An अंकिलजी since 1979; an inspiration since 1991; CLL fighter since 1996 a friend since 2001.
Mr. Ataul Ghaffar is being sorely missed!
Every moment reminds of his overwhelming presence with his attention to AND persistent follow-up of the minutest detail!
Bhopal is my The-Mandatory-Stop when crossing equator of India. Sometimes, due to exigencies beyond my control, I had to cross it, half heartedly!
Never ever did I cross Bhopal, in train, without him delivering the most amazing kababs and roti made by Rafia Aunty. Be it bitter winter or pouring rain. He would be there on his trusty हमारा बजाज चेतक। People would peer out of their sheets to sniff out the source of the nearly-magical aroma! Sniff and look at my resolutely indifferent (mean) countenance, sigh and go back to sleep!
He would come to pick me up at all odd hours from the railway station. Only once I took a taxi from the airport because it was a surprise visit when I had to escort the couple to Delhi in Bhopal Express. It was one of the worst days of this life that I am not too interested in, lately. The return-train was empty due to terrorism of press and that was the first time I decided to sport a BIG tilak; a BIG symbolic tilak.
This could be a confessional! My Bua, who raised me like her own son, used to complain that it seems that I come to Uncle and visit her whereas it should be the other way round! So, we hit upon a novel idea! I would not brush my teeth and rather luxuriant head of hair, after spending 3-4 days at Ghaffar place and then he would drop me at the railway station at the time of arrival of the train and I would happily be driven to my relatives’ place! Not that I resented going there but this is to just emphasise on my heart’s priority. I hope she forgives me for this sleight!