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It pains me a lot beyond words to draft this Article as the Hero of my previous Blog “A full circle swallowed 22 years” is no more with us. The title is very significant and also philosophically profound, but there is no room of any interpretation or discussion for the same here.
I look backward to about a half century past when we first met on a volleyball ground and our friendship blossomed at the very first meeting. Over the years, we became like brothers and shared our heartaches with each other. Throughout this long time span, excluding last seven years, we had hardly been together for about 1000 days. He had been in abroad and me here in India, but our regular communication with each other did not allow us to feel any physical distance which may separate us.
Much more has been said for the Late Mr. Jafferbhai (Nick name ‘Jeff’) in the above referred Blog, but today I would like to highlight some more aspects of his character and personality. His soft and sometimes outspoken manner always reflected his inner nature. Being a man of principles, he could never adjust himself with any dual standard people. Sometimes I counseled him by quoting T. S. Eliot, an English poet, in the words, “Human kind cannot bear very much reality.” but he would instantly reply, “My work is over to say what I had to, Valibhai. Now, it is his own business whether to agree with me.”
Mr. Jafferbhai’s life was philanthropic and who-so-ever came in contact with him knew it very well. He had hundreds of friends wherever he moved and they were in variety also like Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsees. Mr. Bhailalbhai, a Jain from Ahmedabad, has remained his business partner for the last three decades and still their Partnership continues. He always favored most those African people and nobody dared criticize them face to face to him. He argued in many ways that those people are really good people, nowhere to be found on earth.
Mr. Jeff had run his store in a Jew population area for 27 years where he was known as “Shalom King”. Some years ago, Nasir Ismailee had written an Article on him in his weekly chain of Articles titled “Sanvedna-na-soor (Tunings of emotions)” in Gujarat Samaachar. I’ll quote Mahatma Gandhi to co-relate its wording with Mr. Jeff’s practical approach of dealing with his clientele circle. It is as this: “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us, we are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work, he is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business, he is a part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him, he is doing us a favor by giving us opportunity to do so.”
The Late Mr. Jafferbhai was a very popular figure among three generation of his customers with his self inspired virtues and good nature. His dealing with them was in a touch of Indian culture and affections; and that was the secret of his popularity. Financially, he earned little; but ethically he gained more. American people lacking family feelings could get comfort sharing their personal problems with him. He was a devoted man of action, compassion and love. To all, he was more than a businessman; always caring and taking personal interest to solve their any type of problems.
Such was the life of a very simple and honest man. I recall here a saying: “When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life such when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” Mr. Jeff was a living example of this saying. I know that all his near ones and the rest who witnessed his life will surely miss him the great. His last struggle against his sickness of hardly 2 or 3 months is over now. The upper and the final circle of his life spread over 74 years has narrowed to a Dot. It is the hard luck of mine that I could not remain physically present when he breathed his last in States. It would have been better if I could convey my condolence in person to the members of his family there. My heart and tears are with them and I’ll also miss him equal to they people do till I am alive as I am the part of the Late’s family.
On behalf of the Late’s and my own families, I thank very much all those people around the world who have expressed their warm and sympathetic messages of condolence to us to bear the irreparable loss of the Late. Their prayers will surely prove to be beneficial to the soul of the Late in heaven and help us to draw upon our and his beloved ones’ strength to accept the fact that he is no more with us physically; but, in our memory, he will remain as if he is alive.
With a heavy heart, I conclude my Article here by reciting a pious verse “Surely, from the Almighty God we come and to Him shall we return.” May God bless his soul to rest in heaven amongst the proximity of the souls of those who enjoy the bliss and kindness of Him.
May God bless the members of my Blog family also.
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd. : 27th August, 2007