offering prayers, in addition to doing good deeds and regularly offering prayers herself. Daddyjan had a very beautiful way of reciting Quran and doing qirat. Actually he had a beautiful soft voice and a very good sense of, rhythm and sound. Daddyjan told us the way he used to recite Quran, was his own indigenous way. He was so sure about his voice, about the up notes and the down notes of his voice. He had great control over his voice. He liked soft but rhythmic music, may it be semi classical or pop. He had a very good choice of music. We often heard him sing popular songs at home when we were young kids. From today’s music Daddyjan appreciated many new singers including Ibrarul Haq’s humorous songs. A very good habit of our Daddyjan was that whatever he liked, a good music or a good book or any exceptional news from the newspaper, he used to share it with our mother. Then they both used to enjoy it endlessly.
Daddyjan was a simple person by nature. Just to give you a glimpse of our Daddyjan’s simplicity, I share with you the variety of apparels he enjoyed to wear. Through out his life, he wore shalwar qameez as informal dress at home and as formal dress, he used to wear pants shirt, or pants suits, or tropical suits. Only during his stay at the PAF Korangi Creek I remember Daddyjan some times used to wear ‘lacha’ at home. This dress is worn in Punjab, Pakistan. It is worn at the waist and falls up to the ankles. I remember Daddyjan had a dark colored ‘lacha’ with contrasting dark colored border. Some times on ‘lacha’ Daddyjan used to wear a shirt on the vest and sometimes Daddyjan used to wear just ‘lacha’ and the vest while going through his daily routines at home. He used to wear vest and ‘lacha’ especially in the hot humid afternoons of summers. Daddyjan was a person who enjoyed life fully. He was very witty. Since our childhood, I remember, our Daddyjan always used to call our mother with exceptionally beautiful names which were imagined and given by our Daddyjan to our mother. No one in the whole world called our mother by those names. Only our Daddyjan used to call her by those names. Even our children recognized that these were the special names given by their Nanaji to their Nanoji. They were Motiyan waleo (pearl owner), Heereyan Waleo (diamonds owner) and K-Dear (may be ‘K’ was for Kishwer).
Our Daddyjan had a very hearty way of laughing. Where ever he would be present that place surely would be cheerful and full of laughter. People used to tell our parents your laughter remains echoing in the atmosphere long after you have gone past the roads, while taking long evening walks after the dinner. He used to keep the atmosphere of our home also very cheerful by giving lively remarks to ordinary situations.
Two instances I would like to share with you just to show you how our Daddyjan used to create happiness from ordinary situations.
……Our both parents loved gardening and loved to tend the plants. Every morning, in the company of Daddyjan, our mother would talk to each and every plant, smiling and appreciating, each and every blooming bud and each and every newly grown leaflet. Pointing towards the plants she would make comments like, “See, this bud has started uncurling now.” And “See, this leaflet has grown bigger than before.” She would say in a voice filled with happiness. Then Daddyjan would jokingly ask, “After this one hour sweet talk with plants, daily, are they growing any faster, K-dear? Must be covering days in seconds” And Mom would smile back saying, “Yes, They are.”
……Our parents once bought a number of, one day old, chickens from the market. To keep them warm our Daddyjan provided a bulb to be hanged inside the cage where the chicks were kept. The help of a batman was also available. All three were working and we daughters were watching. After they finished the great task, our Daddyjan said to our mother counting all they had just done, “They have food, water, comfort and unlimited light” then continued laughingly, “Now, K-Dear, give them power glasses and books and they will soon be PhD’s by the time they grow up.”
Daddyjan was a man of principals all his life. He was extremely dedicated, hard working, disciplined and an extremely honest man. He had good, long lasting friendships in the PAF Korangi Creek too with other fellow professors. Even after leaving the CAE he used to remember many people by name, who had spent time with him in the CAE, either as his colleagues or as his students. When ever anyone came to pay him a visit, he appreciated it very much, enjoyed it and cherished the memory.
He had a very special relationship with his students, a step much further than that of a mere, teacher and student, to that of a caring father and an obedient son. He used to care for his students as if they were his own children. He used to call them home too, some times, just to socialize with them. He used to worry for their worries i.e. if any of his students was not able to study well or had any difficulties, he tried to help him in every legal way that he could. Sometimes laughingly he would say I feel as if I am going to sit for the test tomorrow. Daddyjan seldom talked about his profession at home. But one incident I remember. Once Daddyjan mentioned that some students (I do not know their exact number or their names) tried to cheat in their final exam. They did not have to cheat. They would have passed anyway. But the twist of the luck was such that they decided to cheat. They were caught, red handed by the invigilator. The matter was discussed by the faculty members. The principal and many faculty members were of the opinion that they should be terminated immediately and should not be given the degrees at all because they make a bad example for the others. But our kindhearted Daddyjan was of the view that those who come in the CAE are the cream of the nation. They are normally intelligent, ambitious and hard working people. This was their final exam. They were completing their four years of sheer hard work. By not giving them degrees was like putting all that hard work of four rigorous years equal to zero. Which our compassionate Daddyjan thought was not fair on the part of the students. Their hard work of the previous four years was also to be taken into consideration. Our Daddyjan was of the opinion that degrees should be given to them so that four years of their lives must not be wasted. Many faculty members insisted there should be some sort of punishment. There fore because of our Daddyjan’s firm standing it was agreed that those students will be granted degrees. But as a punishment they will not be allowed to take part in the convocation ceremony. The degrees will be given to them in a normal humble way. This way, four years of those students lives were not wasted. They got their degrees, for which they came to the CAE.
Although our Daddyjan loved to teach but after doing MS from AFIT, Daddyjan now wanted to work on the aircrafts. He intimated his desire for such a job to his officer commanding and the officer commanding forwarded the application to the concerned authorities in the Air Head Quarters. Our Daddyjan had always been a high achiever and what ever possibly he could do, he used to do it immediately, with out wasting any time. So one fine day, when an inspection team of senior officers, from Air Headquarters, came to PAF Base Korangi Creek, our Daddyjan intimated his desire of working on the aircrafts to one of them. This resulted in Daddyjan’s posting to PAF Risalpur in 1976, at the rank of Group Captain, as the head of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. PAC was in its embryonic stage at that time, and was situated at PAF Base Risalpur. Daddyjan’s next posting was also in the PAF Base Risalpur but this time he worked as the Officer Commanding, maintenance unit.
Our Daddyjan was not a multimillionaire but he was a large hearted man. He shared everything he had, with others. He gave ten or fifteen thousand rupees (I do not remember the exact amount) to Murray College Sialkot in 1977 when he was a Group Captain.
When our Daddyjan was serving as O.C. maintenance in the PAF Base Risalpur, in 1978, our maternal grand father, janab Allah Rakha sahib, died in Sialkot, may his soul rest in peace, Ameen, thume ameen. Our mother’s father is buried in Sialkot. After PAF Base Risalpur, Daddyjan was posted to PAF Base Sharea Faisal as Officer Commanding 102 Maintenance Unit in 1979.
Where ever Daddyjan worked whether as a professor or as an engineer, he worked with extreme excellence and his work was always extremely appreciated. He always finished his job with in the office hours. He never over stayed in his office and never ever brought home his office work or his office worries, may there be any. He was always respected and admired for his excellent job. Allah had been very kind to our Daddyjan. With His All-Mighty’s blessings our Daddyjan received the Military Excellence Medal called Sitara e Basalat for his dedicated efforts while working on aircrafts. When Daddyjan went to Islamabad to receive his Sitara e Basalat, he was doubly happy because in the same investiture ceremony where he was receiving his Sitara e Basalat, his daughter Bushra was also receiving a Gold Medal for her distinguished results in her FSc. Allah had been very kind to Bushra too. Allah The All- Giver accepted Bushra’s hard work and she topped in the whole of Federal Board in her FSc. Like father like daughter. We all were extremely proud of her. Her principal, teachers, school fellows all were extremely happy and proud of her. We all were extremely happy for both our distinguished family members. Later in life Daddyjan’s two daughters, Samina and Tahira, became accomplished Physicians. Tahira became gynecologist. Our Daddyjan was extremely proud of his distinguished daughters.
In the December of 1980, Daddyjan’s next posting was a deputation for three years, to Paris- France, as the Technical Attaché. There too Daddyjan made wonderful friends. During our stay in Paris, we were able to visit many places in and around Paris. Our mother still has beautiful photos of the beautifully manicured gardens, the magnificent chateaus etc. etc. and all those wonderful places we visited then. Daddyjan took leave so we visited U.K., Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and Holland. We visited all these places by car so we enjoyed the European country side thoroughly. Our Daddyjan bought a diamond from Belgium and gifted it to our mother. Our parents had planned before hand, where to stay? They had booked rooms in hotels, so we enjoyed a lot and bought many souvenirs. Our mother still has those souvenirs and beautiful photos of those times, in her safe custody. We were in Paris when our maternal grand mother, mohtarema Zainab Bibi sahiba died, may her soul rest in peace, Ameen. She is buried in Sialkot. In the beginning of 1980’s our Daddyjan’s brother, our uncle Mohammad Manzoor Tambra had gone to America in search of greener pastures. Many times he asked our Daddyjan to come to America for good but our Daddyjan once again chose to come back to Pakistan. While coming back to Pakistan from France Daddyjan and we all briefly stayed in Saudi Arabia, in the beginning of 1984. We performed Umras there. We cherish the photos we took in Saudi Arabia. On every Eid Al Adha our parents used to offer one goat before going to Paris. But since we came back from Paris, they started offering two goats on every Eid Al Adha.
On returning to Pakistan, in the beginning of 1984, Daddyjan was quickly promoted from the rank of Group Captain to the rank of Air Commodore and was posted as the Base Commander of the PAF Base Sharea Faisal. At this point of time our Daddyjan married off one of his daughter. Our both parents advised their daughter not to interfere into any matters of her in-laws and the daughters always obeyed her parent. After 8 months other daughter was also married off. From the PAF Base Sharea Faisal our Daddyjan was posted to Air Head Quarters Chaklala in the beginning of 1985. There he was promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal and was designated as DCAS Eng. At this stage our Daddyjan visited many foreign countries as the job required. Our Daddyjan’s last posting was as the Commandant CAE at the PAF base Korangi Creek, Karachi.